v 28. King Agrippa said “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
To what extent is persuasion part of telling the Good News?
One of the things that stood out to me in this section is the very respectful way in which Paul addressed both Agrippa and Festus. No hint of any aggressive attitude, simply a recounting of the facts. Obviously Agrippa felt there was some attempt to convince him of Paul’s claims, so much so that Festus’ remark about too much learning making Paul crazy (v 24) comes across as a pretty violent interruption.
Doubtless, however, Paul argued his case in such a way that he really wanted Agrippa to believe him and the Gospel of Jesus. The challenge to all those who listened to Paul comes across very clearly in v 20 I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. It is not so much a matter of persuading but rather challenging people, in an appropriate fashion, to respond to the news of salvation through Jesus. To do that needs both sensitivity and tact, seizing opportunities as they arise.
Many of us feel pretty inadequate when it comes to speaking up about our faith and following Jesus. It may be through embarrassment or fear of being laughed at, or even of being belittled and losing a friend. It is important to be on the watch and alert for opportunities however and then not to beat ourselves up if we think we have failed or made a terrible hash of it.
Persevere – and keep it short, simple, and with a smile. Allow God the Holy Spirit to give wings to your words – it is He who will persuade!