To announce that he was indeed the Messiah, Jesus chose a time when all Israel would be gathered at Jerusalem, a place where huge crowds could see him, and a way of proclaiming his mission that was unmistakable.
But, before we can walk in the newness of life, before we can experience this new beginning, we must also die to sin.
Jesus knew many in the crowd needed to hear a story about redemption, and, likewise, he felt that the listening Pharisees needed to hear a story about forgiveness and acceptance.
This idea that judgment and death are the results of sin led to the belief that tragic death was the result of extreme sin. This was a commonly held view in Judaism and one that we still hear, even though we should know better.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means putting aside your selfish desires, shouldering your "cross" every day, and following him. For believers today, it means understanding that we belong to Him and that we live to serve His purposes.
When others are caught in sin, and we're quick to pass judgement, it's though we're acting as if we've never sinned ourselves.
God doesn't desire our being better than another. Rather, God desires that we become the best possible individuals we've been created to be.
There is great joy in knowing that your efforts, whether seen or unseen, are making a difference in the lives of others.
Paul is telling us that God has a plan, and we are a part of that plan. We were redeemed for a reason, and we are given gifts to fulfill a greater purpose.
Paul wants Titus to give the Cretans a practical way of living where they can start demonstrating their faith in good works by meeting the needs of other people.