[from Heb., a form of the name Judah].
“A slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James.” This is the way the writer of the inspired letter bearing his name introduces himself. Apparently he was not the same person as “Judas the son of James,” one of the 11 faithful apostles of Jesus Christ. (Lu 6:16) He speaks of himself as “a slave,” not an apostle, of Jesus Christ; also he refers to the apostles in the third person as “they.”—Jude 1, 17, 18.
Though the Christian Greek Scriptures speak of other persons called Jude or Judas, this Bible writer distinguished himself from the others by mentioning the name of his brother. (See JUDAS No. 5.) From this it may be inferred that his brother James was well known among Christians. Only one person by that name appears to have been outstandingly prominent. The apostle Paul referred to this James as one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem congregation and as “the brother of the Lord.” (Ga 1:19; 2:9; see also Ac 12:17; 15:13-21.) Therefore, Jude, or Judas, was evidently a half brother of Christ Jesus. (Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3) Yet humbly he did not seek to capitalize on his fleshly relationship to the Son of God but calls himself “a slave of Jesus Christ.”
Almost nothing is known about Jude’s life. Early in the ministry of Christ Jesus, Jude may have been among those saying: “He has gone out of his mind.” (Mr 3:21) In any event, Jude and his other brothers did not then exercise faith in Christ Jesus.—Joh 7:5.
However, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his half brother James. (1Co 15:7) Doubtless this had much to do with convincing not only James but also Jude and his other brothers that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Therefore, even before Pentecost of 33 C.E. they were persisting in prayer with the 11 faithful apostles and others in an upper room at Jerusalem. It appears that they were also among the some 120 persons assembled on the occasion that Matthias was chosen by lot to replace the unfaithful Judas Iscariot. (Ac 1:14-26) If this is the case, it would indicate that they received the holy spirit on the day of Pentecost.—Ac 2:1-4.