This event took place during the first days of the early church. The followers of Jesus were selling property and donating the proceeds to the ministry to take care of anyone in need. No one was being pressured to do this, but were following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 4:34-5:10 For there was not a needy person among them, because all those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. This was then distributed for each person’s basic needs.
Joseph, a Levite and a Cypriot by birth, the one the apostles called Barnabas, which is translated Son of Encouragement, sold a field he owned, brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Lying to the Holy Spirit
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. However, he kept back part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge, and brought a portion of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field? Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God!”
When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard. The young men got up, wrapped his body, carried him out, and buried him.
There was an interval of about three hours; then his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. “Tell me,” Peter asked her, “did you sell the field for this price?” “Yes,” she said, “for that price.”
Then Peter said to her, “Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!”
Instantly she dropped dead at his feet. When the young men came in, they found her dead, carried her out, and buried her beside her husband.
Thoughts to Ponder:
- Why would Ananias and Sapphira agree together to lie about the price of their property?
- Who were they trying to impress? Other people?
- Probably there was great rejoicing among the believers when money was brought to the apostles, and they wamted that recognition. That is not the heart attitude that God wants.
- Since they weren't required to give ALL the proceeds, they could have kept some and brought some. That wasn't their sin.
- Lying to the Holy Spirit was their sin. Evidently, they didn't consider that the Holy Spirit would reveal their deceit to Peter.