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The sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphira are jarring at first glance. After all, the couple voluntarily gave up part of their profits to the church, so what could possibly warrant their deaths? The problem was that they lied about their gift and withheld money for themselves, desiring the status of the large donation and the appearance of radical generosity in the eyes of the apostles and the other members of the church. Furthermore, Peter says that they allowed Satan to fill their hearts (5:3). They lied to the Holy Spirit (5:4), who had filled their community of believers. In the midst of the church’s miraculous growth, remarkable unity and amazing gospel message, Ananias and Sapphira’s deceitful plan stood as the antithesis of the church’s faith-filled generosity and brotherly love.

The Good Shepherd refuses to tolerate wolves roaming freely among his sheep. In contrast, the preceding story of Barnabas (4:36–37) reveals the greater truth that authentic allegiance to Jesus is characterized by the kind of cheerful generosity that both honors God and cares for his people. May those who follow Jesus be so struck by his worth, so confident of his care and so committed to his ways that they likewise “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33).

Jesus, help me to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness. I want others to see my generosity and know it must come from you. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible


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