June 27, 2019

Agrippa: Almost Persuaded?

Acts 25:23-26:32

Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

—  Acts 26:28

The local King Agrippa and Bernice (who was his sister) are visiting Festus, the new governor of Caesarea. Festus discusses Paul’s case with Agrippa. Agrippa is the son of the King Herod who had James killed and Peter imprisoned (Acts 12), so this family history is part of the background to Paul’s appearance before Agrippa.

Paul tells how Jesus met him on the Damascus road and what it meant for him to be a witness for Christ to the Jews and Gentiles. When Paul declares that Jesus rose from the dead, Festus disrupts Paul’s testimony, claiming that Paul is out of his mind.

Paul explains that Agrippa is familiar with all these things, and then he asks Agrippa this question: “Do you believe in the prophets? I know you do.” How long does Agrippa pause before answering? We do not know. But he dismisses Paul’s question with another one: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Let’s think about that. How long does it take to become a Christian? It does not need to take long. It can be as sudden as meeting Jesus on the Damascus road.

At the same time, Paul leaves the court with a prayer asking that all who are listening may someday become believers in Christ.

Dear God, bring all who are reading these words into eternal life with you. Move in us and work through us to share your good news everywhere. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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