Ananias and Sapphira
1A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, also sold some land. 2He kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew he had kept it. He brought the rest of it and put it down at the apostles' feet.
3Then Peter said, "Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart? He made you lie to the Holy Spirit. You have kept some of the money you received for the land. 4Didn't the land belong to you before it was sold? After it was sold, you could have used the money as you wished. What made you think of doing such a thing? You haven't lied to just anyone. You've lied to God."
5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. All who heard what had happened were filled with fear. 6Some young men came and wrapped up his body. They carried him out and buried him.
7About three hours later, the wife of Ananias came in. She didn't know what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me. Is this the price you and Ananias sold the land for?"
"Yes," she said. "That's the price."
9Peter asked her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! You can hear the steps of the men who buried your husband. They are at the door. They will carry you out also."
10At that very moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in. They saw that Sapphira was dead. So they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11The whole church and all who heard about these things were filled with fear.
The Apostles Heal Many People
12The apostles did many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. All the believers used to meet together at Solomon's Porch. 13No outsider dared to join them. But the people thought highly of them. 14More and more men and women believed in the Lord. They joined the other believers. 15So people brought those who were sick into the streets. They placed them on beds and mats. They hoped that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he walked by. 16Crowds even gathered from the towns around Jerusalem. They brought their sick. They also brought those who were suffering because of evil spirits. All of them were healed.
An Angel Opens the Prison Doors
17The high priest and all his companions were Sadducees. They were very jealous of the apostles. 18So they arrested them and put them in the public prison. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord came. He opened the prison doors and brought the apostles out. 20"Go! Stand in the temple courtyard," the angel said. "Tell the people all about this new life."
21Early the next day they did as they had been told. They entered the temple courtyard. There they began to teach the people.
The high priest and his companions arrived. They called the Sanhedrin together. The Sanhedrin was a gathering of all the elders of Israel. They sent for the apostles who were in prison. 22The officers arrived at the prison. But they didn't find the apostles there. So they went back and reported it. 23"We found the prison locked up tight," they said. "The guards were standing at the doors. But when we opened the doors, we didn't find anyone inside." 24When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this report, they were bewildered. They wondered what would happen next.
25Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courtyard. They are teaching the people." 26So the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles back. But they didn't use force. They were afraid the people would kill them by throwing stones at them.
27They brought the apostles to be judged by the Sanhedrin. The high priest questioned them. 28"We gave you clear orders not to teach in Jesus' name," he said. "But you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching. You want to make us guilty of this man's death."
29Peter and the other apostles replied, "We must obey God instead of people! 30You had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. But the God of our people raised Jesus from the dead. 31Now Jesus is Prince and Savior. God has proved this by giving him a place of honor at his own right hand. He did it so that he could turn Israel away from their sins and forgive them. 32We are witnesses of these things. And so is the Holy Spirit. God has given the Spirit to those who obey him."
33When the leaders heard this, they became very angry. They wanted to put the apostles to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up in the Sanhedrin. He was a teacher of the law. He was honored by all the people. He ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while. 35Then he spoke to the Sanhedrin. "Men of Israel," he said, "think carefully about what you plan to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared. He claimed he was really somebody. About 400 people followed him. But he was killed. All his followers were scattered. So they accomplished nothing. 37After this, Judas from Galilee came along. This was in the days when the Romans made a list of all the people. Judas led a gang of men against the Romans. He too was killed. All his followers were scattered. 38So let me give you some advice. Leave these men alone! Let them go! If their plans and actions are only human, they will fail. 39But if their plans come from God, you won't be able to stop these men. You will only find yourselves fighting against God."
40His speech won the leaders over. They called the apostles in and had them whipped. The leaders ordered them not to speak in Jesus' name. Then they let the apostles go.
41The apostles were full of joy as they left the Sanhedrin. They considered it an honor to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. 42Day after day, they kept teaching in the temple courtyards and from house to house. They never stopped telling the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
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