THERE'S SOMETHING A LITTLE SAD about seeing anybody for the last time, even somebody you were never particularly crazy about to begin with. Agrippa, for instance. He was the last of the Herods, and after him that rather unsavory dynasty came to an end.
When Saint Paul was on his way to Rome to stand trial, King Agrippa granted him a hearing, and Paul, who was seldom at a loss for words, put up a strong defense. He described how on the road to Damascus he had come to believe Jesus was the Messiah and how all he had been doing since was trying to persuade other people to believe he was right. He said the fact the Jews were out to get him showed only that they didn't understand their own Scriptures, because the whole thing was right there, including the prediction that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead just the way Jesus had.
After Paul finished, Agrippa came out with the only remark he ever made that has gone down in history. "Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian," he said (Acts 26:28).
Almost is apt to be a sad word under the best of circumstances, and here, on the lips of the last of his line the last time you see him, it has a special poignance. If only Paul had been a little more eloquent. If only Agrippa had been a little more receptive, a little braver, a little crazier. If only God weren't such a stickler for letting people make up their own minds without forcing their hands. But things are what they are, and almost is the closest Agrippa ever got to what might have changed his life. It's sad enough to miss the boat at all, but to miss it by inches, with a saint right there to hand you aboard, is sadder still.
Acts 26:1-28, KJV
- Originally published in Peculiar Treasures