“Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)
King Agrippa asked a timeless question that echoes through the canyons of the centuries, and the most important of all.
The occasion was Paul’s defense of himself to King Agrippa after being arrested on false charges. His accusers wanted to put him to death. For the apostle, it was an opportunity to share his personal testimony of his life changing encounter with Jesus Christ and the timeless answer to the timeless question of King Agrippa.
In his oratory to the King, Paul spoke of who he once was and of who he had become after his experience of meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. His story was powerful, like those of all who have been changed from the miserable, lost souls we once were to those who have become children of God, by faith in his Son – the Gift of God. Paul repeated to the King and those present what Jesus had said to him that day on the road to Damascus. Like Paul, we are on a road, the road of life. It is a road that leads to a “dead end” without Jesus. Paul spoke eloquently, gracefully and powerfully to one of the most powerful men of his time, the most powerful message of all time, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes,” Jesus said, “and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me,” (Acts 26:17-18). What a message! My timeless question is – “why would anyone turn down such an offer?” And yet, Agrippa had to think about it. He certainly was not easily persuaded, even by such a powerful message from such a powerful force – the Holy Spirit of God speaking through His human servant and mouthpiece – Paul. Perhaps he had more important things to think about, like running a country or something. Maybe he thought about what it would cost if he accepted the abundant life and eternal life that the Son of God has to offer. Or did he simply enjoy his life of sin without the presence of God in his life? He might have felt embarrassed if he accepted Christ.
So King Agrippa almost became a Christian that day. Just think, he almost found abundant life in the here and now. He almost received eternal life after the here and now. He almost got his eyes opened. He almost came out of the darkness of disgusting sin and shame, into the brilliant light of God. He was almost turned from the overwhelming, deadly, freedom binding power of Satan to the awesome, freedom giving, joyful power of Almighty God. He almost got forgiveness of his sins and rotten choices in life by the God who gave him life. Oh, the choices we make. I hope King Agrippa thought about Paul’s words later, when he was alone. Perhaps he changed his mind and realized, like us all, how self-centered he was. I hope he called out to the Lord to forgive him, save him and be the Lord of his life.