Sometimes I’m surprised by the verses that surprise me. Things that I know to be true somehow blind-side me when I come across them referred to in a certain manner in Scripture. Such was the case this morning as I read in Jude. I know about the Trinity . . . I know that in the beginning was God, the One who said, “Let US make man in OUR image” . . . that Father, Son, and Spirit are inseparable though spoken of as three distinct persons . . . that the Three are One. But as read the fifth verse of Jude’s letter I was taken aback a bit as I was reminded that Jesus was present in the pillar.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 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 3-5 ESV)
Jude writes to contend for the faith. Among the flock of God’s people, there were wolves of error who were perverting grace and denying the deity of Christ. And so Jude reminds them, though they knew it, . . . like me . . . that Jesus saved a people out of Egypt and judged those who stood in opposition. And that’s what caught me this morning . . . Jesus saved a people out of Egypt.
Now other translations say “the Lord” delivered His people. Apparently there is ancient manuscript evidence for using “Jesus” . . . but beyond that, in the context of verse 4, where Jesus Christ is identified as Lord, it fits. Regardless, I know that it is true. Where God was present in the Old Testament, He was present in the fullness of His triune nature. When Moses was commissioned before the burning bush on the mount, he stood on holy ground before the glory of God’s triune presence . . . Jesus was there. When God closed the Red Sea upon the enemies of His people, He did so in fullness of His triune power . . . Jesus was there. And when He guided them after they had been released out of bondage via the cloud by day and fire by night, He did so as the triune pillar . . . Jesus being there . . . present in the pillar.
And beyond that, Jesus was there . . .
I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. (1Corinthians 10:1-4 ESV)
And I realize how prone I am to placing Jesus in the context of time, as in, Jesus came into this earth some 2,000 years ago as a babe in the manger. He did, but it’s not like that was His first encounter or interaction with this world. He made the world . . . He has been active since the beginning of time . . . and He will bring an end to time. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End (Rev. 1:8). I fear that sometimes I so focus on His humanity . . . the depths He went to in order to identify with His creation that He might become our faithful High Priest . . . that I lose sight of His deity . . . and the awe that goes with it.
God, fully God, that’s my Savior! The same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). That’s my Lord!
Now to Him who was present in the pillar of those led out of Egypt . . . and is present today in those who are in pursuit of their heavenly home . . . to Him be all glory and praise!