A man and his wife tried to trick the Holy Spirit
There was a man called Ananias, and his wife was called Safira. They sold some land too, but they kept some of the money for themselves. Ananias only gave some of it to Peter and to Jesus’s other special workers, for them to share it with the other Christians. Ananias lied to them. He said, “This is all the money we got for our land.” His wife knew what he was doing, and she agreed to it.
Then Peter said to him, “Ananias, why did you listen to Satan, the boss over the bad spirits? Why did you let him be your boss? He even got you to lie to the Holy Spirit. You kept some of that money for yourself, the money you got for that land. Look, that land was yours, and you didn’t have to sell it. But you sold it, and you got some money. Then you could do anything you liked with that money. You didn’t have to bring it to us. So why did you think you could trick us, and tell us that this little bit of money was all you got for that land? You lied to us. But you didn’t only lie to people, you lied to God too.”
5-6 As soon as Ananias heard Peter say that, he fell down and died. Then the young men there got up and wrapped up his body in cloth, then they took it out of the house and buried it. Later on, a lot of people heard about what happened, and they were frightened.
The wife of Ananias came into that house about 3 hours later, but she didn’t know that her husband was dead. Peter asked her, “Can you tell me, is this all the money that you and Ananias got for that land?”
She said, “Yes, that’s all the money.”
So Peter said to her, “Why did you and your husband agree with each other to try to trick the Holy Spirit? Listen. Your husband is dead, and the men that buried him are near the door right now, and they will carry you out too.”
10 Right then, Safira fell down and died in front of Peter. Then the young men came in, and they saw her dead, so they took her out and buried her next to her husband.
11 Then all the Christians were really frightened. And all the other people that heard about those things were really frightened too.
Jesus’s followers got Jesus to make a lot of people better
12 Jesus’s special workers kept on doing powerful things to show everyone that God is powerful. And all the Christians kept on meeting together in God’s ceremony house, in the part called Solomon’s veranda. 13 The people in that city thought the Christians were really good people, but most people were too frightened to join them. 14 But some people kept on listening, and then a lot of men and women started believing in Jesus, so they joined up with the Christians. 15 A lot of people saw Jesus’s special workers do powerful things, so they brought sick people and put them on swags on the roads. They thought, “Even if Peter doesn’t touch them, maybe his shadow will touch them as he walks past them, and that will make them better.” 16 Big mobs of people came to Jerusalem city from the towns near there, and they brought their sick people, and the people that had bad spirits in them too. And Jesus’s special workers made all of them better.
An angel messenger opened the jail doors
17 There were some people that didn’t believe that anyone will ever come alive again. They were called Sadducees. The big boss of the Jewish ceremonies was a Sadducee. He and all the other Sadducees were really jealous of Jesus’s special workers. 18 So those Sadducees got some soldiers to grab Jesus’s special workers, and lock them up in the jail. 19 But that night, God sent an angel messenger to Jesuss special workers, and he opened the jail doors and let them out. 20 That angel said to them, “Go and stand in God’s ceremony house, and tell all the people there everything about this new life that Jesus gives.”
21 So those men listened to that angel, and they went to God’s ceremony house very early in the morning, and they started teaching the people there.
At the same time, the big boss of the Jewish ceremonies and his friends, they called together all the men of the Jewish Leaders Council, for a meeting. Then they sent the soldiers to the jail to get Jesus’s special workers. 22 Those soldiers went to the jail, but they couldn’t find those men there. So they went back to the meeting, and they said, 23 We got to the jail, and the guards were standing there, near the locked doors. We opened the doors and went inside, but we couldn’t find anyone in there.”
24 The boss over the soldiers that guarded God’s ceremony house heard the soldiers say that, and so did the bosses of the Jewish ceremonies, but they didn’t understand. They thought, “How did those men get out? What will happen next?”
25 Then somebody came and said to them, “Listen, those men that you put in the jail are in the yard of God’s ceremony house. They are standing there teaching the people.” 26 So the boss over those soldiers went there with his men, and they got Jesus’s special workers. But they were not hard on them. They didn’t force them to come, they just asked them to come quietly. The soldiers didn’t want to hurt them. They were frightened, because they thought the people there might get angry and throw stones to try to kill them.
27 The soldiers brought Jesus’s special workers to the Jewish Leaders Council, to talk to them. Then the big boss of the Jewish ceremonies got angry with them and said, 28 We told you not to teach people about Jesus. But you didn’t listen to us. You told everyone in Jerusalem about him. You want people to think that we killed him. You are blaming us.”*
29 Peter stood there with Jesus’s other special workers, and he said, “We’ve got to listen to God and do whatever he says, and not listen to people. 30 You got men to kill Jesus by nailing him to a cross. But God made him alive again. We Jewish people respect God, and so did our grand-fathers that lived a long time ago. That same God made Jesus alive again. 31 And he gave Jesus the best place in heaven, right next to God himself, on his right-hand side, the place where the most important person sits. And God made Jesus our leader, the one that can save us. God did that so that all the Israel people can turn back to him, and they can stop doing bad things, and then he will not punish them. 32 We saw everything that Jesus did, so we tell everyone all about it. And God gave his Holy Spirit to the people that follow Jesus, and that Holy Spirit does powerful things, to show everyone that what we say is true.”
33 The Jewish council men heard Peter talking like that, and they were really angry. They wanted to kill Jesus’s special workers. 34 But one of them stood up in the meeting. His name was Gamaliyel. He was one of the Pharisee mob, that were strong for the Jewish law. All the people knew that he was a good man, and they respected him. Gamaliyel told the soldiers, “Take Jesus’s followers outside for a while.”
35 Then he said to the council men, “Listen, you Israel mob. We have to think carefully now. You want to kill those men, but listen to this. 36 A while ago there was a man called Thoodas. He wanted to fight the Roman government. He told everyone that he was great, and about 400 men listened to him and followed him to fight the Romans. But he died in that fight, and his followers all ran away. So in the end nothing happened. 37 After that, at the time when the Romans were counting our people, there was another man, called Judas. He was from Galilee country. He led a mob of men to fight the Romans, but the Romans killed him too, and chased all his followers away.
38 So I’m telling you now, don’t kill these followers of Jesus. Let them go. You see, if it was men that told them to do these things, and to tell people about Jesus, nothing will happen. 39 But if God told them to do these things, you can’t stop them. If you try to stop them, you might find yourselves fighting against God.”
The Jewish council men listened to Gamaliyel, and they agreed with him. 40 They called Jesus’s special workers back to the meeting, and they told the soldiers to hit them with whips. Then the council men told them, “Don’t ever teach people about Jesus again.” Then the council men let them go.
41 So Jesus’s special workers left that meeting, and they were very happy. They knew that God reckoned they were good enough to feel pain for Jesus, and to be shamed for following him, so they were happy, even though the soldiers hit them.
42 And Jesus’s followers kept on telling people the good news about him. They never stopped. Every day, they kept on teaching people in the yard of God’s ceremony house, and they also went to different people’s houses to teach them. They said, “Jesus is the Christ, the special man that God promised to send to save people.”
* 5:28 Matthew 27:25