Welcome back to our sunny Summer holiday destination of Crete!
Last week we dipped into the book of Titus and saw God has a message for us through Paul: God has brought life to light.
Through the appearing of Jesus on Earth, the eternal God has revealed how we too can share eternal life – now and beyond death. Jesus is God’s truth revealed in flesh and bones.
And Jesus is also God’s light to us making sense in our world of darkness.
Which, as it turns out, is what we all need. We need Jesus.
Have you ever wondered what the way ahead is? Have you ever felt darkness closing in on you? Have you ever asked yourself: “how can I speak or behave in such a way which embarrasses me or which causes me so much regret”?
The description of the people on Crete two thousand years ago sounds, at first, to be stinging. But Paul is not being judgemental.
Instead he’s describing the natural spiritual condition we all face. So that in our darkness Jesus shines all the more brightly, and we are led to him.
Two verses describe this dark reality:
There are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception…. (Titus 1:10).
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (Titus 3:3).
What is Paul saying here about us humans?
1) None of us are immune from hard feelings towards others
Paul speaks of himself when he says “we lived in malice and envy…” He’s not trying to point out faults in others while remaining high and mighty himself. After all, he was a murderer.
No, Paul knew the feeling in his own heart of wanting someone else to fail. Or wanting what someone else had. And if we’re honest, we’ve all had those feelings… more than once.
2) We’re like this because we’re deceived
The people on Crete spoke lies because they themselves were deceived. It’s hard to admit in our enlightened generation that we’re deceived about anything.
But to recognise that we’ve believed a lie is actually remarkably freeing. Just like the sailors who once thought the Earth was flat before they discovered it was round, we’ve acted in line with the knowledge we had but then are shown such knowledge is woefully lacking.
So, for instance, often we harbour hardness in our hearts towards other people in the wrong belief it makes us feel better about ourselves. But, the truth is such hardness leaves us as very bitter people. We’re in the dark, deceived about what’s good for us….
3) Which goes hand in hand with rebellion against God
It’s no surprise that Paul talks about people being disobedient and rebellious against God when our culture doesn’t tell us truths about God. We’re in the dark about him.
So, we think living our own way is what’s best for us. We don’t think God is good news for us, so why would we live with any interest towards Him? That naturally puts us against him. The problem is, being in the dark about God pushes us away from God. And living apart from God means we live even further into darkness…
All in all, the picture is bleak. But remember last week: God has brought life to light! Thank God for Jesus! We SO need him! And we’ll see next week just what he has done for us…
With love in Christ