Chapter 1:5 (ESV) - 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.
Question to consider: How did God demonstrate mercy in sending the ten plagues of Egypt?
Jude opened his letter to all believers with an exhortation to fight for the faith because the true gospel was under attack by those who pervert it with sensuality or in denying the Lordship of Christ Jesus. Today’s verse is his follow-up statement to not only establish the reality that his brother existed, but that He has always existed. Jesus was not only the God of Moses that led Israel out of Egypt, but He was the angel of death who brought the ten plagues and drowned Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.
Furthermore, Jude pointed out that this was an established truth that all of his readers had once believed before being led astray by damnable heretics who had crept into the church unnoticed. People today try to divide the nature of God by the Old and New Testaments. They claim that the God of the Old Testament is “wrathful” whereas the God of the New Testament is kind and merciful.
However, if the God of the Old Testament was not merciful, He wouldn’t have sent ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Each plague toppled another god in the Egyptian pantheon to soften the heart of Pharaoh, but each time he hardened his heart against the Lord because ultimately Pharaoh considered himself to be equal with God. At any point, Pharaoh could have let the slaves go free, and the plagues would have stopped. The final plague that broke Pharaoh forced him to realize that he was not even powerful enough to protect his own son.
Even with this last plague, the Lord demonstrated mercy. There were Egyptians who turned to the God of Moses and marked their doors with the blood of the lamb. There were Egyptians who fled with the Jews and crossed with them through the Red Sea. Pharaoh had not given such a mercy to the Jews when he slaughtered their sons at the time Moses was born, and the only thing the Jews were “guilty of” was following God’s command to be fruitful and multiply. So even though Egypt received God’s judgment, they were given every opportunity to turn to Him and receive mercy.
In the New Testament, we also see God’s holy judgment, but instead of being poured out on those who deserve it, it was poured out on His Son for our sake. When Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, He didn’t ignore her sin. He took it upon Himself and died for it. When we see such a great mercy, it should not cause us to rail against God’s justifiable wrath but to turn from our sin and receive with joy the gift Christ has offered to us.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for showing us mercy when we deserve only judgment. Help us to recognize the opportunity You have given us to turn from our sin and come to You through Christ. Amen.