“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 1:5).
The meek and mild Jesus! Isn’t that what we’ve come to regard as the savior of the scriptures? Jesus was humble, Jesus was nice, Jesus was a pacifist. Then, suddenly, we run across this passage saying that Jesus destroyed thousands of people during the exodus.
Wait a minute? Jesus wasn’t present at the exodus. He was born thousands of years later, wasn’t he?
Some translations of Jude 1:5 state, “The Lord,” rather than Jesus (NIV, NASB, KJV, CEV, GNT, HCSB). But others use the name, “Jesus” instead (ESV, NLT, BSB, BLB, NET). If Jesus was present during the exodus, then something remarkable is being revealed. In fact, it was Jesus who was present. The Greek manuscripts use the word, Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), which translates as Jesus. So, the God of the exodus, who lead Israel out of slavery, who appeared in the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, was none other than Jesus.
And he wasn’t too happy with the people he led out of Egypt. He judged the nation unworthy and the adult population died in the wilderness.
Yes, Jesus is meek and mild. Yes, Jesus is humble and nice. But Jesus also judges. And Jesus will one day exercise his wrath. This is the fuller picture of Jesus, the Jesus of whom we don’t want to get on his bad side. We’d rather experience his love than his wrath.
What kind of Jesus do you want to experience? How can you be a living expression of Jesus’s love today yet keeping in mind that there are appropriate times for anger and judgment?
“Good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened” (Hebrews 4:2).
Sharing Christ means that sometimes we must share about his wrath. How can you share about the consequences of unbelief while also sharing about the rewards of knowing him?