By: George Zellar

Acts 2:36-40

“Now when they heard [Peter’s message given at Pentecost] they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

What the Spirit of God did in the hearts of these unsaved Jews on this momentous day was truly staggering. The English word “prick” as used today merely means to pierce slightly, but the Greek term used above goes much deeper. They were cut to the heart by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). The truth pierced them very deeply.

At the time of the Lord’s arrest, Peter had wielded a sword against a servant named Malchus, removing his ear but accomplishing nothing else. The Lord immediately healed Peter’s victim (Luke 23:51). On the day of Pentecost, Peter wielded a much more effective sword which did far more than surface damage. It pierced deeply into the hearts of thousands. Peter used the sword of the Spirit which is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). The One who would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) brought great conviction to the hearts of those who had crucified their promised Saviour and King (Acts 2:36). As a result they cried out, “What shall we do?”

We are reminded of a terrified Gentile jailer who had a similar response (Acts 16:30). Those who heard the powerful preaching of John the Baptist also responded with similar questions (Luke 3:10). How wonderful it would be today if people would be so convicted of their sin that they would come to us desperately asking what they need to do in order to be saved from God’s wrath and judgment! And may we be ready, like Peter and Paul and Silas, to give them God’s required response (Acts 2:38; 16:31; 1 Peter 3:15).

George W. Zeller has served on the staff of the Middletown Bible Church for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary where he studied under Dr. John Whitcomb. He has written numerous Sunday School lessons, Bible study materials, doctrinal booklets, and various papers on a wide range of Biblical topics. These studies are accessible at

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