Acts  ◦   Chapter 5

1A man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, agreed to sell a piece of property and give the entire amount to the Lord's cause.2When the Lord blessed it and the property sold for more than expected, Ananias, with the full consent of his wife, kept back the unexpected extra and turned in only what the property was thought to be worth. As he lay the offering at Peter's feet,3Peter said, "Ananias, why did you choose to side with Satan and fill your heart with greed? You lied to the Holy Spirit and chose to keep some of the money you received for the land.4Wasn't the land yours before you sold it? You didn't have to promise to give all the money from the sale. Were you not free to promise only a portion? Why would you promise it all and then hold a portion back? You haven't lied to finite humans; you have lied to God."

5When Ananias was confronted with the truth, it shocked him, and he fell down and died. All who heard what happened were overcome with fear.6The young men came right in, wrapped up the body, carried it out, and buried it.

7Three hours later, Sapphira, Ananias' wife came in, but she didn't know what had happened to her husband.8Peter asked her, "Is this the entire price you and Ananias received from the sale of the land?" "Yes, that's the full price," Sapphira answered.

9Peter confronted her with the truth: "What were you and your husband thinking, lying to God? A few hours ago your husband, when confronted with the truth of what you have done, died. The men who buried him are coming through the door, and they will carry you out and bury you also."

10When she heard this, it shocked her, and she fell down and died. Then the young men came in, and finding she was dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.11The entire congregation and all who heard about this were gripped with fear.

12Many miracles and wonderful signs were performed among the people through the Lord's ambassadors. All those who partook of the Remedy met regularly at Solomon's Colonnade.13Though they were highly respected by the people, no one who refused the Remedy dared to join them.14Yet every day, others who trusted Jesus partook of the Remedy and joined them.15Because of what was happening, people began lining the streets with the sick, positioning them on cots or mats so that when Peter walked by, his shadow might fall on some of them.16Masses of people from all over the country came to Jerusalem; they brought those who were sick or afflicted by an evil spirit, and everyone was healed.

17The high priest and his leadership team, who were all members of the Sadducee theological society, were burning with jealousy,18so they arrested the Lord's ambassadors and put them in the community jail.19But the Lord's angel came during the night and opened the door of the jail and led them out.20The angel told them, "Go back to the temple, stand in the courts, and teach the people the truth about this life-about their terminal state, the need for the Remedy provided by Christ, and the gift of eternal life."

21They entered the temple courts at dawn, just as they were instructed, and began to teach the people. When the high priest and his leadership team arrived, they called an immediate meeting of the High Court, the senior pastors, priests, lawyers and theologians of Israel, and then ordered that the Lord's ambassadors be brought from the jail.22But when the officials arrived at the jail, they found the Lord's ambassadors were not there, so they went back and reported:23"We found the jail locked up tight and the guards alert, manning their posts; but when we opened the doors, no one was inside."24The senior leadership team and captain of the temple guard were confused when they heard this, and wondered what would happen next.

25Suddenly, someone ran in and said, "Come and look! The men you put in jail last night are standing in the temple court teaching the people!"26Upon hearing this, the captain of the guard went with his officers and got the Lord's ambassadors. They didn't force them, because they were afraid the people would riot and stone them.

27The guard stood them before the High Court where they were questioned by the high priest.28He told them, "We gave you explicit orders not to teach in the name of the man you keep proclaiming. But your teachings have spread all over Jerusalem, and you want to blame us for this man's death."

29Peter and the other ambassadors boldly said, "You don't understand! Life only exists in harmony with God and his design, therefore we must harmonize with God and obey him, and not deviate from God's design by obeying the rules of men!30The God our fathers worshiped, the source of all life, raised Jesus from the dead-yes, the same Jesus you murdered by hanging him on a tree.31And God exalted him to rule the universe as Prince and Remedy in order to give a transformed character, and remission of sin and selfishness, to humanity.32We are witnesses to the reality of these things-we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to all those who follow his prescription."

33When the members of the High Court heard this, they were so outraged that they wanted to put them to death,34but Gamaliel, a theologian and lawyer of the Pharisee sect, who was well respected by everyone, stood up and ordered that the men be taken out while he spoke.35Then he addressed the rest of the members of the High Court: "Leaders of Israel! Don't be rash, but think carefully what you will do to these men.36Remember Theudas, who some time back claimed to be on a mission for God, and about four hundred men followed him? He was killed, his followers dispersed, and nothing came of it.37And after him, the year the census was taken, Judas the Galilean showed up, claiming to be on a mission for God, and led a mob in revolt. But he too was killed, and his followers dispersed.38So, I recommend we leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their ministry and mission are only of human origin, they will fail.39But if it is from God, there is nothing you can do to stop them; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

40The logic of his argument convinced them to follow his recommendations, so they had the Lord's ambassadors beaten, then ordered them to stop teaching, speaking, or promoting the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41The Lord's ambassadors left the High Court overjoyed that they were worthy to exalt the character of God through their suffering.42Every day, in the temple and in homes, they continued teaching the truth of what has transpired, and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Remedy.