1 brother. Jude, as “brother of James,” was also therefore, humanly speaking, a brother of Jesus (see note on James 1:1; also note Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). However, both James and Jude make no mention of their earthly relation to Jesus, instead calling themselves merely servants of Jesus Christ, not even classifying themselves as apostles (compare Jude 17; note also that “His brethren” were with the apostles in the upper room before Pentecost, but only Matthias was “numbered with the eleven apostles”—Acts 1:14,26). Perhaps the fact that they had been so slow to believe on Him (John 7:5) was a cause of life-long regret and humility.
1 preserved in Jesus Christ. This phrase could be read: “kept for Jesus Christ,” stressing our assurance of salvation. Jude alludes again to this great truth in Jude 24, referring to “Him that is able to keep you from falling.” The one who keeps us, of course, is God the Father Himself, in answer to the prayer of His Son (John 17:11).
2 be multiplied. See note on I Peter 1:2. Jude’s greeting would invoke God’s “multiplication” of mercy, peace and love.
3 needful. The word “needful” connotes a sense of urgency. Jude had been planning to write a straightforward exposition of the doctrines associated with the “common salvation”—that is, the great salvation held in common by all who had been “sanctified,” “preserved,” and “called” (Jude 1). Instead, however, the Holy Spirit constrained and compelled him to write in defense of the faith which even then was under intense Satanic attack.