“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
There is much happening in Acts 2 with lots of points for debate and discussion, no doubt. But for me, these are two verses that always warm (and challenge) my own heart.
Emboldened by the Holy Spirit, a simple fisherman addresses the crowd. With boldness and insight, Peter is able to both explain the events of the day and articulate exactly who Jesus is and what He came to do. It is one of the finest sermons in the New Testament and a great defence of the person and work of Jesus; culminating in the affirmations of verse 36. We may be assured that the Jesus that humanity crucified has been made Lord and Saviour. The cross was not an accident! God was using the sinful plans of mankind to fulfil His plans to save His people through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. This is the great truth of the gospel that we proclaim.
A truth that cuts to the very heart of people! For this is God’s Word, coming with the power not of a simple fisherman but the power of the true and living God – able to pierce tough and proud exteriors, able to humble and move the hardest of people, able to cut through flesh and blood to stir us deeply in our core. This is the word that convicts us at our very core that we are in desperate need of this Lord and Saviour who died for us. And I hope that has been your experience of this gospel.
There is great power in proclaiming the simple truth of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17) and we must never be ashamed of speaking this truth!
Of course, any truth that changes our heart will always lead to outward action in keeping with that change. Having had their hearts convicted and their eyes opened, the crowd ask: “what shall we do?” How are they to express outwardly the inward change? Well, they are to stop doing the wrong things they’ve been doing, they must change direction (repent – v 38); and they must be included with Jesus’ disciples (be baptised – v 39) and this new community of faith. They are to be set apart with those redeemed and filled with the Spirit in newness of life.
These verses are a warm reminder to never forget who this Jesus really is and that following Him demands both inward conviction and outward conduct.