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Acts  ◦   Chapter 4

1The church leaders, pastors and priests, along with security guards and the theologians of the Sadducee sect, came to where Peter and John were speaking to the people.2They were very angry because Peter and John were teaching the truth about Jesus and the resurrection of the dead.3They arrested Peter and John, and because it was already evening, they put them in jail overnight.4But many who heard what Peter said believed it, and the number of those who accepted the Remedy grew to about five thousand.

5The next day, the church leaders, administrators, board of elders, legal-teaching theologians and law professors met in Jerusalem.6The high priest Annas was there, as was Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other men of the high priest's family.7They had Peter and John stand before them, and interrogated them: "Who authorized you to speak in the temple? By what right do you do this?"

8Then Peter, with his mind filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and leaders of Israel!9If we are here to answer for an act of kindness done to a lame man and are asked how he was healed,10then you and all of Israel should know: It is by the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth-the one you rejected and crucified but, whom God raised from the dead-that this man was healed and now stands on his own two feet before you.11It‘s about Jesus that the Scripture says, 'The stone that you, who are in charge of building up God's people, have rejected has become the foundation stone of life itself.'

12"Eternal healing is found in no one else, for there is no other Remedy in the entire universe provided for humanity by which we must be healed."

13When they saw the confidence and courage with which Peter and John spoke — and recalled that they were not seminary-trained but average church members — they were shocked, and then remembered that the two had been educated by Jesus.14But since the healed man was standing right before them, there was nothing they could say to refute them.15So they ordered them out of the courtroom and then plotted together.16They asked each other, "How are we going to undermine the influence of these men? Everyone in Jerusalem knows about the incredible miracle they have done, and we can't simply deny it.17But we must stop this message about Jesus from spreading any further. We have to threaten them to never speak or teach in Jesus' name again."

18So they called them back in and commanded them, by their authority as church leaders, to never speak or teach in the name of Jesus again.19But Peter and John were not intimidated but boldly said, "You will have to decide for yourselves: what do you think is right for us to do — what you say or what God says?20But as for us, we will put God first and will not stop telling the truth of what we have seen and heard."

21They threatened them some more, but then released them. They could not figure out a way to punish them that wouldn’t cause more problems, because the people were praising God for what had happened,22as the healed man had been crippled for over forty years.

23After being released, Peter and John returned to their team of believers and retold everything that the church leaders, priests and theologians had said to them.24When they heard the report, the believers joined together to talk to God. They said, "Designer, Creator and Sustainer of heaven, earth and the sea, and all that is in them:25by the Holy Spirit you spoke to us through your servant, our father David, 'Why are the nations of this selfish world angry at my character of love? Why do their people plot in vain against my design?26The kings of the selfish world take their stand; they gathered together with self-promoting rulers to oppose the Lord of life and his chosen Remedy.'

27"Yes, Herod and Pontius Pilate did meet together, along with foreigners and even the leaders of Israel, right here in this city, to plot against your holy Son Jesus, the One you designated to be our Remedy.28And they did exactly what you knew they would do: abuse the freedom you predetermined to give them.29So now, dear Lord, make note of their threats and overrule their opposition, and enable us, your agents, to speak the truth with clarity and distribute the Remedy with boldness.30Pour forth your life-giving power to heal and perform miracles, signs and wonders in harmony with the character of your holy Son Jesus."

31As the prayer ended, the building in which they met shook, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit; and they went forth and spread the Remedy of God confidently and effectively.

32All those who had partaken of the Remedy and trusted Jesus were united in love, sharing a common purpose. No one thought selfishly or claimed possessions for self, but with love for others shared everything they had.33With great power and effectiveness, the ambassadors of Christ continued to spread the Remedy and testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and the loveliness of Jesus emanated from them all.34There wasn't one person among them who was in need, for when necessary, those who owned land or houses sold them35and gave the money from the sales to the Lord's ambassadors, and it was distributed to anyone as need arose.

36A Levite from Cyprus, named Joseph — whom the Lord’s ambassadors called Barnabas, which means Encourager — 37sold a strip of land and gave the money to the Lord's ambassadors.