Acts 2:22–41 (ESV) — 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”(I mean why do you have to kick a horse while He is down!) 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?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, (3,000 baptisms) and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
His boldness in this moment is remarkable. For a man who only days before fearfully denied to a servant girl he even knew Jesus, Peter now has the courage to stand in front of thousands and tell them in unmistakable terms that they were morally responsible for killing their Messiah. Seeing the resurrected Jesus and being baptized in the Holy Spirit had obviously transformed Peter into a fearless and eloquent spokesman for His Lord.
The proof that Jesus had ascended to the Father’s right hand was there right in front of them, for everyone to see and hear. It was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the whole crowd observed on that Pentecost morning (v33). One of the main promises concerning the Messiah, which they all knew, was that when He begins to rule He will pour out the Holy Spirit on all God’s people (Isa 11:9; Jer 31:34; Eze 36:26, 27; 37:9, 10, 14).
Peter now takes up his main theme: the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and Messiah. The early apostolic preaching regularly comprises four elements (not always in the same order):
(1) the announcement that the age of fulfillment has arrived; (The Day of the Lord)
(2) An account of the ministry, death, and triumph of Jesus; (Gospel message)
(3) Citation of Old Testament scriptures whose fulfillment in these events proves Jesus to be the one to whom they pointed forward; (Proof)
(4) A call to repentance. (response)
These four elements are present in Peter’s proclamation here. He has already announced that the age of fulfillment has come (v. 16); now he summarizes the story of Jesus. Acts 2:22
Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Book of the Acts (p. 63). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
v.s. 37 "Peter’s preaching proved effective, not only persuading his hearers’ minds but convicting their consciences. If Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their appointed Messiah, then no guilt could be greater than the guilt of treating him as he had been treated. If they had refused him in whom all their hope of salvation rested, what hope of salvation was left to them now? Well might they cry out in anguish of heart, “What are we to do, brothers?”
Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Book of the Acts (p. 69). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Ever feel horrible about something that you just cant take back?
As humans we all do things we regret, but I can’t imagine the regret these Jewish men as they were cut to the heart about who “this Jesus” was that they crucified. The man they killed was the very Messiah they have been waiting for. I imagine them murmuring to each other “How could we have crucified him?, He is the Messiah, The anointed one of God! The son of David!”
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?”(Acts 2:37)
Peter anointed by the Spirit was given a powerful sermon that God used to cut to the heart of these Jewish men.
When God convicts us or “cuts us to the heart” how should we respond?
Often with conviction and the revelation of our sin comes the all too common human tendency to hide, cover up the sin, and make excuses as evidenced throughout human history starting with Adam and Eve.
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Ge 3:6–13).
After Peter’s sermon the men who were cut to the heart did not hide or make excuses. They inquired how they should respond to this sin. Asking Peter and the other apostles, one of the best questions in the whole bible:
“Brothers, what shall we do?”
This question alone is evidence that these men were repentant. The fact that they felt horrible and regretful is undeniable but their response was evidence that they were willing to repent and embrace Jesus as messiah and Lord.
Next time the Holy Spirit cuts us to the heart let us respond like these men with humility and a genuine desire to change. It would behove us to ask God and brothers and sisters in the body of Christ this very question more often
Finally the response from these men is evidenced by clear action and heeding to Peter’s command to “Repent and be baptized” as 3000 were baptize that day!
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, (3,000 baptisms) and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
What a beautiful day and what a beautiful and wonderful thing it is that the Holy Spirit is still “cutting us to the heart”. When the Holy Spirit convicts us today may the Lord give us grace to repent…to respond with humility and heed to the direction the Holy Spirit gives us.