Counted Worthy of Suffering

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by Mary Hamilton

The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing that they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Acts 5:41 (NIV)

Sounds like a good time, doesn’t it? The apostles walked out of the meeting place where the Sanhedrin sat in judgment and they were rejoicing. I imagine a lot of back-slapping, high-fiving and laughing. They’d been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus’ sake. Way to go, guys!

Actually, I doubt that’s how it went. If we look back to verse 40, we see the Sanhedrin ordered them flogged. Like Jesus was flogged. Thirty-nine lashes with a bone and metal-tipped whip intended to shred the skin on the victim’s back. Thirty-nine—because few survived that fortieth lash.

When the apostles may have left the Sanhedrin, could they have left under their own power? Who could walk after receiving 39 lashes? Maybe friends and followers carried them home. I doubt there were any high-fives, and I’m certain there was no backslapping or laughter.

Yet, there was rejoicing. They were glad they’d been counted worthy to suffer for the Name of Jesus. To them, persecution wasn’t some sort of punishment or a trampling of their rights. It was an honor, something to be found worthy of. Why? Maybe because they’d seen their Lord suffer torture and death for them, and if they wanted to be like Him—to identify with Him—they had to be willing to do what He did.

I admit I have a hard time understanding this. As a citizen of a free country, I don’t consider suffering something to be worthy of, but rather something to be avoided. I back down at the slightest rebuke for my faith, unwilling to step on toes or offend anyone. But sometimes, God calls us to suffer verbal attacks, rejection, even physical harm as a result of our faith. Like the martyrs of old and of recent times in other lands, may the Holy Spirit grant us the attitude of rejoicing that we are counted worthy to suffer for the Name. And may His kingdom increase because of such a witness.

Author Bio: 

Mary HamiltonMary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Collection, giving her books a strong sense of authenticity. She has also published Pendant, a Christian cozy mystery. Besides writing, Mary also enjoys knitting, photography, spending time with her grown children and watching sunsets with her husband of 35+ years. They make their home in central Texas. Learn more at 


Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Collection

Hear No Evil Box set

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