Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 300

Bible text(s)

1Dear Theophilus:

In my first book I wrote about all the things that Jesus did and taught from the time he began his work 2until the day he was taken up to heaven. Before he was taken up, he gave instructions by the power of the Holy Spirit to the men he had chosen as his apostles. 3For forty days after his death he appeared to them many times in ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the Kingdom of God. 4And when they came together, he gave them this order: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift my Father promised. 5John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven

6When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

7Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. 8But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”

Judas' Successor

12Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about a kilometre away from the city. 13They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James. 14They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

15A few days later there was a meeting of the believers, about 120 in all, and Peter stood up to speak. 16“My fellow-believers,” he said, “the scripture had to come true in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, made a prediction about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17Judas was a member of our group, for he had been chosen to have a part in our work.”

18(With the money that Judas got for his evil act he bought a field, where he fell to his death; he burst open and all his bowels spilt out. 19All the people living in Jerusalem heard about it, and so in their own language they call that field Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood”.)

20“For it is written in the book of Psalms:

‘May his house become empty;

may no one live in it.’

It is also written:

‘May someone else take his place of service.’

21-22“So then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He must be one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus travelled about with us, beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven.”

23So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen 25to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs.” 26Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Matthias, who was added to the group of eleven apostles.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

5There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. 6When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers speaking in his or her own language. 7In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! 8How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? 9We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, 10from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, 11both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia — yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” 12Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”

13But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”

Peter's Message

14Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow-Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

17‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:

I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.

Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;

your young men will see visions,

and your old men will have dreams.

18Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will proclaim my message.

19I will perform miracles in the sky above

and wonders on the earth below.

There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;

20the sun will be darkened,

and the moon will turn red as blood,

before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.

21And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’

22“Listen to these words, fellow-Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you. 23In accordance with his own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him. 24But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner. 25For David said about him:

‘I saw the Lord before me at all times;

he is near me, and I will not be troubled.

26And so I am filled with gladness,

and my words are full of joy.

And I, mortal though I am,

will rest assured in hope,

27because you will not abandon me in the world of the dead;

you will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave.

28You have shown me the paths that lead to life,

and your presence will fill me with joy.’

29“My fellow-Israelites, I must speak to you plainly about our famous ancestor King David. He died and was buried, and his grave is here with us to this very day. 30He was a prophet, and he knew what God had promised him: God had made a vow that he would make one of David's descendants a king, just as David was. 31David saw what God was going to do in the future, and so he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah when he said:

‘He was not abandoned in the world of the dead;

his body did not rot in the grave.’

32God has raised this very Jesus from death, and we are all witnesses to this fact. 33He has been raised to the right-hand side of God, his Father, and has received from him the Holy Spirit, as he had promised. What you now see and hear is his gift that he has poured out on us. 34For it was not David who went up into heaven; rather he said:

‘The Lord said to my Lord:

Sit here at my right

35until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.’

36“All the people of Israel, then, are to know for sure that this Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one that God has made Lord and Messiah!”

37When the people heard this, they were deeply troubled and said to Peter and the other apostles, “What shall we do, brothers?”

38Peter said to them, “Each one of you must turn away from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. 39For God's promise was made to you and your children, and to all who are far away — all whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

40Peter made his appeal to them and with many other words he urged them, saying, “Save yourselves from the punishment coming on this wicked people!” 41Many of them believed his message and were baptized, and about 3,000 people were added to the group that day. 42They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers.

Life among the Believers

43Many miracles and wonders were being done through the apostles, and everyone was filled with awe. 44All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. 45They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. 46Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, 47praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

A Lame Man is Healed

1One day Peter and John went to the Temple at three o'clock in the afternoon, the hour for prayer. 2There at the Beautiful Gate, as it was called, was a man who had been lame all his life. Every day he was carried to the gate to beg for money from the people who were going into the Temple. 3When he saw Peter and John going in, he begged them to give him something. 4They looked straight at him, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5So he looked at them, expecting to get something from them. 6But Peter said to him, “I have no money at all, but I give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I order you to get up and walk!” 7Then he took him by his right hand and helped him up. At once the man's feet and ankles became strong; 8he jumped up, stood on his feet, and started walking around. Then he went into the Temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. 9The people there saw him walking and praising God, 10and when they recognized him as the beggar who had sat at the Beautiful Gate, they were all surprised and amazed at what had happened to him.

Peter's Message in the Temple

11As the man held on to Peter and John in Solomon's Porch, as it was called, the people were amazed and ran to them. 12When Peter saw the people, he said to them, “Fellow-Israelites, why are you surprised at this, and why do you stare at us? Do you think that it was by means of our own power or godliness that we made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, has given divine glory to his Servant Jesus. But you handed him over to the authorities, and you rejected him in Pilate's presence, even after Pilate had decided to set him free. 14He was holy and good, but you rejected him, and instead you asked Pilate to do you the favour of turning loose a murderer. 15You killed the one who leads to life, but God raised him from death — and we are witnesses to this. 16It was the power of his name that gave strength to this lame man. What you see and know was done by faith in his name; it was faith in Jesus that has made him well, as you can all see.

17“And now, my fellow-Israelites, I know that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was due to your ignorance. 18God announced long ago through all the prophets that his Messiah had to suffer; and he made it come true in this way. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins. If you do, 20times of spiritual strength will come from the Lord, and he will send Jesus, who is the Messiah he has already chosen for you. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for all things to be made new, as God announced through his holy prophets who lived long ago. 22For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will send you a prophet, just as he sent me, and he will be one of your own people. You are to obey everything that he tells you to do. 23Anyone who does not obey that prophet shall be separated from God's people and destroyed.’ 24And all the prophets who had a message, including Samuel and those who came after him, also announced what has been happening these days. 25The promises of God through his prophets are for you, and you share in the covenant which God made with your ancestors. As he said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants I will bless all the people on earth.’ 26And so God chose his Servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by making every one of you turn away from your wicked ways.”

Peter and John before the Council

1Peter and John were still speaking to the people when some priests, the officer in charge of the temple guards, and some Sadducees arrived. 2They were annoyed because the two apostles were teaching the people that Jesus had risen from death, which proved that the dead will rise to life. 3So they arrested them and put them in jail until the next day, since it was already late. 4But many who heard the message believed; and the number of men grew to about 5,000.

5The next day the Jewish leaders, the elders, and the teachers of the Law gathered in Jerusalem. 6They met with the High Priest Annas and with Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the others who belonged to the High Priest's family. 7They made the apostles stand before them and asked them, “How did you do this? What power have you got or whose name did you use?”

8Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: 9if we are being questioned today about the good deed done to the lame man and how he was healed, 10then you should all know, and all the people of Israel should know, that this man stands here before you completely well through the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth — whom you crucified and whom God raised from death. 11Jesus is the one of whom the scripture says:

‘The stone that you the builders despised

turned out to be the most important of all.’

12Salvation is to be found through him alone; in all the world there is no one else whom God has given who can save us.”

13The members of the Council were amazed to see how bold Peter and John were and to learn that they were ordinary men of no education. They realized then that they had been companions of Jesus. 14But there was nothing that they could say, because they saw the man who had been healed standing there with Peter and John. 15So they told them to leave the Council room, and then they started discussing among themselves. 16“What shall we do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone in Jerusalem knows that this extraordinary miracle has been performed by them, and we cannot deny it. 17But to keep this matter from spreading any further among the people, let us warn these men never again to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus.”

18So they called them back in and told them that on no condition were they to speak or to teach in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered them, “You yourselves judge which is right in God's sight — to obey you or to obey God. 20For we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard.” 21So the Council warned them even more strongly and then set them free. They saw that it was impossible to punish them, because the people were all praising God for what had happened. 22The man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was over forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23As soon as Peter and John were set free, they returned to their group and told them what the chief priests and the elders had said. 24When the believers heard it, they all joined together in prayer to God: “Master and Creator of heaven, earth, and sea, and all that is in them! 25By means of the Holy Spirit you spoke through our ancestor David, your servant, when he said:

‘Why were the Gentiles furious;

why did people make their useless plots?

26The kings of the earth prepared themselves,

and the rulers met together

against the Lord and his Messiah.’

27For indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together in this city with the Gentiles and the people of Israel against Jesus, your holy Servant, whom you made Messiah. 28They gathered to do everything that you by your power and will had already decided would happen. 29And now, Lord, take notice of the threats they have made, and allow us, your servants, to speak your message with all boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal, and grant that wonders and miracles may be performed through the name of your holy Servant Jesus.”

31When they finished praying, the place where they were meeting was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim God's message with boldness.

The Believers Share their Possessions

32The group of believers was one in mind and heart. None of them said that any of their belongings were their own, but they all shared with one another everything they had. 33With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God poured rich blessings on them all. 34There was no one in the group who was in need. Those who owned fields or houses would sell them, bring the money received from the sale, 35and hand it over to the apostles; and the money was distributed to each one according to his need.

36And so it was that Joseph, a Levite born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “One who Encourages”), 37sold a field he owned, brought the money, and handed it over to the apostles.

Ananias and Sapphira

1But there was a man named Ananias, who with his wife Sapphira sold some property that belonged to them. 2But with his wife's agreement he kept part of the money for himself and handed the rest over to the apostles. 3Peter said to him, “Ananias, why did you let Satan take control of you and make you lie to the Holy Spirit by keeping part of the money you received for the property? 4Before you sold the property, it belonged to you; and after you sold it, the money was yours. Why, then, did you decide to do such a thing? You have not lied to human beings — you have lied to God!” 5As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell down dead; and all who heard about it were terrified. 6The young men came in, wrapped up his body, carried him out, and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8Peter asked her, “Tell me, was this the full amount you and your husband received for your property?”

“Yes,” she answered, “the full amount.”

9So Peter said to her, “Why did you and your husband decide to put the Lord's Spirit to the test? The men who buried your husband are now at the door, and they will carry you out too!” 10At once she fell down at his feet and died. The young men came in and saw that she was dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11The whole church and all the others who heard of this were terrified.

Miracles and Wonders

12Many miracles and wonders were being performed among the people by the apostles. All the believers met together in Solomon's Porch. 13Nobody outside the group dared to join them, even though the people spoke highly of them. 14But more and more people were added to the group — a crowd of men and women who believed in the Lord. 15As a result of what the apostles were doing, sick people were carried out into the streets and placed on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16And crowds of people came in from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were ill or who had evil spirits in them; and they were all healed.

Acts 1:1-5:16GNBOpen in Bible reader
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