Bible Reading Day 173
After all the dramatic successes and powerful breakthroughs of the past four chapters, the early church is renowned in Jerusalem. Now with renown comes a challenge. The first religious infiltration of this new community occurs when Ananias and Sapphira try to work the system for the sake of their reputation (appearing to be part of this new movement) as well as their own gain (retaining control of their money and thus their lives). This is deception, a sin which is as old as humanity (as we see in Genesis 3). The strategy of satan is to get us to think in his ways, which are the opposite of God’s.
Peter clearly has a close relationship with the Holy Spirit, the one who Ananias and Sapphira are trying to deceive. The only way he could know what was happening when Ananias brought the money was by revelation from God. And Peter’s reaction is a reflection of the sadness in God’s heart when we try to come to Him on our own terms. Lying to God is a very serious matter, and Ananias falls down dead when his sin is confronted. That is enough to frighten everyone who knows about it! Imagine what would happen today if everyone who lied in church instantly fell down dead!
When Sapphira comes in later, she is unaware of the discovery of the lie, so she perpetuates it, with similar final consequences, and so the church increases in the fear of God – healthy respect for God’s power and authority. Interestingly this seems to increase the moving of the Holy Spirit in their midst – more miracles, more conversions, and more hesitation for unbelievers to join them until they became believers. This event purified the church and increased the power of the Spirit working through them. Even Peter’s shadow brought healing now!
What would our lives look like if God were at work in such power today?
Have a great day!