The Deceit and Deaths of Ananias and Sapphira
October 16 - Nº 289 Acts 4:32 – 5:14
The new believers in Jerusalem shared everything they owned. If someone had a need, others would help them out. From time to time, people who owned houses or land would sell what they had and bring the money to the apostles. One such person was a godly man named Barnabas. He sold a field and laid the money at the apostles’ feet. The apostles then distributed it to the needy. Noticing the attention that Barnabas received for his donation, Ananias, and his wife Sapphira decided to sell some property they owned. But after the sale went through, they decided to keep some of the money for themselves. Since they wanted everyone to think that they had donated all the money from the sale to help the needy, they made up a lie. They determined what amount they would give to the apostles and then informed everyone that this was the selling price. They were far more interested in making a good impression than in making a generous donation. When Ananias brought the money and laid it at Peter’s feet, he expected to receive praise for his charitable giving. Instead, Peter condemned him for his hypocrisy. “Ananias how is it that Satan has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” he asked. “The land was yours, and you did not have to sell it. Once it was sold, you could have kept all the money for yourself or given any portion of it to the needy. What made you choose to lie about it? You not only lied to us—you lied to God!” As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell and died. Everyone who learned what happened was filled with fear. Some young men stepped forward. They wrapped Ananias’ body, carried it out of the building, and buried him. Three hours later, not knowing what had just happened to her husband, Sapphira entered the same meeting room. Peter asked her, “Did you and Ananias sell your land for exactly the same amount of money you gave to help the needy?” “Yes, that was the selling price,” she replied. Peter looked at her and asked, “Why did you and your husband conspire together to test the Spirit of God? Listen, do you hear those footsteps? They are the footsteps of the young men who just carried his body out of this room. Now they will carry yours out as well.” Immediately Sapphira fell and died. The young men buried her next to Ananias. When the word spread, great fear seized everyone who had become part of the church in Jerusalem. They were beginning to grasp the awesome power and intimate knowledge of the Holy Spirit. People became more cautious about joining this new group of believers, but still their numbers continued to increase.
God used this lesson to teach His followers the importance of always being truthful. The Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer, knows every detail of everything that goes on in our hearts and minds. Nothing is hidden from Him. We can deceive others, but we can never deceive the Holy Spirit!