“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"- Acts 2:37
In the public speaking class I teach, I teach my students that there are four purposes of speeches. The first is to strengthen the audiences’ commitment, which means the audience continues to agree with your position. A speech can weaken the audience’s commitment, meaning they change their thinking on the topic based on the speech. The speech can be so well delivered that the audience converts, meaning they now take the speaker’s position on a topic. The fourth purpose is to induce a specific action, meaning the audience acts on what they just heard. Although it is rare the audience actually acts upon what they have heard, a speaker must deliver a thoughtful, well written speech for an audience to take the speaker’s position. In this verse, Peter didn’t need to rehearse what he had to say because he had first hand experience of who Christ was because of the time he spent with him. He also had passion in testifying to what he had seen and heard.
In this passage, the people were so moved by Peter’s words, they converted to Christianity. This is especially powerful because those same people just witnessed Christ’s death for what they believed was blasphemy. It would be easy for them not to act for fear they would also be crucified. But Peter spoke with such conviction, he persuaded his audience to take action.
When we talk about our Christ experiences, do we speak with the same conviction? Are people moved by our stories because we share with passion? Do we testify out of obedience to Christ, or refuse to share based on fear?