SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter begins with a couple dropping dead because they lied (!). This seems harsh, so let's take a closer look. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to give money to the church, as Joseph had done (in the previous chapter). They also wanted to keep some, which was fine. Peter says, "wasn't the money at your disposal?" The problem is that they wanted to deceive the church by making them think they gave all their money. God doesn't tolerate their deception and consequently takes their lives.
- In the last story Peter and John get arrested again. The Sanhedrin decide that if what they are doing is truly from God, it cannot be stopped, so they "only" had them whipped, and ordered them to stop speaking about Jesus, which Peter and John had already promised they would not do.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Perhaps one reason God takes the lives of Ananias and Sapphira is because Christianity was still in its infancy and God was trying to set an example about living authentic lives. Regardless, one thing to remember is that while in the United States people have a right to life, in relation to God people have the gift of life. Our life belongs to God and he has the right to take it from us. Whether he takes our life after we lie or at the end of a long life when we’re on our death beds, God still takes what belongs to him. And death is exactly what we deserve. Every day we spend alive is a gift from God.
- God is a loving God, but we also see in this story that He hates sin.
- The early Christians told people about Jesus even if it meant they were tortured or killed for it. Often we won't because we're afraid of being a little embarrassed. We need to have the attitude that people need to know about Jesus no matter what.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Ananias and Sapphira die because they lied and tried to appear to be something they're not. Where do you find yourself trying to give a better impression than reality? Commit to a life of authenticity, knowing that God loves you for who you are, so you don't have to be anything different from that.
- What is stopping you from sharing Jesus with people? Find an opportunity this week to overcome your resistance and say something (it can be short and sweet) about Jesus or your faith or to invite someone to church for Easter.