2Ti 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling,…
In reality, no one finds it easy to associate with pain and suffering. We would rather distance ourselves. Peter walked closely with Christ up until the moment that Christ was arrested, then Peter followed from a distance. He was confronted about his association with Christ and he bitterly denied ever knowing Him.
Timothy was discouraged not just by the ministry but perhaps fearing the if he followed the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, he may end up like him. The encouragement he needed to receive was this: the gospel of Christ is what we have, none of us has a reason to be ashamed of it and it’s proclaimers.
Rom 1:16, ”For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation…” It is this gospel that saved and preserved him. As he proclaimed it, God opened hearts like that of Lydia to receive, Acts 16:14. It was foolishness to some, but Paul knew it’s effectiveness. We must therefore not be ashamed of those who are suffering for the gospel of Christ. Timothy must not be ashamed of good old Paul, though he was now in bonds. As he must not himself be afraid of suffering, so he must not be afraid of owning those who were sufferers for the cause of Christ.