Then Agrippa said to Paul, Almost you persuade me to be a Christian.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, etc. Times when the attitude and bearing of one person wonderfully set forth the majesty of truth. Jesus before Pontius Pilate. Luther at Worms. Paul at Caesarea. Agrippa face to face with the sincerity he despised; Festus with a religion altogether different from that of Rome. The assembly of courtiers and soldiers and abandoned people in the presence of spiritual reality. The reversal of the appearances Paul really trying the offenders against God at the bar of Christ's truth. The effect of the simple narrative of facts and its powerful appeals. Though scorn and mockery in Agrippa's words, still confession of his inability to reply. Whether as in Authorized or as in Revised Version, the meaning is the same: "I am not persuaded, though I cannot deny anything you say."
I. DECIDED CHRISTIANITY is the only true position. "To be a Christian" is to be fully persuaded.
1. Decided faith. Not belief about truth, but persuasion that Jesus is our Savior.
2. Essential change. "To be" that which we were not before. Not a mere change of external position towards Christianity, but the surrender of the whole self to the Law of Christ.
3. Public profession. The name" Christian" distinguished the man from others. It was assumed as a pledge of fellowship and united action. The Church is the voice of Christ, his living representative and witness. We must identify ourselves with his body, by being grafted as members into it.
II. CHRISTIANITY APPEALS TO THOSE WHO ARE OPEN TO PERSUASION.
1. It is possible to be unpersuaded, because inwardly resisting truth, because self-deceived, because demanding that which is not reasonable, as the hardened skeptic, the trifler with opportunity, the proud intellect, the light-minded and pleasure-loving.
2. The commonest and yet most responsible of all positions is that which, like Agrippa's, is near persuasion, yet distinctly waiving off the appeal. It is an awful spiritual danger to turn away from an open door.
3. It is better to be persuaded by the gracious appeal than compelled to acknowledge the truth by the overwhelming evidence of judgment. Paul's position before Agrippa a prediction of the future trial of all men, when they shall be manifestly brought into the presence of those who have been persuaded, and the unreasonableness and guilt of their unbelief will be shown forth in contrast with the simple faith and loving obedience of those who shall be honored with Christ's name and glory upon them. The obstacle to full persuasion should be sought within. There is little more required. Neither the truth itself, nor its method of presentation, nor the circumstances of our life, nor the difficulties of our profession, are any excuse for our remaining unpersuaded. The reality behind the veil of external appearance in the court at Caesarea. Paul's good conscience, strength, hope, comfort, final victory, all should persuade us to be altogether such as he was then and is now. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.