Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. II Timothy 1:8-12 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 ESV
Queenie’s dad was in prison, and she was terribly ashamed of that. The other kids made fun of her all the time, and while she pretended that she didn’t care, she was very hurt on the inside. On the outside, though, she was mean and defiant and always getting into trouble at school and in the community. Queenie wanted her dad to come home more than anything, because she thought that that would make everything better and put an end to the shame of having her father in prison.
The apostle Paul was in prison again, and this time things weren’t going to turn out so well for him. The emperor Nero was cruelly persecuting Christians, and Paul knew that this time he wouldn’t be set free. While he was in prison he wrote a second letter to Timothy, a pastor who had always been like a son to him, and gave him some last instructions. Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of Jesus or of Paul. Many people might have thought that being in prison was a shameful thing, and they might have acted as if being a Christian was something to feel embarrassed about, especially when an important Christian leader like Paul was in prison. But Paul knew Jesus, and that it was worth everything to believe in Jesus. He wasn’t ashamed, and he didn’t want Timothy to be ashamed either, but instead to be willing to share in the sufferings of Jesus and his people.
The reason Paul wasn’t ashamed was because of the wonderful things God had done through Jesus. Jesus had died on the cross and had risen again from the dead, and by doing that he had brought the power of death to an end for everyone who believes in him. Jesus had brought life and immortality, which means never dying again, to light. All this was done by God’s grace. We didn’t deserve any of this by anything we had done, but God did this for us because he loves us so much. On the last day we will all completely know the wonderful gift of eternal life, a gift we are starting to enjoy right now, but a gift that we will celebrate fully in eternity.
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us the gift of eternal life through your grace. Help us never to be ashamed of you. Amen.
Burch, Robert Queenie Peavy New York: Viking Press, 1966.