Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James (Jude 1a)
In a world where name-dropping and family connection has often been seen as the way to get ahead, Jude (and likewise his brother James [see James 1:1]) has the opportunity to really make a big deal of the fact that he is the brother of Jesus himself (see Mt 13:55. Note: Jude in Greek is Judas). But the way Jude describes his relationship to Jesus is as a bond-servant (likewise Paul [see Rom 1:1]). He knows his place in relationship to a man who more than being his brother is his Lord and Saviour. He humbly accepts this designation as a slave of Jesus, and, by extension, the very servant of the Church of God. He knows his place.
Now, he does call himself the brother of James, a recognized leader in the church and fellow contributor to the New Testament, but I wouldn’t begrudge him for making mention of such a close relationship as a brother. And in a world without last names and fairly come first names like John, Jesus, and Judas, designations like “son of” (in Hebrew bar-) and “brother of” served to answer the question “which Jesus, Judas, or John?” (see Mt. 27:17).
But I wonder how often I get by in the world by trusting in important relationships. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” seems to me to be very true. Does this then define my approach to relationships? Do I compute my worth and future job prospects based on these relationships rather than trusting myself into the care of Jesus as his bond-servant and relying on his provision? I do not mean to suggest that networking 0r making a call to someone who you know can help you in certain situation is a bad thing, but reliance on these instead of upon God, and having a puffed-up image of yourself because of these connections, is sin.