12.  When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

Artemas and Tychicus appear to be more of Paul’s entourage of followers.  This is the only mention of Artemas, but as he is listed with Tychicus, we can assume him to be a follower of the same standing as Tychicus.  Tychicus was from Asia Minor (what they called Asia in that day,) and joined Paul as we read in Acts 20:4.  In Ephesians, we learn more of him.  He was sent to deliver that letter.  Moreover, he is called a “beloved brother, and faithful minister in the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:21-22)  He also delivered the letter to the Colossians (Colossians 4:7,) and the Lord also gives him a glowing recommendation there.  The last we hear of him is II Timothy 4:12, where he had been sent to Ephesus.  Paul was never to visit the Ephesians again, as God had told him in Acts 20:25 and 20:38.  He had a great love for them, however, and so he sent the beloved Tychicus to them to care for them.  Thus, we can clearly see how high a regard both our Lord and Paul had for this man.

It appears that Artemas or Tychicus are to replace Titus in his duties on Crete, for as soon as one or the other of them arrives, Titus is to leave Crete and join Paul at Nicopolis.  Paul was not yet there, nor had he yet decided for sure when to send Titus’ replacement, but as soon as the replacement comes, Titus is to leave and come to Paul.

There were several places called Nicopolis, but the most likely one for Paul to have been referring to was a pleasant city on the west coast of Macedonia on the Adriatic Sea, and would have been an excellent place to spend the winter.  Paul was getting to be an old man, and there he could live in some comfort during the harsher months.  We can be certain, however, that even in that retreat Paul would never have stopped preaching and teaching and serving God.

13.  Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing.

These two people probably were carrying this letter, but were only passing through Crete on their way to some other place Paul was sending them to serve God.  Thus, Titus was to provide them with anything they might need and speed them on their way.  What a blessing it must have been to be serving in this crowd!  Here we see God sending out His troops according to His battle plan.  We can only wish He would give us direct orders in this way.

Again, we read nothing else of Zenas, other than that he was a lawyer.  Zenas is a Roman name, and may indicate that he was a Gentile expert in Roman law who had come to the faith.  However, he could also have been a Jew with a Roman name, and have been an expert in Jewish law who was no serving Christ.  Either way, we can be certain that he was a talented man who was now using His talents for the Lord.

Apollos was an amazing speaker and dynamic leader.  Some such as the Corinthians viewed him as a rival to Paul (I Corinthians 1:12,) yet now we see him serving under Paul’s orders and as part of Paul’s company.  This clearly shows us how completely God had given all spiritual authority at this time to the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.  For more on Apollos, see Acts 19:1, and various verses in I Corinthians (1:12; 3:4-6,22; 4:6; 16:12.)

14.  And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

In our country, where our basic needs are easily provided, our urgent needs are not so much a concern.  Most of our time we worry not about our needs but about our wants.  Yet this was not so in Paul’s day.  Earning even enough to eat could be a difficult job.  Yet they were not to give up, but to work as they should to provide for themselves and their families.  To cease to do this, and instead to rely on handouts and free gifts from others, was to become unfruitful.  They were not to act like this.

“Our people,” of course, has specific reference to the believers under Titus’ care, yet it also cannot be denied that it was a reference to the Jews, both Paul and Titus being of their number.  There is no greater need for the Jews today than that they would come to the Lord Jesus and learn through Him to do the good works that He would have them to do.

15.  All who are with me greet you.  Greet those who love us in the faith.  Grace be with you all.  Amen.

Again, Paul makes mention of the gathering of believers that God had placed under his command.  All of them greeted Titus.  Moreover, Titus was to give their greeting to all those who loved Paul and his company in their shared faith in Christ Jesus.

Paul closes this letter, as he did all his letters, with the salutation, “Grace be with you all.”  Indeed, where would we be without grace?  It is what sustains us, and it is what is sufficient for us.  Let us all always rest in that grace!  Amen.

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