Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers…
Preaching has ever been the principal means used for diffusing a knowledge of Christianity. It was the method adopted and enjoined by the great Author of our religion (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7; Mark 16:15). A striking instance of its early success is recorded in the chapter before us; and we are led by our text to inquire into the nature of that preaching which was so successful; and into the effects which followed such preaching.
I. THE NATURE OF THE PREACHING may be understood from the context.
1. The subject was Christ. The preacher's name evidently was to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
2. The subject was of the highest importance; it was perfectly suitable to the audience;
3. And the manner of treating it was excellent. The discussion was plain — concise — clear. The mode of address was courageous.
4. The preacher who thus conducted himself, demands our consideration. It was Peter, a late fisherman of Galilee, he was Divinely called to preach the gospel; and thus qualified, he preached; power from above attended the word.
II. AND THE EFFECTS WHICH FOLLOWED well deserve our attention. "They were pricked in their heart." Hearers treat the Word preached with indifference; or feeling its force they resist it; or happily, like those whose case is before us, they yield to its convincing influence. The address was made to their understanding — their judgment — their conscience; and being accompanied by the power of Divine grace, they were rationally, Scripturally, and feelingly convinced of the error of their ways and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" We may consider this as —
1. The language of religious concern.
2. The language of religious distress.
3. The language of humble inquiry. Think on their former prejudices. Such was the preaching, and such were the effects.Our minds are farther led to the following improvement.
1. Christ crucified is, and ever should be, the grand subject of the Christian ministry.
2. There is salvation in no other — there is no other name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).
3. In religion, it is of the utmost importance that the heart be affected (" they were pricked in their hearts"); See Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:7; Joel 2:13; Mark 7:21; Proverbs 4:23; Psalm 51:10, 17. Sin hath its seat in the heart — there the change should begin.
4. Persons may be so affected on account of their sin and danger, that they cannot, in some cases, avoid strongly expressing what they feel.
5. The essential importance of Divine influence to render the word preached successful is another idea suggested by the circumstances connected with the text.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?