Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands, is a narrow island south of mainland Greece, running one-hundred-seventy miles east-to-west but never more than about thirty-five miles wide.
Crete and the Cretans are only mentioned in three chapters of the Bible. First, Cretans were among the fifteen nationalities represented in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). It is possible that the Gospel first reached the island as the earliest spirit-filled disciples returned to their homes on the beautiful Island.
Second, as a prisoner on the way to Rome, Paul, accompanied by Luke, “sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone. With still more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea” (Acts 27:7–8). We don’t know if this was Paul’s first visit to Crete, but we know it wasn’t his last.
The third, and final place that Crete is mentioned is in Paul’s letter to Titus. “The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). After Paul’s Roman imprisonment, Paul and Titus traveled to Crete with the glorious Gospel message. When Paul left, Titus remained to evangelize the island’s people and organized its churches.
Concerning the people of Crete, Paul wrote, “For there are many rebellious people, full of empty talk and deception, especially those from the circumcision party. It is necessary to silence them; they are ruining entire households by teaching what they shouldn’t in order to get money dishonestly. One of their very own prophets said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. For this reason, rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith and may not pay attention to Jewish myths and the commands of people who reject the truth” (Titus 1:10–14). Titus had a daunting task dealing with “rebellious people” who were “always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons...”
Paul commissioned Titus “to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching” (Titus 2:1). “Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that any opponent will be ashamed” (Titus 2:7–8).
Titus was instructed to teach and preach the life-transforming gospel! “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people for his own possession, eager to do good works” (Titus 2:11–14).
Two-thousand years later, the world is still filled with the lost and lazy. The mission of the church hasn’t changed. We must “proclaim these things; encourage and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15) because “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Like Paul and Titus, we’ve been miraculously saved by His marvelous grace! Compelled by His love, we have a story to tell!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.