‘Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;’ — 2 Timothy 1:8
Job was a righteous, rich, and prosperous man. But when his fortunes changed, his friends turned on him. This is often the case in life. Solomon observed in Proverbs 14:20, ‘The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: But the rich hath many friends.’
Unfortunately, this seemed to be the case for Paul the Apostle as well. In 2 Tim 4:9-16, he talks about those who forsook him, those who did him much evil, and how no man stood with him when he was on trial the first time. It seems that even Timothy was struggling to accept and identify with Paul in his hour of suffering.
Three times in 2 Timothy 1, Paul mentioned the word ‘ashamed’:
- 1:8 – Paul told Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of ‘our Lord, nor of me his prisoner’. Instead, he challenged him to be a partaker (a participant) in the afflictions of the gospel.
- 1:12 – Paul told Timothy that he is not ashamed to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Paul was confident that, even though he was suffering, the God he believed would keep him and reward his faith one day.
- 1:16 – Paul prayed for God’s mercy to be on Onesiphorus who frequently refreshed him and was not ashamed of his chain.
If we want to follow Jesus, we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. We must be prepared to suffer loss and to be afflicted. We must resist the temptation to be ashamed of the cross and the gospel when it is costly. Unlike Peter, who repeatedly denied the Lord, we must boldly declare our allegiance to Christ. And we must resist the temptation to abandon others who are suffering for the cause of Christ.
The gospel is glorious, life-changing and life-giving. No matter how bad things get, how can we be ashamed of the one who loved us and gave Himself for us? Jesus was not ashamed of us. He despised all the shame of the cross. Let us love Him enough to suffer shame for His name.