We leave on in Acts 4 seeing the generosity of Barnabas. I think its no coincidence to how we pick up in Acts 5. Remember the original writers didn’t put the Bible into chapters and verses. We added that later for ease of reading and reference. Proverbs 18:16 says your gift makes room for you. Barnabas had a gift of encouragement and giving. He added value to others from what we can see in scripture. Ananias and Sapphira seemed to think they could buy their way into leadership. I perceive that they believed that they could manipulate their way into the good graces of the church by saying that they sold everything and brought the proceeds to the church.
In the end their lie was to God and not to man. When we think we are rolling our leadership and church family we’re only lying to God. Both husband and wife paid the price with their lives in this story. I wonder why the punishment was so harsh. I think that maybe God had to be sure that this type of sin didn’t taint the early church. I don’t know for sure because the verse don’t reveal that. I think is interesting that if you look at Ananias’ name it means “God has given” and Sapphira means sapphire. Clearly these people were blessed but what the did with their blessing and how the represented it caused their deaths.
Also look at who did the carrying out and burying of their bodies. The young men did. It seems the next generation is always having to deal with the leadership sins of the previous one. They wind up carrying the weight and burying the bodies. I see this time and time again in church situations I’ve been through. When the church splits those who are catalysts usually suffer generational loses.
This event caused reverence in the church. I hope that God doesn’t have to kill someone for me to pay attention to Him and His Word. We see God’s Word spreading with the disciples and God preforming various miracles. People were healed and set free.
This caused the religious power establishment to get angry and arrest the apostles. An angel set them free and they went to the temple and taught the gospel. The representatives of the council checked the jail and found it empty. The apostles were rearrested and brought before the council. They’re told not to preach Jesus again but make it known that they must obey God and not man. Where does my obedience to God put me at odds with man?
One of the Pharisees, Gamaliel, makes a statement…
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
They agree with his advice and threaten the apostles to stop preaching Jesus. They have them flogged and let go. The apostles rejoice to have suffered for Jesus. Wow, what faith and heart. I seem to run away from less. LEt’s take courage in the strength they show.