Lord, I am not ashamed of Your Gospel.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 1:8–18
8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty
15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Lord of the cross of shame, / set my cold heart aflame / with love for you, my Savior and my Master.” (Michael Saward, 1932–2015).
Note in this passage the references to not being ashamed. Shame is common to most cultures, though it is more prominent in some than in others. Tom Wright explains that “Paul’s world had a highly developed set of codes for honor and shame… all kinds of things would bring shame on a person… No prizes, then, for guessing where Paul comes out, given these social standards. He is in prison!” Hence, the pressure on friends to distance themselves from him and, by implication, to be ashamed of the “testimony about our Lord” (8).
Are you sometimes tempted to be ashamed of the Gospel? If so, why and under what circumstances? Sometimes a person well-known as a Christian says or does something over which you are embarrassed; how can you respond to negative comments about a high-profile Christian by people who are not Christians?
Apart from the examples of Paul (12) and of Onesiphorus (16), Timothy is given several powerful incentives not to be ashamed of the Gospel. The wonder of what Jesus has done for us puts into perspective the comparatively minor experience of the shame and even suffering we experience, which go along with being a disciple of the Master. Three particular benefits of the Gospel are especially relevant: first, the power of God is available to suffering Christians (8); second, by his death and resurrection Christ has dispelled the power of death which would otherwise overshadow those facing the ultimate shame of public execution (10); third, God is more than able to hold onto his children during peril and see them through to glory (12). Which of these incentives is most helpful to you at this time?
Imagine the shame endured by Jesus on the cross. Ask for God’s grace to be prepared to be associated with Jesus today and every day.
Lord, I share in the sufferings of my brothers and sisters who are persecuted all over the world for our common faith and heritage.
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