From today’s text we take up thoughts from two recent readings: “I thought” from Acts 23 and “Almost” from Acts 24.
In Acts 26:9 we find Paul reflecting on his time as a persecutor of the Lord and His church, saying to King Agrippa, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
When we have preconceived ideas of how things should be, we can allow our own thinking to direct us rather than being directed by the word of God. Paul sincerely thought he was doing right; but Paul was wrong. Until he allowed himself to be guided by the word of God, he remained an enemy of God.
Another “I thought” situation that comes to mind is that of Naaman in 2 Kings 5. Naaman was a mighty soldier, but he was a leper. Upon learning that the prophet of God in Israel could heal him, he immediately made plans to see this man.
When he finally arrived at the house of Elisha, the prophet didn’t even come to the door, instead of sending his servant with instructions on how to be healed. Naaman then became furious, saying, “Indeed, I said to myself, (‘I thought’ – TC), ‘He (the prophet himself) will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and was his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.” Naaman went away in a rage, and he went away as a leper.
However, the pleadings of his servants to heed the man of God softened his heart and changed his mind. When he came to himself and obeyed the word of the Lord, he received the healing he so desperately desired.
Our “almost” reflection comes from Agrippa’s statement in verse 28. After Paul’s appeal to the king to consider the prophets in view of the message of Jesus, Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to be a Christian.”
Though some think Agrippa was mocking Paul in view of Festus’ insult in verse 24, I believe Paul’s response shows us otherwise. Speaking directly to the king, Paul declared, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”
How sad it is to consider that a man who is almost saved is totally lost! Don’t be almost a Christian! Be a Christian!