In the final triad of names, Jude uses the more explicit our Lord Jesus Christ(17, 21) and a variation that carries the same meaning Jesus Christ our Lord (24). These three usages build upon the first triad but make it more explicit that Jesus Christ is always the Lord of believers and it is He who brings mercy and eternal life (21) as well as being the one through whom blamelessness is received (24). Furthermore, all those apart from the Lord Jesus Christ will only experience His judgment and not His mercy.
So, for Jude’s audience, the explicit references to Jesus Christ as the Lord of His people bring comfort and hope amidst the examples of judgment while simultaneously reminding the church that Christ isn’t coming only in mercy to His household, but also to condemn and correct all who stand in opposition to Him. All of this leads to a recognition that Jesus Christis a name of authority, power, and function. As Warfield noted in 1907,
‘no Jew could use’ such a phrase ‘without thinking of the one Master in heaven’ but that is only evidence that this Jew thought of Jesus who was his ‘Lord’ and whose ‘slave’ he recognized himself as being, as, in this eminent sense, his ‘Master in heaven…’”
It is worth noting, that the authority and power in the name of Jesus Christ flow from the second part of that compound name, Christ. As Moltmann has noted,
we shall not think of ‘Christ’ as a proper name (although the early Hellenistic congregations of course already did so). We shall see it as the title for his function – his function for the men and women who are to be redeemed and his function for the coming God…Jesus is the messiah.”
As the Christ, Jesus was the anointed prophet, priest and king of the Jewish hope. As the Christ, He comes prophetically bearing judgment as is illustrated between verses 5-19. As the Christ, He comes in the role of the priest to present His people ‘blameless’ (24). And as the King, Jesus Christ comes as ruler, master, and lord over all creation from before the origin of humanity (9) to the end of days (25). Jude presents his audience an “unwavering belief in Jesus as the reigning Lord of the church.”
My next post will focus on Jude 5 and the simple name Jesus that is used there.
Andrew Chester and Ralph P. Martin, The Theology of the Letters of James, Peter, and Jude, New Testament Theology (Cambridge [England] ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 78.
Benjamin B. Warfield,The Lord of Glory: A Study of the Designations of Our Lord in the New Testament with Especial Reference to His Deity(New York: American Tract Society, 1907), 266, https://ia600208.us.archive.org/29/items/lordofglorystud00warf/lordofglorystud00warf.pdf.
Jürgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions(Fortress Press, 1993), 1.
R. C. Lucas and Christopher Green, The Message of 2 Peter & Jude, google books (InterVarsity Press, 2014), https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=sbadAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT5&dq=despotes+jude+4&ots=mrUJWs8gFw&sig=-WP-_ipLoFuGFGk0ewsiyIZGkJo#v=onepage&q&f=false. The author accessed a google books version that appeared to be devoid of page numbers.