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Acts 4

The priests put Peter and John in prison

1 Peter and John were still speaking to the crowd in the yard of God's Great House. Then some priests, the leader of the police in God's Great House 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 became 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 took them and put them in the 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 5000 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:

“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.” ’

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

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 had had weak legs stood there in front of the Jewish leaders. They could see that now his legs were strong. So they could not say anything against Peter and John. 15 They told Peter and John to go out of the room where their leaders' group was 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 very special thing for that man. So we cannot say that they did not do it. 17 But we want to stop more people from joining their group. 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 men in the Sanhedrin had asked Pilate to kill Jesus for them. Now they were afraid of the people. They 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 leader, ‘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,

“People from other countries were very angry.

People decided to do things that would never happen.

Why did they do that?

26 The kings of the world prepared to fight.

The rulers of many countries met together.

They wanted to fight against the Lord God.

They wanted to fight against his Messiah.”

27 Lord God, it has now happened like that. Herod and Pontius Pilate have met together here in Jerusalem with other people who are not Jews. They also met with the people of Israel who were here. Together they spoke against your special 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 clearly. 30 Show people that you are strong. Cause sick people to become well. Do other powerful things that show you are really God. It is the authority of your special servant Jesus that will make these things happen.’

31 The believers finished praying. The house where they were meeting together moved about. 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 one another

32 All the believers agreed completely with each other about how they should live. They wanted to help one another. Anything that belonged to someone, nobody said it was only their own thing. 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 really saw that happen.’ God was very kind to all the believers and he helped them in many ways. 34 They all 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 God's Great House, where they worked for the priests. We can read about them in Numbers 3:5-13.