Acts 5

Acts 5

Ananias and Sapphira

A man named ‘Ananias’ with his wife
(‘Sapphira’ called) sold land quite value-rife,
then tendered the apostles some amount
while claiming he was an enormous fount;
he meanwhile, with his wife, retained some sums
whose largeness said his fingers must be thumbs;
then Peter asked him, “Why so sinfully
have you produced false generosity?
You ultimately lied to God himself
by being so retentive of much pelf;
that property was yours to sell or keep --
& what permitted you to be so cheap?”
When Ananias heard those words, he fell
against the floor & perished then, pell-mell;
the folk who heard about his sudden death
grew terrified & seemed without much breath;
some young man wrapped the corpse inside a sheet,
then gave that deadness burial complete.
Sapphira (now a widow) entered later,
quite unaware a crowd might deeply hate her;
soon Peter asked her, “Did you guess this price
would be your pay for proving so unnice?”
“That certainly,” she answered, “seems to be
the cost of our perceived iniquity!”
Then Peter asked her, “How could you two think
of even slightly bathing in that sink?
The same young man who buried your sad spouse
will carry you outside your very house.”
She fell soon to the floor, &, yes, she died
&, as the merest corpse, was soon outside
& buried there beside her husband’s body
as if opining life had been too shoddy;
huge fear then gripped the total congregation
& others who had known that desecration.

The Apostles Heal Many

Among the people wended the apostles
performing wonders brighter far than fossils;
believers then quite regularly met
within a temple always in truth’s debt
& rumored to be where King Solomon
had helped bright rituals seem vastly done.
Yet, no-one else dared join with the devout --
though many folk esteemed them with scant doubt;
increasingly, large crowds of both the sexes
seemed so transformed as not to suffer hexes,
& clearly the apostles did more works
that banished sicknesses & other quirks;
when Peter’s shadow fell on persons tainted,
they tended to stand up, as if ensainted,
& villages around Jerusalem
sent lives that longed to join some diadem.

The Apostles Meet Opposition

The highest priest, along with Sadducees
who were his cohorts, filled with enmities
& slammed all twelve apostles into jail;
an angel of the Lord when night seemed pale
quite freed them, then addressed them with the phrases
“Go Templeward while chanting lively praises!”
The Temple near day’s breaking saw those men
obey that rich command & teach again;
the same high priest, & others, soon arrived
& as some lofty body loudly strived.
As elders of all Israel they sent
stark word that the apostles should repent;
however, when the Temple guards had searched,
those spirits all seemed gone, as if enchurched;
the council, told of that strange disappearance,
grew vexed & spoke of horrid interference;
some startling news conveyed the novel fact
that the apostles now had formed a pact
obliging them to teach the people things
inimical to anything save stings.
The captain of the Temple guards soon chose
fresh lines of action that might crush some toes;
he ordered that those burdensome twelve men
be re-arrested, then reviled again.
(One concept there opposed much violence,
lest sudden stonings might gain prominence.)
Those brave apostles heard from the high priest,
“We ordered you, in terms that haven’t ceased,
to stay away from using that man’s name –
a name whose mention causes excess shame!
Instead, you’ve filled the city with strange screechings
quite masquerading as sublime deep teachings
& made us seem quite guilty for his death
as if our actions stripped him of his breath!”
But Peter, speaking for the group, replied,
“Since Jesus is completely deified,
our loyalty must be far more toward God
than toward mere humans, though worlds often prod;
you murdered Jesus harshly on a cross,
then our Great God soon countervailed that loss
by resurrecting Him entirely well
& so enshrining Him He long might quell
all sorrows by quite serving as the Savior
whose princely ways could purify behavior;
God acted thus so all of Israel
might beg forgiveness & escape much hell;
we witness these things, as the Holy Spirit
may thrive in life & everything yet near it.”
On hearing all of that, the council turned
quite furious, as if completely burned,
& instantly decided they must kill
such foes for what their chatter might instill;
one council member, though – one Pharisee
named ‘Gamaliel’ -- , who truly seemed to be
insightful & had garnered much respect
(so much his words seemed near to too correct),
stood up & ordered that those men be sent
outside awhile so anger might relent;
his colleagues heard him say, “O Israelites,
beware of how you’re fighting your new fights!
Not long ago that man named ‘Theudas’
pretentiously proved sadly strange & crass;
four hundred men had formed his retinue,
yet he was killed, & his big world ungrew
as all his faithful followers lost faith
& his repute quite vanished like some wraith;
that movement came to nothing, & much later
one Galilean Judas proved a traitor;
though people followed him, he too was slain,
& soon his memory spelled mere disdain;
so, my advice is leave these men alone!
Nay, let them freely go, &, on their own,
they’ll end as ‘fools who must be overthrown’;
yet, if you let God seem to seem to be their pastor,
you’ll find the world ‘some horribly harsh master.’”
The other elders took that strict advice,
at least in part, but weren’t so very nice
as not to see each prisoner be flogged
so notedly his innards might seem clogged.
Again some loud commanding quite forbade
tongues letting how they spoke sound ‘Jesus-clad’;
yet, the apostles left the council’s world
so happy that their faiths remained unfurled
they still resolved to speak of ‘the Messiah’
& not to fear the label of ‘pariah.’

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