GOSPEL MEDITATION # 16
Ananias and Sapphira—Acts 5:1-11
(Also see: Lev. 10:1-11; Mt. 6:24, & 1 Peter 5:6-11)
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- Now a shift—Ananias and Sapphira connive to sell property but withhold a certain amount for themselves. It would be thought that they brought in the whole amount; perhaps they wanted attention and praise from the Church.
- First Ananias, after questioning by Peter, drops dead. Probably not due to fright and fear, but by the hand of God. Then, 3 hours later, Sapphira, the wife, has the same thing happen to her. They are buried, no official inquiry is made, no report to authorities is made either. We are not sure of what would have been proper or expected in that situation.
- This is not the first time something like this appears in Scripture. It is necessary now to study the story of Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, found in Leviticus 10:1-11. These two priests offered, drunkenly, worship in an unauthorized manned. They paid for it with their lives.
- Then there is the story of Achan in Joshua 7:11ff.
- The account of Ananias and Sapphira shows a shift in the life of the Church; nothing like this ever occurs again in Acts. We are left to wonder why Luke included this event.
- It is in sharp contrast with Barnabas’ generosity. Notice “But” in 5:1. The “dirty laundry” is not hidden from view.
- Jesus made it clear we cannot serve God and mammon, and mammon meaning money. (see Mt. 6:24) Money, and power that goes with it, is so often the devil’s tool to corrupt us. We see this in our world and in ourselves.