In the epistle of Jude, he introduced himself to the readers as a “servant” (v. 1). He begins this letter just as Paul, James, John, and Peter did (Rom. 1:1; Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1; Jas. 1:1; II Pet. 1:1; Rev. 1:1). Rather than “name-dropping” or focusing on family ties, the most important thing for Jude was serving the Lord Christ. This impresses me for a number of reasons, but perhaps the main reason is though he was a physical brother to Christ, Jude was satisfied to refer to himself merely as “the servant of Jesus Christ.”
The term “:servant” is significant. It means “slave,” one that is in subjection, or a bondservant. It is interesting to note different versions of the Bible use the word “slave” or “bondservant” to help make his description clear. Jude thought of himself as a slave to Christ, just as we all need to be (Rom. 6:16-18, 12:1-2).
While some may consider the description of “servant” as demeaning, being called God’s servant is a badge of honor! For example, when Moses died, God preached his funeral by saying, “Moses, my servant, is dead ...” (Josh. 1:2). Of all the things we might mention about Moses’ life and service over his 40 years of leadership and faith, God saw fit to say simply, “He’s my servant.” That’s enough!
Though King over all of Israel, David declared, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10). He called himself a servant or slave to God on several occasions, but in one psalm, he called himself a servant fourteen times (Ps. 119)!
Men might think a “servant” is someone lowly and worthless, but God holds His servants in high esteem! Let us be like Jude, and be a servant of God! Let us learn the lesson that, “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 18:14). Too often, we get this verse in reverse! We think we need to exalt ourselves in our eyes. Yet, the truth is just the opposite -- when we humble ourselves, God knows how to exalt us!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs