The Almost Syndrome
-- On our last trip to Israel, I stood in Caesarea in the room believed to be the place where the Apostle Paul stood before King Agrippa II. You may remember that Roman Governor Festus had brought Paul before the King to attempt to find some charge against him before sending him to Rome to appear before Emperor Nero.
Acts 25 and 26 tell the dramatic story of the encounter with King Agrippa. Using logic charged with passion, Paul told the very bright king about his early attempts to eradicate the followers of Christ. Then, en route to Damascus to arrest even more of those followers, he, Paul, met Christ in a most dramatic episode.
He told the King that Jesus had commissioned him to take the Gospel to the gentile world. And, he added, “I have never been disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Paul said, “King Agrippa, I know that you are familiar with the scriptures.” To which the King replied, “Paul, almost you persuade me to be a Christian.”
Almost! Fatal word! Long ago, Philip Bliss wrote one of the most haunting verses to a hymn ever penned: “Almost persuaded / harvest is past! Almost persuaded / doom comes at last. Almost cannot avail / almost is but to fail. Sad, sad that bitter wail / Almost but lost.”
The destruction of Israel by Rome was just around the historical corner. Agrippa would retire to Rome where he died in the year 100 A.D. From that point on he was lost to history, but not to eternity.
Standing before God, the King would have to remember that fateful day in Caesarea when he came close, so close, to finding Christ as Lord and Savior.
Used with permission by author, Dan Betzer. Previously published on ByLine OnLine, copyright © 2005 Media Ministries of the Assemblies of God.
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