Pierced to the Heart
Acts 2:37 (ESV) – Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Jesus had ascended to Heaven. He made a promise to His disciples that when He left, the Holy Spirit would come upon them and provide power to be His witnesses. Like everything else up to this point, they had no clue what that meant or what it would look like. One day, when they least expected it, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began speaking in the languages of people from other countries who were gathered in Jerusalem during that time. People were hearing them in their own languages.
Peter then stood up and began to preach to the gathered crowd, foreign and locals alike. He shared the gospel. He recounted how the Old Testament Scriptures pointed to this day and how Jesus was the promised Messiah of Israel. His message then hit on how Jesus was put to death by the plan of God, but then was raised from the dead. He even quotes David as a testimony to God’s resurrection plan. His preaching landed with power, because of the Spirit’s work, and the people’s response is recounted in our passage today.
We read in Acts 2:37, “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” Notice this statement, “they were cut to the heart.” Conviction seized them. They knew their guilt. His message landed with force and they couldn’t continue on as before. This is the power of a message fueled by the Holy Spirit. Peter’s declaration cut them to the heart and led them to the question, “what do we do?” Their instinct was to act on what they had heard. They needed to know what their response should be in order to honor God.
Peter responded to them to repent and be baptized. If they wanted to walk with Jesus, and put their faith in Him, then they had to repent of rebellion against Him and be baptized as a testimony that they belong to Him. And that’s what they did, nearly 3,000 in total.
How do that many people come to faith through the preaching of the Word? By the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to do this same work today.
Apart from the Spirit’s power to convict hearts, men will never be pierced and brought to repentance. Let’s pray for God to stir revival in our own hearts, then our churches, and then the world.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is “pierced to the heart” a good phrase for understanding conviction?
- What are some components in Peter’s sermon that are important for our own preaching today?
- How does this passage or devotion encourage you in your walk today?
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