Sunday, June 30, 2024

On the way with Jude

 As was evident in my last post my covid illness has hung around and I wondered about whether Jude would get a hearing today in Bluntisham Baptist Church. But the good Lord gave me stuttering improvement through this week. The eventual sermon emerged as different themes hit me in preparation. Some have looser connection with the text than others. Let me give you a couple of examples. First, I highlighted FAMILY

Thinking of James and Jude makes you think. How we wish we had mote detail. However, we do have that family list, as people began responding to Jesus' ministry. In Matt. 13:54 some people who clearly knew his family say: Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas.  That last name gained a certain reputation (wonder why?) so the abbreviation Jude could easily be our writer. . 

All this raises questions about how Jesus' family behaved towards him.  All families have dynamics and sometimes dysfunction.  We wonder about that moment when part of the family group appears to treat Jesus negatively.  As Jesus gains popularity they arrive to take him away. They seem to use pretty unsupportive language: 'He's out of his mind (Mark 3:21).  Who knows the motive. Perhaps they were worried about his safety. Maybe they thought he needed psychiatric help!  Who knows what feelings of sibling rivalry might there have been? It really looks like his family is  having a hard time believing that big brother is all that these people are saying.  

How we wish we know more.  How the relationships develop as momentum grows in Jesus' ministry.  When the utter blackness of the cross seems to be the end there is terror and brokenness for his mother who is there. Maybe other family members are present too.  And in the glory of the resurrection when everything changes for the better it is wonderful to read about Jesus appears to James and to 500 people in 1 Cor 15. Within this family story its members have moved from puzzlement to conviction.  Transformed by the risen Jesus, James and his younger brother Jude seem overwhelmed in love as they throw themselves utterly into following Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In AD 61 James will be martyred. 

Reflecting on family dynamics, rivalries, relationship breakdowns going tragically wrong, how wonderful to see Jesus' physical family apparently coming together so well.  Mentioning physical families challenged me about my own brother - and how the relationship is. How is it with your brothers and sisters? How good it is when relationships come together well in our physical families!    

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