The Apostle Paul is a complex biblical character. Where some people are mentioned in a single scripture, stories of Paul are sprinkled throughout the New Testament. In chapter 26 of Acts, we get a glimpse of “Persistent Paul.” Paul was on thin ice with the Jewish leaders. The commotion he was causing had gotten him delivered to the local authorities. One of these rulers, Festus, had asked King Agrippa to judge Paul, and in the midst of all this drama, Paul gets back to his biggest passion – telling the Good News so that people might believe in Jesus:
While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking the sober truth. Indeed the king knows about these things, and to him I speak freely; for I am certain that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.” Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
Then the king got up, and with him the governor and Bernice and those who had been seated with them; and as they were leaving, they said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor.”
When the heat is on, I am usually looking for the exit. On the other hand, Paul, the Apostle Paul, thought that heat might just thaw things out so that the ice could be broken. I love how he even has a counter to Agrippa’s challenge:
Agrippa said to Paul, “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?” Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.”
That’s a gutsy move. Perfectly persistent! Well played, Paul.
Wonderful God, give me such a passion for spreading Your Word that I can make sure and include the Good News in my encounters. Make me a persistent disciple of my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.