Monday, 2 July 2018
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. Titus 3:12
Paul seems to have the intent of having either Artemas or Tychicus replace Titus as the main leader of the churches on Crete during the time Titus is gone from that area. This is exactly what he did when he asked Timothy to come to him in Rome from his position in Ephesus in 2 Timothy 4:11-13 –
“Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.”
Of Artemas, nothing else is known. There are various traditions about him. One is that he was one of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus. Another is that he eventually became bishop of Lystra. However, these are not certain.
Tychicus seems to be a favorite of Paul’s. As noted, he was sent to take over for Timothy at one point, and such is true here. In Scripture, he is mentioned in Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7, and in 2 Timothy 4:12 – always in a favorable light.
Paul then says, “be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis.” There are actually several cities which bore this name. One was in Cilicia, one in Thrace, and one in Epirus. Despite scholars choosing a favorite possibility as to which Paul is referring to, it is completely unknown which is actually the right one. Titus knew, and that is sufficient. The reason for such a popular name is that Nikopolis means “City of Victory.” Thus, each city was probably known for being connected to some battle of times past.
The verse finishes with, “for I have decided to spend the winter there.” Again, no reason for this is known. It could have been a great spot for evangelism, it could be that there was a church needing direction there, or it could be that they had the world’s best shawarma and Paul needed a winter of relaxing (probably not). As he is asking for Titus to meet him there, it is probable that there is some connection to church matters that Paul felt Titus was capable of handling.
Life application: Tychicus has been mentioned several times in Scripture, always in a positive way. Titus is also shown in this light. They were ready to go where Paul directed, and to accomplish those things which they were well-suited for. Regardless as to whether you are in the ministry or in plumbing, you have a duty which needs to be done. Do others look at you in such a favorable light that you would be first on their mind to be called for special tasks of great importance? If not, get that changed. Become a reliable, faithful, willing employee. Be dedicated to your life’s profession, and do it with zeal.
Lord God, each of us has a task to accomplish in this life. Some of us are plumbers, some cut hair, some work at the wastewater plant. Whatever we do, are we known as the most willing to work faithfully and to be noted as the most trustworthy? If not, what kind of an example are we setting for others in our faithfulness to Christ? If we cannot be completely faithful to our earthly job, how is it that we can be considered faithful to our heavenly responsibilities? Help us, Lord, to be the most faithful, trustworthy, and zealous people that we can be in all matters, and at all times. Amen.