1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”
9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.
16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,
18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,
20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported,
23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”
24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.
25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,
28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33 When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.
34 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35 And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.
36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
The chapter begins with a very dramatic story of misrepresentation and its consequences. This is contrasted throughout the rest of the chapter with what is demonstrated in a true representation of Christ’s message. Somehow, in the experience of day-to-day living there is a diminishing of perspective that ultimately we are either working together with, or in direct opposition with the Creator of the Universe, the very Giver of life. This is not some kind of game, where we can come up with our own version of what it means to live for Him. This isn’t about attempting to please men, gratify our own desires, and still pacify what seems to be a need for God. The message the disciples were put in jail for, the message that was bringing transformation to those who believed, was a message of complete consecration and dedication to a life of transparent repentance from self-perspectives to God ones.
Though living in a culture that is so far distant from then, there is a reality that has persisted from the garden to the present. Opposing our Father is something that may bring recognition, influence, and success for a period, but there will be a day of reconning for all who either directly oppose Him or suppose that they can misrepresent complete transformation into His image. The message of hope that will turn hearts in this day from the lies and direct threats of evil is not one of compromise and concession, but one of complete devotion to new life in Him, where the old is passed away completely, leaving only the new. It’s in this lived message that there is power that shows clearly who He is, validating and confirming a message that will be believed.