After identifying himself as the letter’s author, Paul then turns his attention to his letter’s recipient:
Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
I absolutely love the way Paul addresses Titus – my true son, and he emphasizes their shared, common faith. In just a few words we get a strong sense of the depth of relationship between these two men. This bond was founded upon their shared belief that Jesus is who he claimed to be – the Savior of all mankind, the promised Christ.
Outside of this connection, their friendship likely wouldn’t have happened. There is a very good chance that they would not have even known each other. Paul was a circumcised Jew, and before meeting Jesus he was well on his way to becoming the top Jewish rabbi in known world. Titus, on the other hand, was an uncircumcised Greek. These two didn’t just become the first century’s version of “the odd couple”, they were polar opposites! Outside of Jesus, they had no known commonalities or expected connections. Their social circles would not have intersected.
However, because of Jesus, these two men formed an incredible partnership. Paul mentored Titus. Titus became Paul’s protégé. Titus responded and matured so well that Paul trusted him with many important responsibilities. The main one we’re going to be focusing on is outlined in verse 5:
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
This was not a small task. The island of Crete is about 3,200 square miles, and although mountainous, it was heavily populated. When Paul left to continue his travels, Titus was to carry on in Paul’s authority, as an apostolic representative…and Titus was up for the challenge. He loved the people of Crete and worked with them for many, many years. In fact, one source I found stated that “Tradition has it that Titus, having become first bishop of Crete, died there in advanced years. His successor, Andreas Cretensis, eulogized him in the following terms: ‘The first foundation-stone of the Cretan church; the pillar of the truth; the stay of the faith; the never silent trumpet of the evangelical message; the exalted echo of Paul’s own voice’.”
This kind of impact was achieved because Paul took the time to mentor someone that he had no previous connection with. Their friendship, partnership, and resulting impact would not have occurred if either of them had held to their societies’ norms and prejudices.
Our relationship with Jesus radically changes the nature of our relationships with people we would have never known otherwise. God puts the unlikely together and then accomplishes great things. Are you being mentored right now? Are you mentoring someone? If the answer is “no” to either one of those questions, I urge you to ask God to fill that void. When you ask, he will answer…but your mentor or mentee may be someone you would have never expected. Will you trust his selection? Your partnership will have a future impact greater than you can know right now.