This is a section from Paul's second letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth.
He is talking in this chapter about the “false apostles” who are basically saying that Paul & what he says is of not use, or isn't valid.
2 Corinthian 11
23 Are they servants of Christ?
I have served him far more!
I have worked harder,
been put in prison more often,
been whipped times without number,
and faced death again and again.
24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods.
Once I was stoned. (dan note: & he was left for dead!)
Three times I was shipwrecked.
Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.
26 I have traveled on many long journeys.
I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers.
I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles.
I have faced danger in the cities,
in the deserts,
and on the seas.
And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.
27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights.
I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food.
I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness?
Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?
30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.
31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.
32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.
33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.
Every time I read that section, I wonder certain obvious things
If Paul had had all those things happen to him, he must have been a mess!
Just the beatings alone must have played havoc on his body!
What kind of injuries would a stoning leave on him?
And what about being shipwrecked or adrift in the ocean for a night & a day? Good grief!
And people walked everywhere back then, so he didn't get enough food & walked everywhere – I bet there wasn't a lot of excess fat on Paul!
This man must have been pretty banged up. Can you imagine?!
The other thing I think about is I wonder how any of us precious & prissy Christians of today would react if we had suffered just one of the things Paul had.
How many of us would still be a Christian if we'd been beaten just 1 time 39 lashes with the cat of nine tails they used to beat people with?
How many of us would be Christians if on a regular basis we went hungry & were really really cold because we didn't have adequate clothing.
How many of us would be Christians if we'd been stoned by an angry mob & left for dead?
I think we'd all agree if any ONE of those things happened to Christians today in America there would be a falling off of attendance at our dog & pony show worship services.
Think about it...
Would you follow Jesus?