Let's Go Back to the Bible

The Tale of Two Hearts (Part 1)

It was the best response and the worst response. It was a time for picking up stones and a time for casting off sin. Those that heard the message of the gospel in Jerusalem were divided on how they responded to what they would do with Jesus.

Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preaches to the multitudes. The apostles had been filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking in tongues (Acts 2:3-4). There were devout Jews from “every nation under heaven,” who heard these men speak in their own tongue “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:5-11). The people were amazed and wondered, as some assumed they were drunk, but this was proven otherwise (Acts 2:12-13). When Peter begins to preach, he explains that this work of the Holy Spirit was prophesied (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:14-21). He speaks of the death and resurrection of Jesus as something that had to happen (Psa. 16:8-11; Acts 2:22-28). Peter continues speaking about the connection of Jesus to David’s throne and prophecy of the resurrection and exaltation of Christ and finally laying the fault of His death at their feet (Acts 2:29-36).

Then the crowd responds. Open and honest hearts were pricked, and they cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). This is one of the most important questions in the Bible, in light of God’s great love (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). In light of God’s great grace, “By the grace of God He tasted death for all mankind” (Heb. 2:9). In light of our great debt of sin, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and “There none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10, 23).

Peter answers by inspiration, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:38-39). Paul later teaches what happens here with Peter, and he states that God “called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). Of the possible thousands that were there, we are told that “those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

Why is it important to note this reaction? Here the full gospel is preached for the first time. It is the culmination of the power, providence and pardon of God to remove the sins of mankind. There were three thousand hearts that were ready to receive the message. It is imperative that we maintain that kind of heart to continue to grow and be molded by God.