For the last couple of weeks, I have started my day by reading the Book of Jude. Normally, I read through a section and move forward, but I found a freshness in Jude that caught my attention.
It is only 25 verses, but it is rich with history, prophecy, object lessons, and practicality. Several things jumped out to me.
Paul’s opening greeting of his books regularly says, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude also greets with “peace” but says mercy instead of grace and adds love. “Mercy, peace, and love” (verse 2) bring a new perspective.
In verse 3, he appeals us to “contend for the faith.” I do definitely see how this relates to our reach theme this week (or even grow), but a phrase that shows up later hit me harder.
Jude bluntly says that Jesus brought the people out of Egypt (verse 5). He references “angels who did not stay within their own position of authority” (verse 6), Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 7), “the archangel Michael contending with the devil” over the body of Moses (verse 9), Cain, Balaam and Korah (verse 11).
I loved the analogies he uses in verses 12-13: “waterless clouds swept along by winds” and “fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted.” He also references “wild waves” and “wandering stars.”
He refers to Enoch as a prophet and references the Lord coming with ten thousand of His holy ones (verse 14). I imagine this is the reference for the song, “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels.”
As I have had my heart jump so many times in the Book of Jude, I then was hit with verses 22-23, “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” The phrase “snatching them out of the fire” jumped out to me. Jude already referred to “eternal fire” (verse 7) and “utter darkness has been reserved forever” (verse 13), but the word “snatch” challenged me.
Have you ever burned yourself on the oven or stove? It is horrible. We are proactive in making sure our children do not get burned. Yet, we have loved ones headed into the fire while we sit back and watch. We need to snatch them out of the fire.
By the way, this word “snatch” is also used twice in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” As followers of Christ, we are safe, but what about those around us?
We need to fight for others. We need to snatch them out of the fire. I am challenged by the heart of Charles Spurgeon, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Who are you reaching out to so you may snatch them out of the fire?