“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?” (Acts 2:37, AV)
Years ago, as a new believer, the pastor of my first church asked me to head up the visitation program at the church. I was excited about telling others about Jesus. Though I never thought that I would experience anything like I saw on the television evangelistic crusades where hundreds came to faith. Several years later, we relocated to Savannah Georgia. While there, I joined the Gideons International. Besides distributing Bibles, occasionally they did prison ministry. On one such occasion they asked me to preach an evangelistic message. I was very nervous. So I prepared the best I could and prayed hard.
The day we went to the prison, I discovered that I would preach in two services. The first one was to the resident inmates and the second to the newly incarcerated and transitional inmates who were there. Four Gideons were there with me. They were to counsel any who made a decision to receive Jesus and record it in the pocket New Testaments that we gave them when they entered the assembly area. There were about a hundred inmates at the first service.
At the end of the first service, while I led them in prayer, I asked those who wanted to receive Jesus to raise their hands. I was encouraged to see that two of the inmates raised their hands. Then I asked them to come forward, which they did. I thought to myself, “This is great, the message must have been good.” I admit, it was a moment of proudful thought.
We kept the same plan for the next service. In this service there were well over a-hundred inmates, perhaps two-hundred. I cannot remember. After presenting the message, I went through the same routine. Only this time, when I asked them to raise their hands, about half of them did. Now, my fellow Gideons had their heads bowed and eyes closed, so they had no idea what was coming. Then I asked for the ones who raised their hands to come forward.
When I gave the invitation for those who raised their hands to come forward, they literally ran towards us. They were jumping over chairs and running down the aisles. The guards likely panicked, thinking they had a riot on their hands. I panicked because I did not know what to do. I had my fellow Gideons sign and date their decisions, and I led the entire group in a salvation prayer. We estimated there were about sixty or more who came forward. This time I thought to myself, “Look at what God has done.”
I have never seen such conviction over a gospel message before or since. I realize that this was not something that I had done. These men responded as God moved by His Spirit in their hearts. It was not me; it was all Him. On the Day of Pentecost, when about 3000 believed, it was not a movement of Peter, but a movement of God.
We need to remember that we are just heralds of the gospel and that God is the one who saves. Moreover, it is not just when we see massive numbers come to faith. When just one comes to faith through the message, it is God who has done the work. Be thankful that God uses us as heralds of His message. Always remember, you are heralds of good-news and God is the one who moves in the hearts of those whom He saves. Give glory to God for His salvation.