In the eighth verse, Paul says: “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.” According to this verse, Timothy is tempted to do two things:

(1) to be ashamed of the testimony about the Lord and (2) to be ashamed of Paul, His prisoner. How come Timothy would be ashamed of the Lord and Paul? The answer is obvious: continuing to testify about Jesus Christ was punishable by death at that time. Paul detects fear in Timothy’s letter, so he encourages him not to abandon Jesus as others have done, and furthermore, not to abandon him, Paul, his own spiritual father. Why?

The Great Fire of Rome occurred in 64 AD. The year before, Nero had Paul released from his first imprisonment.

As the fire ravaged the city, Nero put forth a theory: “I am sure that Paul is behind this fire! We had no trouble as long as he was behind bars. It’s him, Paul, the leader of these groups of Christians who planned everything and is responsible for the fire!” Paul, at that time, had just been released and was living near Rome, making him an obvious target. So, they tried to pin everything on him, seeing him as “the mastermind behind this fire”.

It was therefore dangerous to be associated with Paul. If you were his friend, there was a good chance your name would appear on the list of his accomplices. In light of these circumstances, Timothy was questioning his relationship with Paul! So Paul pleads his case: “Do not be ashamed of me!”

Since his conversion, Paul had invested his entire life in the Church, and now everyone was turning their backs on him. One can truly develop a strong sense of rejection! And now it’s Timothy’s turn to be afraid and think about abandoning him.

So Paul tells him: (1) Do not be ashamed of the testimony about the Lord, (2) do not be ashamed of me, and (3) if you must, be willing to suffer with me for the gospel, by the power of God in the Combat Zone.

  • A particular manifestation of the power of God

There is an undeniable fact, encountered in the Bible and throughout history, that Christians will face persecution. But if these Christians stand firm in the Lord, there is a particular manifestation of divine power in the lives of these believers.

It is this power that was at work when believers sang in tongues and quoted the Psalms as they were being burned alive in Nero’s garden, which is why Paul says: “join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” There is truly a special manifestation of God’s power that is released in the lives of those who suffer for the gospel. Peter, in 1 Peter 4:14 writes: “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” The glory and power of God always come to rest on the lives of those who are persecuted or attacked.

This text is an excerpt from the book “Living in the Combat Zone” written by Rick Renner.

We invite you to read the following article “What Christians Fear“.

The Combat Zone.

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