Titus was born into a well to do, educated family on the Grecian Island of Crete. He grew up studying Hellenism, reading the poetry of the day, and learning about the many gods his people worshipped. Cretans believed that all their deities were born on their island, each one starting out as a mere man but over time, becoming a god. Zeus, the most famous, was worshipped as an immoral, lying entity, who seduced women through any means possible. His deviant nature was not a put-off but was celebrated and emulated.
When Titus came to faith under Paul’s ministry, it was a miraculous, divine work of grace. Think of it ~ He saw the glory of Jesus, loved Him, and gave his life to One who was holy instead of defiled, so opposite was our Lord to the gods who once held such allure. Jesus didn’t begin as a man on an island. Jesus was God, the one and only God, who became a man. What Titus once thought was divine was turned upside down as the Spirit of God illumined his mind and turned darkness to light.
Crete was not only the place of Titus’ birth, but it was also the place where Paul commissioned him to serve his native people as a bishop to Cretan churches. He never moved anywhere else and died on the island of Crete at the age of 96. He was faithful to love and serve the people who had so much to learn. As we will see in this book, they still lived much of the time like pagans.
The letter Paul wrote to Titus is understandable in its direct language. Paul makes it clear that righteous living comes out of right doctrine. Pagan behavior would only be transformed into righteous deeds of faith as theology was gently confronted and then corrected. The people had a long way to go to think ‘right’.
Titus was commissioned to clean house and establish new shepherds who could protect these young churches from apostasy. Not an easy task for anyone and certainly not a cinch for Titus who was called to lead people in the place he had always called home. They were not an easy audience. His was an upward climb and we will walk alongside him in the days ahead as he brings truth to churches in crisis.