Acts Chapter Two
Who are the Cretans?
Acts 2:11 “Cretans and Arabs-we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God”
Note: Jews from all the world were at Pentecost and witnesses to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Even Cretan Jews were there.
Explain: Who are the Cretans? Crete is a large island in the south Mediterranean Sea. Crete was part of the ancient Greek culture that was now Roman. Their history was that of sailors, and even mercenary seaman. A mixed people group lacking identity they were known as liars, thieves, and a riotous people.
Titus 1:12 “one of their own prophets said of them, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’”
Apply: These Cretan Jews were saved there under Peter’s preaching, baptized, and continued in Jerusalem some time under the Apostles teaching. See Acts 2:41,42
Question: So, when these “saved” Cretans returned to Crete, did they leave the Synagogue and become a house church? Was there a church in Crete before Paul was shipwrecked on Crete and left Titus there?
Probably! Acts 27 describes Paul’s journey by boat as a prisoner on the way to Rome. They are sailing on the lea side of Crete, fighting the winds. The ship puts in at Fair Haven harbor on Crete. The question is-did Paul go ashore and visit the Christians on Crete? We don’t know. Did the Centurion guard give him permission-maybe? What we do know is the Paul left Titus there and sailed off! See Titus 1:5
- Paul preached on Crete during that short winter stay in Fair Haven harbor and established a church. Not probable.
- Paul never set foot on Crete, but knew there were believing Jews there. Thus, he sent Titus there to minister to them. More probable
- If Titus was totally responsible for nurturing this church in a pagan culture-what does this tell us about:
- The maturity of Titus?
- Those Cretan Christian Jews?
- The disciple making strategy of Paul?
Who is Titus?
He is never mentioned in the book of Acts. He is alluded to in Acts 15:2 “certain others of them” We know Titus was with Paul in Jerusalem after the group left Antioch (Acts 15:1) See Gal.2:1
- Titus was probably a convert of the apostle Paul. In Titus 1:4, Paul calls him “my true child in the faith”
- Titus, a Greek, was uncircumcised, and became Paul’s “test case” an example of salvation by Grace alone, when Paul visited the Apostles in Jerusalem. See Gal. 2:3
- Titus was dear to the heart of Paul; “I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother…” 2 Cor 2:13; “but God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus.” 2 Cor 7:6
- Paul was very proud of Titus. See 2 Cor 7:13-14 (Titus was left in Corinth to strengthen that Church.)
- Titus was trusted by Paul as a Disciple-maker– “Consequently we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.” See 2 Cor.8:6-7
- Titus felt as deeply as his mentor about making Disciples– “but thanks be to God, who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus, For he not only accepted our appeal but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.” See 2 Cor 8:16-17
Note: the word “earnestness” in Greek is “spoudazo”- to hasten, to hurry with zeal and determination. Thus, Titus was a serious disciple-maker, eager to finish what Paul started.
- Titus became a mature man of God under Paul’s training. “as for Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker among you…” 2 Cor 8:23
What we learn from Titus being left in Crete:
- Titus did not gain such maturity and skills on his own, He was Discipled by Paul
- Behind the scenes in ACTS is a disciple-making Model which the modern church has lost.
- We can learn follow-up evangelism from the intentionality of Paul- “I left you in Crete”
- We must be as serious about making disciples as these early Christians were-it is not optional