In Acts 5, it tells the story of what happened after Pentecost in Jerusalem. It says, beginning in v12, “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; . . . And believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so much that they brought the sick into the streets, and . . . they were healed every one.
Then the high priest rose up, and put them in prison. But the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors at night and let them out, and said, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But when the high priest figured out what happened, he sent soldiers to the temple to get them. And they brought them before the council: and the high priest asked them, “Didn’t we tell you that you not to teach about Jesus? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
Then Peter answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men. God raised up Jesus, whom you crucified. God has exalted Him to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to kill them. The short version of this story is: When the high priest and the Council heard the truth from God through the apostles, they were so mad they wanted to kill them.
Earlier, in Acts 2, is the story of Pentecost, when Peter and the Apostles preached the Gospel of Salvation to the Jews who were gathered in Jerusalem for Passover, from all over the world, and everyone heard the message in his own language. It was the same message: that Jesus had been crucified by the Jews (by the people who were listening), and God raised Him from the dead, so that He is Lord and Savior; and again on this occasion, it says “they were ‘cut to the heart’, and they said to Peter and the apostles, “Men and Brothers, what shall we do?” and that day 3,000 people were saved. Their hearts were changed.
Why was there so much difference in the reaction between the Jewish High Council on the one hand, and the multitudes in the street on the other? They both heard the same message, and they were both “cut to the heart”. Interesting, strange, that the translators would use the same expression ‘cut to the heart’ to express rage on the one hand, and sorrow on the other. Both were spiritual, emotional, intense reactions; both deeply touched; the bad guys got mad; the humble, surrendered guys were deeply touched by guilt and regret for their sins.
The message was, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you’ll be saved. Verse 39 says, “For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Many hear the message; but some just don’t ‘get it’.