Study Guide

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

This Is Where it Gets Real (Estate)

  • There's this one guy, though—Ananias—who sells some property in order to pass along the proceeds to his fellow Christians.
  • His wife, Sapphira, knows about it, but they agree between themselves that, while they will give money to the apostles, they won't give all of it. Oh, this plan is not gonna work out well.
  • Ananias comes to bring the money and Peter instantly knows that the community is being short-changed. Peter's second calling might have been accounting.
  • Peter calls Ananias out as a liar and Ananias falls down dead right in front of him. Whoa. Peter doesn't mess around.
  • Later, Sapphira stops by to check in and Peter accuses her of being not so great at sharing either. She drops dead, too.
  • The moral of the story: don't lie to God about your real estate transactions.

In And Out Of Prison

  • The apostles still keep performing all kinds of awesome miracles. They even go to the temple and manage to win some more believers.
  • They also heal the sick and everyone gets cured. Miracles all around!
  • Naturally, the high priest does not like this at all. Good deeds make him really mad.
  • He and the other religious authorities have the apostles arrested.
  • But as luck would have it, an angel of the Lord sneaks into prison during the night and unlocks their jail cell. It's a prison break!
  • The angel tells them to head up to the temple and keep on preaching on.
  • The next day, when the religious authorities find out that these guys have broken out of their cell and are preaching in the temple, they are not pleased.
  • They have the apostles re-arrested and then start questioning them.
  • The religious authorities are wondering why in the heck the apostles are talking about Jesus when they've been expressly forbidden from doing just that. These guys are pretty clueless.
  • The apostles tell them that they have to listen to God, not ordinary humans. (Ordinary humans who killed Jesus, we might add.)
  • After all, the apostles know about all the amazing things God is trying to do through Jesus. You think they can just shut up about it?
  • The definitely cannot.
    At this point, the religious authorities pretty much want the apostles to go the way of Jesus.

This Christian Thing Isn't Really Going Anywhere, Right?

  • One of the Pharisees (his name is Gamaliel) stands up and tries to reason with everyone.
  • Look, he says, these so-called prophets come along all the time. Remember Theudas? He had a whole bunch of followers, but when he died they disappeared. Same thing with Judas the Galilean. You can bet the followers of Jesus are gonna die out soon, too. Oh, Gamaliel, if you only knew.
  • Gamaliel tells them not to worry. If they're just a bunch of schmucks running around preaching a false message, it'll all fall apart on its own. But if, just by chance, they are following God himself, then it would probably be best not to mess with them. Smart move.
  • The religious authorities seem okay with this. They have the apostles flogged and then release them and tell them not to talk about Jesus any more. Really guys?
  • As soon as they leave, the apostles all start celebrating because they got to suffer for Jesus.
  • And they also head right back to the temple and start talking up Jesus again. Apostles don't quit, man.

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