Read: Acts 26:1-29

In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian? (v. 28)

Paul’s speech before Festus and Agrippa is his fifth public defense since his arrest in Jerusalem. As usual, the apostle turns his testimony into a gospel sermon. At the climax, the apostle turns to the king: “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets?” Paul was asking if he would accept the testimony of God’s Word by putting his faith in Christ. Agrippa was not used to being addressed like that.  In his An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility, Luther insisted that the pope should not sit and receive Communion but like any other “stinking sinner” rise and show respect to his God. The great ones of the world are generally held in such awe that no one tells them they’re just another sinner in need of a Savior like the rest of us.

That moment, by God’s grace and Paul’s holy boldness, was King Agrippa’s opportunity to acknowledge himself a sinner in need of Christ. He put it off with a cryptic reply: “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (v. 28). Was Agrippa offended by the question? Was he making a joke out of it, trying to laugh it off? Was he honestly asking for more time to think? Whatever it was, Agrippa parried Paul’s gospel appeal, and the moment passed. As the old version puts it, “Almost thou persuadest me . . .”

Never mind Agrippa; what I should ask myself is whether I believe the Scriptures. Have I responded in faith to the Christ who died and rose for me? —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, I do believe.