Acts 5

What happened to Ananias and Sapphira

1 But there was a man called Ananias among the group of believers. His wife was called Sapphira. Together they sold one of their fields. 2 Ananias gave part of the money that he received to the apostles. But he kept part of the money for himself. Sapphira knew all about what Ananias had done.

5:2Ananias gave his money to the apostles. And then they would give it to other believers who needed it. Ananias told the apostles that he had given them all the money. But this was not true. He had only given them part of it.

3 Peter said to Ananias, ‘Ananias, Satan wanted you to tell a lie and you have obeyed him. You have told a lie to the Holy Spirit. That is a bad thing to do! You sold your field, but you did not give us all the money. You kept part of it for yourselves. 4 Before you sold the field, it belonged to you. And after you sold the field, the money was yours. You could choose what to do with it. But you chose to do a very bad thing. You did not only tell a lie to us men. You have told a lie to God.’

5:3The Holy Spirit had told Peter what Ananias had done. Ananias did not need to tell him.

5 As soon as he heard Peter say this, Ananias fell down and he died. When people heard what had happened, they were all very afraid. 6 Some young men came into the room. They put cloths round Ananias' dead body and they carried it outside. Then they buried it.

7 About three hours later, Ananias' wife, Sapphira, came into the room. She did not know what had happened to her husband. 8 Peter asked Sapphira, ‘Was this all the money that you and your husband received for your field?’ ‘Yes,’ Sapphira answered. ‘That was all the money that we received.’

9 Peter said to her, ‘It was wrong for you and your husband to do this bad thing. You agreed together to tell a lie to the Holy Spirit of the Lord God. Listen! The men who have just buried your husband are at the door again now. They will carry your body out also.’

10 Immediately, Sapphira fell down in front of Peter and she died. Then the young men came into the room. They saw that Sapphira was dead. So they carried her outside and they buried her body next to her husband. 11 The whole group of believers, and many other people, heard about what had happened to Ananias and Sapphira. They were all very afraid.

The apostles do some powerful things for the people to see

12 At that time, the apostles were doing many miracles that showed God's power among the people. All the believers were often meeting together in the yard of God's Great House in a place called Solomon's Porch. 13 The other people who were not believers did not meet with the group. They were afraid to do that. But people respected the believers very much. 14 More and more people became believers and they joined the group. So now many men and women believed in the Lord Jesus.

15 As a result, people carried their sick friends into the streets and put them on beds and mats. They hoped that Peter would pass that way and make their sick friends well again. They just wanted Peter's shadow to touch them. 16 Many people also came into Jerusalem from the small towns near the city. They brought their sick friends with them. Some of those sick people had bad spirits that gave them trouble. God caused all these sick people to become well again.

5:15God's Holy Spirit caused the apostles to be powerful. They could cause sick people to become well again. In those days, people thought that shadows were powerful. And they thought that Peter's shadow would cause sick people to become well again.

The most important priest puts the apostles in prison

17 The most important priest and his friends, and also some of the Sadducees' group were upset because people liked the apostles so much. 18 These important men took hold of the apostles and they put them in the city's prison. 19 But during the night, one of the Lord God's angels came and he opened the prison gates. He led the apostles out of the prison. 20 The angel said to them, ‘Go and stand in the yard of God's Great House. Tell the people everything about this new life that God gives.’

21 The apostles did what the angel told them to do. At dawn they went into the yard of God's Great House. They began to teach the people there.

Then the most important priest and his friends arrived. They told the group of Jewish leaders to meet with them. All the most important people in Israel were in that group. Then they sent their police to the prison to bring the apostles to the meeting place. 22 But when the police arrived at the prison, they did not find the apostles there. So the police returned to the Jewish leaders and they told them the news. 23 They said, ‘We arrived at the prison. We saw that the soldiers had locked the gates. They were standing at the gates and they were watching carefully. But when we opened the gates of the prison, we did not find anybody there!’

5:23The soldiers at the gates of the prison did not know that the apostles were not inside.

24 The leader of the police of God's Great House and the leaders of the priests heard the news. They could not understand what had happened. They were afraid of what might happen next.

25 Then a man came to the leaders. He said to them, ‘Listen! Those men that you put in the prison are now standing in the yard of God's Great House. They are teaching the people there.’ 26 So, the leader of the police took his men with him to find the apostles. Then they took hold of the apostles to take them back. But they did not hurt them because they were afraid of the people. They thought that the people might be angry. They might throw stones at them to kill them.

27 The police brought the apostles into the meeting room. They made them stand in front of the group of Jewish leaders. The most important priest said to the apostles, 28 ‘We told you that you must not teach people any more with the authority of Jesus. But now look at what you have done! Now people all over Jerusalem have heard your teaching. You also want people to think that we are guilty for the death of Jesus.’

29 Peter and the other apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than obey people. 30 You fixed Jesus to a cross so that he died. But then the God of our ancestors caused him to become alive again. 31 God raised Jesus and he put him in the most important place at his right side. Jesus is now the one who leads us and the one who saves us. He has made a way for the people of Israel to turn back to God. He wants us to stop doing wrong things. Then God will forgive us for our sins. 32 We tell people about what happened to Jesus. We ourselves saw these things. Now God has given his Holy Spirit to people who obey him. The Holy Spirit also shows that these things are true.’

33 The group of Jewish leaders heard what the apostles said to them. They were so angry that they wanted to kill the apostles. 34 But one man did not agree. He was called Gamaliel and he was a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law. All the people agreed that he was a good man. Gamaliel stood up in front of the group of Jewish leaders. He told the police to take the apostles out of the room. 35 When they had gone, Gamaliel spoke to the group of leaders: ‘Men of Israel! Think carefully about what you want to do to these men. 36 Remember what happened to Theudas a few years ago. That man told everyone, “I am a very important leader.” As a result, about 400 men joined his group. But then somebody killed him, and all his men went away. Nobody heard any more about them. 37 Later, Judas from Galilee appeared at the time when the Romans were making a list of everyone's names. Many people also came to help him fight against the Romans. But somebody killed him. His men also ran away and nothing more happened.

5:37Judas from Galilee would not pay money to the Roman government. People joined Judas's group and they helped him. They fought the Roman soldiers. These people were called Zealots. This Judas was not the same man that Jesus chose to follow him.
5:37The Romans were counting the people when Jesus was born.

38 Now think about what is happening with these men. I tell you it would be better to leave them alone. Let them go free. If their message only comes from human ideas, all their work will fail. 39 But perhaps what they are doing really does come from God himself. If that is true, then you cannot stop them. You might even find that you are fighting against God!’

40 So, the Jewish leaders did what Gamaliel said. They told the apostles to come back into the room. They told the police to hit them with whips. Then they said to the apostles, ‘You must not use the authority of Jesus to teach the people.’ After that, they let the apostles go free.

5:40A whip was a stick with long pieces of strong material fastened at one end. Rulers used it to punish people who did not obey the law.

41 The apostles went away from the meeting of the Jewish leaders. They were very happy because they thought to themselves, ‘These leaders have done bad things to us because we obey Jesus. That shows that God accepts us as his people.’

42 Every day the apostles continued to teach people about Jesus. They spoke in people's homes and in the yard of God's Great House. All the time, they told people the good news that Jesus is God's Messiah.