They are the three shortest books in the entire bible. Here are the key verses from each:
Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. (2 John 1:7, 8; NIV84)
Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. (3 John 1:5-8)
But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:17-20)
Each has its own distinct purpose.
- In 2 John, there were people who denied that Jesus was actually a human being, both God and man.
- 3 John was written to support (of all things!) a church-planting group.
- Jude encourages it’s recipients to stand fast, to not be polluted by divisive sins.
But it is not those verses that struck me. Here is the verse that struck me today:
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)
There were those who were miraculously rescued from centuries of oppression and slavery, from the weight of the most powerful empire on the planet, who saw bodies of water part, watched the army of Egypt drown, saw a pillar of fire protect them, and experienced the miraculous manna and quail and water from the rocks.
It’s almost incredulous to me that disbelief would even be an issue.
And it’s almost incredulous to believe that Jude has been called, by some scholars, the most neglected book in the New Testament. This one verse, to me, speaks beyond the printed page.
Yet, here it is. God delivered people from Egypt, then they were later the recipients of punishment because of their own disbelief.
Disbelief cripples us. It keeps us from believing God speaks to us. It keeps us from accepting circumstances as God-breathed. It makes us look elsewhere for purpose. It pushes us from relationships. It keeps our worship dry, and non-existent. It holds emotions in check. It gives us a reason to not be radical. It swallows up our time and resources, for meaningless pursuits. It makes us believe in luck rather than grace.
Be encouraged today, to stand fast, to see God, to hear God, and to not be seduced by the power of disbelief.