“Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 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.”
– Acts 5:1,2
Yesterday, we talked about the early church and the incredible atmosphere of faith that permeated the lives of the believers as the Gospel message was spreading. However, amidst their powerful unity of faith, something unexpected happened and the assembly was rattled. A husband and wife named Ananias and Sapphira joined the ranks of the gathered and began to worship with them. Keeping in step with the others, they sold a piece of property; however, they decided ahead of time to hold back a percentage of the profits. Unfortunately, that decision cost both of them their lives. Upon being called out by Peter, each of them lied and made a false claim that what they gave was 100% of the money they received from the sale. Filled with the Holy Spirit’s discernment, Peter called out their dishonesty and they were struck down without warning. I can only imagine how this shook up the congregation and all the questions it aroused about the Lord’s heart.
Like them, if you have been haunted by this story that seems incongruous with Christ’s character, I want to offer a bit of help. Though the Bible doesn’t say it, many commentators and theologians believe that neither Ananias nor Sapphira was actually a Christian, because there is no reference to their profession of faith or to their baptism (even though they gave money to the church). Had they received Jesus, I believe the wrath of God that fell upon them would have been transferred to the cross. Even though they worshipped with the rest of the church, they didn’t have the protection of Jesus’ blood over them, which is why they were struck down.
Friend, when you received the Lord’s portion in exchange for your sin, He transferred the punishment and wrath for your wrongdoing to Jesus. That means you can live in the covering of your Redeemer and Savior for the rest of your life, and He will guard and guide you through the days He has ordained for you. Because He sees you as He sees Jesus, you are righteous in His sight and you are forever protected by the cross.
Jesus, thank you for protecting me by the covering of your cross.
What can you learn from the story of Ananias and Sapphira?