Acts 4

The priests put Peter and John in prison

1 Peter and John were still speaking to the crowd in the yard of the temple. Then some priests, the leader of the police in the temple and some Sadducees came to them. 2 They were angry because of the things that Peter and John were teaching the people there. They were teaching that Jesus had become alive again after his death. The Jewish leaders did not agree that dead people could become alive again. 3 So they took hold of Peter and John. They put them in prison, because by then it was evening time. They put them in the prison until the next day. 4 But many of the people who had heard Peter's message believed what he said. There were now about 5,000 men who believed in Jesus.

The Jewish leaders ask Peter and John questions

5 The next day, the Jewish rulers and other important Jews met together in Jerusalem. The teachers of God's Law met together with them. 6 They met with Annas who was the most important priest. Caiaphas, John and Alexander were also there. Other men from the family of the most important priest were with them too. 7 The Jewish leaders made Peter and John stand in front of them. They began to ask them questions. They said, ‘How did you cause that man's legs to become strong? Who gave you the power and the authority to do it?’

8 Then Peter became full with the Holy Spirit and he said to them, ‘All you men are rulers of the people and important Jews. 9 Today you are asking us questions about the good thing that we did for this man. Before that, he could not walk. You are asking us how we caused his legs to become strong. 10 Now I need to tell you and all the people of Israel what is true. Then you will know how this happened. This man is standing here in front of you and he is well. His legs are strong because of Jesus Christ of Nazareth and his authority. You fixed Jesus to a cross so that he died. But after that, God caused him to become alive again. 11 The Bible says this about him:

4:11We can read this in Psalm 118:22. The prophet was saying that the Messiah would be like a special stone that makes a building strong. When the Jewish leaders refused Jesus, they were like the builders.

“The builders refused to use a certain stone. They thought that it had no value.

But now that stone has become the most important stone at the corner of the building.” ’

12 Then Peter said, ‘Only Jesus can save people. There has never been another person in the world that could do this. God has not given any other man the authority to save us.’

13 The Jewish leaders saw that Peter and John were not afraid of them. They also knew that they were not special people. They had not been to any school. So the leaders were very surprised about how Peter and John spoke. They understood that Peter and John had been friends with Jesus.

4:13The teachers of God's Law went to special schools. At these schools, they learned how to teach the people about God. Peter and John had never been to one of these schools. But they knew how to teach the people about God.

14 The man who was now well stood in front of the Jewish leaders. They could see that his legs had become strong again. So they could not say anything against Peter and John. 15 They told Peter and John to go out of the room where the leaders were meeting. Then they talked together to decide what they should do. 16 ‘What should we do with these men?’ they said. ‘Everyone who lives in Jerusalem knows about this miracle. They know that Peter and John did a great thing for that man. So we cannot say that they did not do it. 17 But we do not want any more people to know what has happened. So we must say to these men, “You must stop using the name of Jesus. You must stop teaching people about him.” ’

4:17The people in Jerusalem knew that Peter and John had done a good thing for the man. The Jewish leaders had asked Pilate to kill Jesus for them. Now the leaders were afraid that more people would believe in Jesus. Then those people might fight against them.

18 Then the Jewish leaders told Peter and John to come back into the room. They said to them, ‘You must not use the authority of Jesus to teach people any more. You must not speak about him.’ 19 Then Peter and John replied to the leaders, ‘What do you think God wants us to do? Should we obey you? Or should we obey God? You decide! 20 We know what is right. We must continue to speak about these things. We must tell people about the things that we have seen and heard.’

21 The Jewish leaders were angry. They told Peter and John that they must obey them. Then they let Peter and John go free. All the people there were praising God because of the miracle. So the leaders could not decide how to punish Peter and John. 22 The man who became well because of this miracle was more than 40 years old.

The group of believers pray to God

23 After the Jewish leaders let them go free, Peter and John went back to the group of believers. They told them what the leaders of the priests and the important Jews had said. 24 The believers listened to what Peter and John told them. Then they all prayed together. They said to God, ‘You are the Lord who rules over everything. You made the sky, the earth and the sea. You also made everything that is in them. 25 Our ancestor, King David, was your servant. You sent your Holy Spirit to him so that he spoke your message. You said through him,

4:25See Psalm 2:1-3.

“People of other nations were very angry.

They made plans to do useless things.

Why did they do that?

26 The kings and rulers of the world met together.

They decided to fight against the Lord God

and against his Messiah.”

27 Lord God, it has now happened like that. Herod and Pontius Pilate have met together here in Jerusalem. They met with Israelite people and with people of other nations. Together they made plans to kill your holy servant, Jesus. He is the one that you chose to be your Messiah. 28 But you are powerful. These men did only what you said would happen. You had already decided on these events. 29 Lord God, you know that the Jewish leaders want to punish Peter and John. We are your servants. Please help us not to be afraid. Help us to speak your message to people without fear. 30 Show people that you are strong. Cause sick people to become well. Do other powerful things to show that you are God. It is the authority of your holy servant Jesus that will make these things happen.’

31 The believers finished praying. The house where they were meeting together shook. God filled them all with his Holy Spirit. That made them very brave and they spoke God's message clearly to people.

The believers help each other

32 All the believers agreed completely with each other about how they should live. They wanted to help each other. Nobody kept anything only for themselves. They let the other believers use it. 33 The apostles continued to teach about the Lord Jesus. They spoke with great power. They told people, ‘After Jesus died, God caused him to live again. We saw that happen.’ God was very kind to all the believers and he helped them in many ways. 34 Everyone had as much as they needed. Some believers had land or houses, which belonged to them. They sold those things and then they took the money to the apostles. 35 Then the apostles gave the money to any of the believers who needed it.

36 One of the believers was called Joseph. He was from the family of Levi. He was from the island called Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas because he liked to help people. 37 Joseph sold a field that belonged to him. He took the money from this and he gave it to the apostles. He wanted them to use the money to help other believers.

4:37The family of Levi were servants in the temple, where they worked for the priests. We can read about them in Numbers 3:5-13.