Last Sunday, Luke, the author of the book of Acts, gave us a snapshot of life in the early church. And he gave us two contrasting examples of both the good and the bad.
First of all, Luke told us about a man named Joseph – otherwise known as Barnabas – the Son of Encouragement. Filled with the Holy Spirit and motivated by love for the church, he sold a field he owned and gave the money to the apostles to give to the needy within the church. This was a great example of the generosity and care for each other that was common within the church in those early days!
But in contrast to Barnabas, Luke then goes on to tell us about another couple – Ananias and Sapphira. With hearts filled by Satan and motivated by pride – they also sold some land and gave the money to the apostles. However, they kept some of the money for themselves and decided to lie about it to the Apostles (and really, to the Holy Spirit) – claiming that they had given everything, when in fact, they had not. For their deception and as a strong warning to the rest of the church, the Lord stuck them both death.
Their sudden and dramatic deaths would have been quite a shock to the church, I’m sure! In fact, verse 11 tells us that…
11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
And that verse kinda sets the stage for the rest of the chapter. As we finish up Acts chapter 5 today, we’re going to see that God continues to do some amazing things in and through the church, and people just don’t know what to make of it all!
Are these followers of Jesus good or bad? Are they doing these amazing things with trickery and slight of hand or is God really behind it all? And perhaps most importantly, is their message of faith in Jesus merely empty ramblings, or is it really the Gospel truth?
Those are the questions that everyone was asking, and those are the questions that Luke wants you to consider as well!