1. There was also a man called Ananias. He and his wife, Sapphira, agreed to sell a property;
2. but with his wife's connivance he kept back part of the price and brought the rest and presented it to the apostles.
3. Peter said, 'Ananias, how can Satan have so possessed you that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land?
4. While you still owned the land, wasn't it yours to keep, and after you had sold it wasn't the money yours to do with as you liked? What put this scheme into your mind? You have been lying not to men, but to God.'
5. When he heard this Ananias fell down dead. And a great fear came upon everyone present.
6. The younger men got up, wrapped up the body, carried it out and buried it.
7. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had taken place.
8. Peter challenged her, 'Tell me, was this the price you sold the land for?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that was the price.'
9. Peter then said, 'Why did you and your husband agree to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Listen! At the door are the footsteps of those who have buried your husband; they will carry you out, too.'
10. Instantly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in they found she was dead, and they carried her out and buried her by the side of her husband.
11. And a great fear came upon the whole church and on all who heard it.
12. The apostles worked many signs and miracles among the people. One in heart, they all used to meet in the Portico of Solomon.
13. No one else dared to join them, but the people were loud in their praise
14. and the numbers of men and women who came to believe in the Lord increased steadily. Many signs and wonders were worked among the people at the hands of the apostles
15. so that the sick were even taken out into the streets and laid on beds and sleeping-mats in the hope that at least the shadow of Peter might fall across some of them as he went past.
16. People even came crowding in from the towns round about Jerusalem, bringing with them their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and all of them were cured.
17. Then the high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Filled with jealousy,
18. they arrested the apostles and had them put in the public gaol.
19. But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out,
20. 'Go and take up position in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.'
21. They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach. When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin -- this was the full Senate of Israel -- and sent to the gaol for them to be brought.
22. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported,
23. 'We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.'
24. When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what could be happening.
25. Then a man arrived with fresh news. 'Look!' he said, 'the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.'
26. The captain went with his men and fetched them -- though not by force, for they were afraid that the people might stone them.
27. When they had brought them in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation.
28. 'We gave you a strong warning', he said, 'not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt for this man's death on us.'
29. In reply Peter and the apostles said, 'Obedience to God comes before obedience to men;
30. it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, whom you executed by hanging on a tree.
31. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and Saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel.
32. We are witnesses to this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.'
33. This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.
34. One member of the Sanhedrin, however, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the men taken outside for a time.
35. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, 'Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people.
36. Some time ago there arose Theudas. He claimed to be someone important, and collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them.
37. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he was killed too, and all his followers dispersed.
38. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord;
39. but if it does in fact come from God you will be unable to destroy them. Take care not to find yourselves fighting against God.' His advice was accepted;
40. and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them.
41. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
42. Every day they went on ceaselessly teaching and proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus, both in the temple and in private houses.