Acts 4:23- 5:11
Today’s reading recounts the events surrounding the bitter experience which led to the imprisonment of Peter and John by the chief priests and elders of the Sanhedrin who threatened them not to preach again in the name of Jesus. They, along with the other disciples however opted to pray to God after their release for greater boldness to speak the word and to perform signs in Jesus’ name. The Grace of God was powerfully at work in them all and they continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, they became more united in heart and mind such that they shared their possessions amongst themselves so that no one was in need. Those who owned land or houses, as exemplified by Joseph the Levite from Cyprus, sold them, and presented the money to the apostles who distributed it to all those who are in need.
A couple, Ananias and Sapphira however conspired to withhold some of the money from the sales of their property. This led to their untimely death when it was discovered by Peter and the congregation and all who heard were filled with trepidation.
Our Christian walk, faith and values will be questioned, criticised and ridiculed from time to time by people or challenging situations. It could get to the point where denouncing Christ may seem to be the only option of getting a business deal or contract, a promotion or maintaining a relationship. We should learn from the apostles who at the expense of their lives opted to trust and involve God all the way and He in turn, showed Himself strong on their behalf.
Our motives for establishing a relationship with him should be sincere and godly not self-serving.
I will maintain my trust and faith in the Lord at all times and my life will be a living testimony to the glory of his name.
Reading – Acts 4:23- 5:11
The Believers Pray
23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.[a]’[b]
27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Ananias and Sapphira
5 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
- Acts 4:26 That is, Messiah or Christ
- Acts 4:26 Psalm 2:1,2