A man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold some property.
They agreed to hold back some of the money [they had pledged] and turned only part of it over to the apostles.
Peter asked, "Ananias, why did you let Satan fill you with the idea that you could deceive the Holy Spirit? You've held back some of the money you received for the land.
While you had the land, it was your own. After it was sold, you could have done as you pleased with the money. So how could you do a thing like this? You didn't lie to people but to God!"
When Ananias heard Peter say this, he dropped dead. Everyone who heard about his death was terrified.
Some young men got up, wrapped his body in a sheet, carried him outside, and buried him.
About three hours later Ananias' wife arrived. She didn't know what had happened.
So Peter asked her, "Tell me, did you sell the land for that price?" She answered, "Yes, that was the price."
Then Peter said to her, "How could you and your husband agree to test the Lord's Spirit? Those who buried your husband are standing at the door, and they will carry you outside for burial."
Immediately, she dropped dead in front of Peter. When the young men came back, they found Sapphira dead. So they carried her outside and buried her next to her husband.
The whole church and everyone else who heard about what had happened were terrified.
The people saw the apostles perform many miracles and do amazing things. The believers had a common faith in Jesus as they met on Solomon's Porch.
None of the other people dared to join them, although everyone spoke highly of them.
More men and women than ever began to believe in the Lord.
As a result, people carried their sick into the streets. They placed them on stretchers and cots so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some sick people as he went by.
Crowds from the cities around Jerusalem would gather. They would bring their sick and those who were troubled by evil spirits, and each person was cured.
The chief priest and the whole party of the Sadducees who were with him were extremely jealous. So they took action
by arresting the apostles and putting them in the city jail.
But at night an angel from the Lord opened the doors to their cell and led them out of the prison.
The angel told them, "Stand in the temple courtyard, and tell the people everything about life [in Christ]."
Early in the morning, after they had listened to the angel, the apostles went into the temple courtyard and began to teach. The chief priest and those who were with him called together the Jewish council, that is, all the leaders of Israel. They also sent men to the prison to get the apostles.
When the temple guards arrived at the prison, they didn't find the apostles. The guards came back and reported,
"We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors. However, when we opened the doors, we found no one inside."
When the officer of the temple guards and the chief priests heard this, they were puzzled about what could have happened.
Then someone told them, "The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courtyard. They're teaching the people."
Then the officer of the temple guards went with some of his men to bring back the apostles without using force. After all, the officer and his guards were afraid that the people would stone them to death for using force.
When they brought back the apostles, they made them stand in front of the council. The chief priest questioned them.
He said, "We gave you strict orders not to mention Jesus' name when you teach. Yet, you've filled Jerusalem with your teachings. You want to take revenge on us for putting that man to death."
Peter and the other apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than people.
You murdered Jesus by hanging him on a cross. But the God of our ancestors brought him back to life.
God used his power to give Jesus the highest position as leader and savior. He did this to lead the people of Israel to him, to change the way they think and act, and to forgive their sins.
We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
When the men on the council heard this, they became furious and wanted to execute the apostles.
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel stood up. He was a highly respected expert in Moses' Teachings. He ordered that the apostles should be taken outside for a little while.
Then he said to the council, "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you do with these men.
Some time ago Theudas appeared. He claimed that he was important, and about four hundred men joined him. He was killed, and all his followers were scattered. The whole movement was a failure.
"After that man, at the time of the census, Judas from Galilee appeared and led people in a revolt. He, too, died, and all his followers were scattered.
"We should keep away from these men for now. We should leave them alone. I can guarantee that if the plan they put into action is of human origin, it will fail.
However, if it's from God, you won't be able to stop them. You may even discover that you're fighting against God."
The council took his advice. They called the apostles, beat them, ordered them not to speak about the one named Jesus, and let them go.
The apostles left the council room. They were happy to have been considered worthy to suffer dishonor for speaking about Jesus.
Every day in the temple courtyard and from house to house, they refused to stop teaching and telling the Good News that Jesus is the Messiah.