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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Acts of the Apostles

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Frameworks: Acts 5


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. )


v.1-11 Ananias and Sapphira

v.12-16 The Apostles Heal Many

v.17-20 The Apostles Imprisoned & then released by an angel

v.21-25 Confusion over the absent apostles

v.26-33 The apostles before the Sanhedrin

v.34-42 Gamaliel intercedes for them and they are released


v.1-11 Ananias and Sapphira


v.1  Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

v.2  With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

v.3  Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?

v.4  Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

v.5  When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

v.6  Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

v.7  About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.

v.8  Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

v.9  Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

v.10  At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

v.11  Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.


[Passage Synopsis: The story of Ananias and Sapphira is a shocking one because we are not used to a God who disciplines His church in such a way. Yet in 1 Cor 11:29,30 the apostle Paul warned that some of them were dying because of their wrong attitudes and behaviour. Two comments need to be made here. First, as we noted in the previous chapter the people in the church were only selling some of their property and there was no expectation to sell all you had. The sin here was one of deception or lying, pretending to be more pious that they were. Second, these were the early days of the church where the presence of God was moving powerfully, perhaps in the measure that we see in ‘revivals' in history and in such times where God's activity is so obvious – see 2:41,43,47, 4:31,33 – it seems He holds His people to higher account. They were simply taken home to heaven prematurely and the church learned a strong lesson.]



v.12-16 The Apostles Heal Many


v.12  The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade.

v.13  No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.

v.14  Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.

v.15  As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

v.16  Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.


[Passage Synopsis: Again, in what we have just noted above, the power of the Lord is present and the apostles are performing signs and wonders. Although it seemed scary, more and more people were being saved and the church became known as the place where you brought your sick family to be healed.]



v.17-20 The Apostles Imprisoned & then released by an angel


v.17  Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.

v.18  They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.

v.19  But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.

v.20  “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”


[Passage Synopsis: The continuing public activity of the Lord took a variety of forms. In addition to what we have just been noting, now He sends an angel to release the apostles from prison when they were wrongly detained. Many of the temple authorities were of the party of the Sadducees and so that is probably where their authority came from to imprison the apostles.]



v.21-25 Confusion over the absent apostles


v.21  At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.

When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles.

v.22  But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported,

v.23  “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

v.24  On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.

v.25  Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.”


[Passage Synopsis: One cannot help but laughing at this very open account which really needs no further comment]



v.26-33 The apostles before the Sanhedrin


v.26  At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

v.27  The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.

v.28  “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.”

v.29  Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

v.30  The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.

v.31  God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.

v.32  We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

v.33  When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.


[Passage Synopsis: The high priest is obviously very clear about the intention of the preaching of the apostles, not only to exalt Jesus but to convict the Jews of the part they played in his death. The apostles respond boldly to the challenges against them.]



v.34-42 Gamaliel intercedes for them and they are released


v.34  But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honoured by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.

v.35  Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.

v.36  Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.

v.37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.

v.38  Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.

v.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

v.40  His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

v.41  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

v.42  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.


[Passage Synopsis: Gamaliel is a Pharisee (a different party from the priests) and he wisely speaks to defuse the situation: if this is of God, don't oppose Him, if it's not, it will fizzle out. Nevertheless the authorities have the apostles flogged but nothing deters the apostles from continuing their teaching day after day.]



Continue to chapter 6