Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Appeal to King Agrippa

"'King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.'
Then Agrippa said to Paul, 'Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?'
Paul replied, 'Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.'"

- Acts 26:27-29, NIV

After being put on trial for his beliefs, Paul had just finished giving his testimony. He explained how harshly he used to persecute Christians. Then after the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus, Paul began testifying to the very truth he used to vehemently oppose. After explaining this testimony, another official (Festus) told Paul he was losing his mind. Paul graciously responded that he was not and then the verses listed above occurred.

This passage reminds me of those everyday opportunities we have to present the gospel of Christ. Often, people are snide in their remarks or respond in a similar way that Agrippa did. Maybe Agrippa was thinking something like this: "Why does this Paul guy think he can so easily persuade me? He's awfully confident in his approach. Does he really think I'm going to just believe all that nonsense off of the few things he just said?"

Yet Paul was not arrogant in his questioning of Agrippa. Paul appealed to Agrippa's knowledge of the prophets and their oracles. If Agrippa believed in what the prophets had to say, then he should believe in the fulfillment of those prophecies (Jesus Christ). Paul was not preaching some new religion as many of the Jews accused him of. He was preaching of the fulfillment of their very own writings!

I love the response Paul gave to Agrippa's question. He doesn't say, "Yes, Agrippa. I do expect you to believe right here and right now on my terms." No. Instead, he responds with heart of compassion for all who were present. He does pray they would become Christians, whether in a short amount of time or long. He also prays they do not face the same persecution that he was facing for his beliefs.

I was greatly encouraged by these verses in my quiet time this morning and wanting to pass along my thoughts. I hope you were blessed as well!

In Christ,