Ananias and Sapphira 5 1But a man named Ananias—his wife, Sapphira, conniving in this with him—sold a piece of land, 2secretly kept part of the price for himself, and then brought the rest to the apostles and made an offering of it. 3Peter said, “Ananias, how did Satan get you to lie to the Holy Spirit and secretly keep back part of the price of the field? 4Before you sold it, it was all yours, and after you sold it, the money was yours to do with as you wished. So what got into you to pull a trick like this? You didn’t lie to men but to God.” 5Ananias, when he heard those words, fell down dead. That put the fear of God into everyone who heard of it. 6The younger men went right to work and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him. 7Not more than three hours later, his wife, knowing nothing of what had happened, came in. 8Peter said, “Tell me, were you given this price for your field?” “Yes,” she said, “that price.” 9Peter responded, “What’s going on here that you connived to conspire against the Spirit of the Master? The men who buried your husband are at the door, and you’re next.” 10No sooner were the words out of his mouth than she also fell down, dead. When the young men returned they found her body. They carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11By this time the whole church and, in fact, everyone who heard of these things had a healthy respect for God. They knew God was not to be trifled with. They All Met Regularly 12Through the work of the apostles, many God–signs were set up among the people, many wonderful things done. They all met regularly and in remarkable harmony on the Temple porch named after Solomon. 13But even though people admired them a lot, outsiders were wary about joining them. 14On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Master were added right and left, men and women both. 15They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on stretchers and bedrolls, hoping they would be touched by Peter’s shadow when he walked by. 16They came from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, throngs of them, bringing the sick and bedeviled. And they all were healed. To Obey God Rather than Men 17Provoked mightily by all this, the Chief Priest and those on his side, mainly the sect of Sadducees, went into action, 18arrested the apostles and put them in the town jail. 19But during the night an angel of God opened the jailhouse door and led them out. 20He said, “Go to the Temple and take your stand. Tell the people everything there is to say about this Life.” 21Promptly obedient, they entered the Temple at daybreak and went on with their teaching. Meanwhile, the Chief Priest and his cronies convened the High Council, Israel’s senate, and sent to the jail to have the prisoners brought in. 22When the police got there, they couldn’t find them anywhere in the jail. They went back and reported, 23“We found the jail locked tight as a drum and the guards posted at the doors, but when we went inside we didn’t find a soul.” 24The chief of the Temple police and the high priests were puzzled. “What’s going on here anyway?” 25Just then someone showed up and said, “Did you know that the men you put in jail are back in the Temple teaching the people?” 26The chief and his police went and got them, but they handled them gently, fearful that the people would riot and turn on them. 27Bringing them back, they stood them before the High Council. The Chief Priest said, 28“Didn’t we give you strict orders not to teach in Jesus’ name? And here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are trying your best to blame us for the death of this man.” 29Peter and the apostles answered, “It’s necessary to obey God rather than men. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. 32And we are witnesses to these things. The Holy Spirit, whom God gives to those who obey him, corroborates every detail.” 33When they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot. 34But one of the council members stood up, a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, a teacher of God’s Law who was honored by everyone. He ordered the men taken out of the room for a short time, 35then said, “Fellow Israelites, be careful what you do to these men. 36Not long ago Theudas made something of a splash, claiming to be somebody, and got about four hundred men to join him. He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it. 37A little later, at the time of the census, Judas the Galilean appeared and acquired a following. He also fizzled out and the people following him were scattered to the four winds. 38“So I am telling you: Hands off these men! Let them alone. If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, 39but if it is of God, there is nothing you can do about it—and you better not be found fighting against God!” 40That convinced them. They called the apostles back in. After giving them a thorough whipping, they warned them not to speak in Jesus’ name and sent them off. 41The apostles went out of the High Council overjoyed because they had been given the honor of being dishonored on account of the Name. 42Every day they were in the Temple and homes, teaching and preaching Christ Jesus, not letting up for a minute.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About