By agreement the believers met together daily in the Temple. They had their meals from house to house, eating their food with gladness and simple-heartedness, praising God and having the good-will of all the people. Day by day God added many to the number of the saved.
One day Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. A man who had been lame from birth, and who was placed daily at what was called the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, was being carried there to beg from the people who went in. When he saw that Peter and John were about to go in, he asked them to give him something. But Peter fixed his eyes on him, and John did also, and said, "Look at us." And the man looked attentively, expecting to receive somethi from them. Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!" And he took him by the right hand and raised him up. And immediately his feet and his ankles received strength and he leaped up, stood on his feet, walked about and went with them into the Temple, walking, and leaping and praising God.
When the people who saw him walking about and praising God knew that he was the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him; and as he still kept close to Peter and John, the astonished crowd rushed to them in what was called Solomon's Porch.
Then Peter said to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this? Or why do you stare at us as though we had made him walk by some power or goodness of our own? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has honored Jesus his servant, whom you delivered up and denied before Pilate when he had decided to let him go. But you denied the Holy and Just One and asked that a murderer be set free and put to death the One who brings life to men! But God brought him back from the dead, as we bear witness. Jesus, through faith in his name, has given strength to this man whom you see and know. Yes, it is faith in him that has made this man perfectly well in the presence of you all.
And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. Turn then to God and live right lives that your sins may be forgiven, so that God may send you strength. After raising his Servant from the grave, God sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wickedness.
While they were speaking to the people, they were interrupted by the priests, the officer in charge of the Temple, and the Sadducees, who were angry because they were teaching the people and telling how Jesus rose from the dead. They arrested the apostles and, as it was already evening, put them in prison until the following day.
The next morning a meeting of their rulers, elders and scribes was held in Jerusalem at which the high priest Annas, and Caiaphas, John, Alexander and all the members of the high priest's family were present. They made the apostles stand before them and inquired, "By whose power and in whose name have you done this?"
Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we are being examined this day for a good deed done to a lame man, to find out how he was healed, you and all the people of Israel should know that this man stands before you completely cured through the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead. He is the stone despised by you builders that has become the chief corner-stone. And salvation comes by none other, for there is no other name under heaven revealed among men through which we can be saved."
When they saw how bold Peter and John were and found out that they were uneducated and ignorant men, they were astonished but they remembered that they had been with Jesus. Ordering them to go out from the council, they said among themselves, "What are we to do with these men? All the people who live in Jerusalem know that a wonderful miracle has been done by them, and we cannot deny it. But to keep this thing from spreading any farther among the people let us stop them by threats from speaking in the future to any one in the name of Jesus." So they called them and ordered them not to teach nor speak a word in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Decide for yourselves whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God; for we cannot give up speaking of what we have seen and heard."
Seeing the man who had been healed standing beside them, the rulers could say nothing. So, after further threatening them, they let them go, being unable to find any reason for punishing them on account of the people, for they were all praising God for what had been done.NEXT STORY: THE GENEROSITY OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS