The church began in a culture that placed a lot of emphasis on the concept of honor/shame. It was the duty of every citizen to act it ways that brought honor to one’s family and the society in which they lived. Anyone who did this was accepted and perhaps even praised for their actions. The opposite of this was acting in ways that brought shame to one’s family or society. Those who did this faced rejection and perhaps even death if the offense was serious enough.
This is the society in which the Apostle Paul lived. As the first century progressed, it became more and more offensive to the Romans for someone to be a Christian so the Roman authorities began persecuting them. This is why Paul wrote 2 Timothy from prison. In this letter, he writes that even though he is in chains for the Gospel, he is not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:1-14). He also encourages Timothy to continue in his work for Jesus and to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
We live in a modern society that is becoming more hostile to Jesus. The question we have to wrestle with is: Are we ashamed of Jesus or are we willing to take a stand for him and share the Gospel with others?