But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,
and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet.
But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
"While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'
And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.
The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.
Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
And Peter responded to her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?' And she said, "Yes, that was the price.'
Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.'
And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.
At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico.
But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem.
And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,
to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.
Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy.
They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,
"Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.'
Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought.
But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back,
saying, "We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.'
Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this.
But someone came and reported to them, "The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!'
Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).
When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,
saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.'
But Peter and the apostles answered, " We must obey God rather than men.
" The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.
" He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
"And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.'
But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.
But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.
And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men.
"For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
"After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.
"So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;
but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.'
They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.
So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.
And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. 6
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
"Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
"But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.'
The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.
The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.
But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.
Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.'
And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.
They put forward false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;
for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.'
And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel. 7