What Agrippa Teaches Us about Salvation
Paul stood in defense of “The Way” before Herod Agrippa II, the great-grandson of Herod the Great who tried to kill baby Jesus. Agrippa II was the nephew of the Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded. By Agrippa’s side was his sister, Bernice, who was rumored at that time to have had an incestuous relationship with her brother Agrippa. All this power, glittering crowns, and immorality sat in judgment of Paul.
Agrippa told Festus, “I also was wishing to hear the man (i.e., Paul) myself” (Acts 25.22). Amazing how a house that once tried to exterminate Christianity now desired to hear its message! Reviewing the history of Christianity, it is easy to see why one would want to hear Paul. The gospel had converted 5,000 people within the first few days of its beginning. Its teaching spread in spite of earlier persecution. Now a man, “born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15.8), had covered thousands of miles preaching a messages where churches began and established good leadership by appointing elders. Agrippa wanted to hear this messages for himself. Paul was happy to oblige (Acts 26.2).
Paul said, “…King Agrippa…thou are expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews…I lived a Pharisee and…for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers…serving God night and day…I am accused” (Acts 26.3-7). He continued, “I shut up many of the saints…I gave my vote against them…I strove to make them blaspheme…I persecuted them” (vv. 9-11). “As I journeyed to Damascus…a light from heaven shone…I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision, but declared…throughout all the country…that they should repent and turn to God” (vv. 12-20). “Agrippa, I am not mad…but speak forth words of truth and soberness” (v. 25). “You, O King, knoweth of these things, unto whom also I freely speak. I know that thou believest” (vv. 26-27).
The time of decision for Agrippa had come. Whether he needed more time or was just being sarcastic, Agrippa’s actions spoke louder than words. He walked away from the truth spoken by an innocent, godly man (v. 31). Agrippa’s judgment of innocence proved himself guilty of pride and persecution of “The Way.” What a wonderful opportunity - gone!
How different would we have looked at Herod Agrippa if he had risen to his feet, thrown down his crown, and crowned and committed himself to Jesus as the ruler of his life? He may have appeared as a fool before the world, but he would have been a success before God. The word “almost” could have been replaced with Paul’s own words, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
What will the record show about you and your view toward salvation?