Ananias and Sapphira
A husband and wife Ananias and Sapphira sold their property and were supposed to give all of the money to the group. But instead they put a little bit of the money away for themselves and only gave part of it to the group. Peter asks Ananias why Satan has filled his heart with lies. He says Ananias did not lie to men, but to God. Ananias died on the spot. He was buried shortly thereafter and Sapphira was brought in. She was asked if they had set this money aside for themselves and she said yes. Then he asked why the two of them wanted to test the spirit of the lord. She then also died.
Wow! So I have 2 possible interpretations of their crime.
1. They kept money from the collective
2. They lied to the collective
The actual crime was that they kept money for themselves but Peter specifically made the point that he was upset that they were lying. So, which of these crimes is worth the death penalty? These are the actions of a tyrant, not an all loving God.
It's funny, I was thinking the other day that my overview for John was pretty short. I thought that maybe I wasn't putting enough stuff in it, I should be summarizing the good and bad a little bit more. But I think the reason I want to not chronicle every single minor transgression is so when truly horrible things like this show up, they aren't washed out by a ton of little things.
Many Signs and Wonders Done
Many signs and wonders were done by the apostles. They gathered at Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them but they held them in high esteem.
I'm not sure I completely follow this. I think it is saying the average person was in awe of the apostles but very afraid of them too. What does it say about a religion if it inspires such a high level of fear?
Believers were added every day, they even brought their sick into the street so that at least the shadow of Peter would fall on them. All of these people were healed.
So the people around are believers, they want their sick to be healed, but they are terrified of the people in the group. This sounds to me like the way people would react to a powerful evil force. They need something but are scared of the consequences. Oh I know, it's like if you lived in a bad neighborhood and the mob was nearby. You know they could help you out, and you might seek that help, but you know the price is high so you would be afraid.
The Apostles Arrested and Freed
The high priests were jealous of the Apostles so they arrested them. But during the night an angel came down and released them and told them to go spread the word of God at the temple. So they did at daybreak. When the chief priests saw that the jail was empty and found the apostles teaching at the temple, they were upset and went and got them and put them before the council. The apostles said they must listen to God, not man. The chief priests did not want to go against God so they let the apostles go but told them not to teach anymore. They taught anyway and there was nothing the chief priests could do.
This whole story seems pretty fishy to me. It is all about how useless the council is. But it makes no sense. If they were so afraid to punish those guys why pick them up in the first place and wind up looking even more foolish?