2 Corinthians 8:16-24
How blessed Titus is!
How many people received the special commendation of St. Paul the way Titus did? Not many – perhaps only Timothy.
To see why Titus receives such high praise from Paul, we must go back to 2 Corinthians 7:6. Here we find that Paul himself was comforted by the coming of Titus. When Paul came to Macedonia, he says their bodies had no rest and they were troubled on every side, with conflicts outside and fears inside. And then Titus comes to Paul, and through Titus, God comforts the downcast. Paul is comforted by the mere physical presence of this godly young man Titus. We should not forget that sometimes our very physical presence among those who are discouraged is a comfort to them – if only we’ll go.
Paul is comforted not only by the presence of Titus but also by the fact that the Corinthians had comforted Titus by their earnest desire. In 7:13 Paul says that they have been comforted in the Corinthians’ comfort, and they rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus because his spirit was refreshed by the Corinthians. We are to rejoice when others rejoice and be comforted when others are comforted, because we are all part of the one, holy, catholic church. Titus has even greater affection for the Corinthians when he remembers their obedience, and so our obedience also comforts and encourages the saints and makes them rejoice.
So Paul comforts the Corinthian church, who have comforted Titus, who comes to Paul and comforts him – and of course Paul is a comfort to all. There is nothing less than a comfort-fest going on in the churches! This is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:23 that the churches are the glory of Christ, for together they manifest his glory by comforting each other and others with the comfort of Jesus Himself.
In 8:16, we find that Titus has the same earnest care for the Corinthians that Paul himself does, which is the care of Jesus Christ Himself. Titus accepted Paul’s exhortation to go the Corinthians, but more than this, because he was more diligent to do God’s will, he went of his own accord. Some commentators believe this may mean that Titus went at his own cost.
There is another brother mentioned in verse 18, “the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,” and one “who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself.” While we are not sure who this unknown saint is, his testimony encourages us even today. The Church Fathers seem about evenly split in thinking it was either Luke or Barnabas. Wouldn’t you like to be known as “the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches”?With the lavish gift Paul is sending, he sends something even more wonderful and rich: Titus and this other blessed brother. Not one to think he can do it all by himself, Paul has supreme confidence in both of these brothers. Titus has proven diligent in many things, and Paul calls him his “partner and fellow worker.” Just as we are all partners and fellow workers with Jesus Christ, we are also partners and fellow workers with one another. Each of us has special gifts and talents, but they are all part of the same ministry of Christ in which we must prove as diligent as Paul and Titus.
Paul’s final comment about Titus is that he and the other brother are “messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.” In Greek, Paul calls these two brothers “apostles” or “sent out ones” of the churches. It is hard to tell if Paul is saying that these brothers are the glory of Christ or if the churches are the glory of Christ. Ultimately, it makes little difference because Paul’s point, which he expresses in so many other ways and places, is that the Church, the Body of Christ, is the glory of Christ because His glory dwells in us through the Holy Spirit.
The challenge this morning, and every morning, is to be resurrected again with a holy zeal to serve the Lord as diligently as did Titus. When you do this, like Titus, God will make you His tidings of comfort and joy to other Christians and to the whole world as well.
Prayer: Father, thank You for sending us comfort and joy in the person of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You for the faithfulness and diligence of Your saints such as St. Titus, who labored so lovingly in Your Church. Make me Your minister of comfort and joy today, and give me a heart that is eager to serve.
Points for Meditation:
- Meditate on some area of being Christ’s minister in which you have not been as diligent as Titus.
- Meditate on how through your presence or ministry you may be a comfort and joy to another Christian. Alternatively, reflect on a time in your life when another Christian has brought you comfort and joy.
Resolution: I resolve to find one way today I might be God’s apostle of comfort and joy in the life of one Christian.
St. Titus – U.S. Public Domain