The Church had just been established and confirmed by an undeniable manifestation of divine power. Hundreds had been converted, and God showed His great power by allowing the newly converted to speak in other tongues and to prophesy. Among the many who were converted, there were two disciples by the name of Ananias and Sapphira. They sold their possessions and brought some of the proceeds to the apostles making all believe that they were giving all they had. Peter decreed that, because they had been lying to the Holy Spirit they were to die publicly. The result of their public death was that “great fear came upon all the church, and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).


            But what if God had forgiven Ananias and Sapphira? What if He had shown mercy on them and had not allowed the church to experience such a shocking and traumatic event immediately after having experienced unspeakable joy?


            Before He rose to Heaven, Jesus had asked his disciples to go to Jerusalem and promised them that there they would have received a very special gift (Acts 1:8). Christ kept His promise and, on the day of Pentecost, “there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty win, and it all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2: 2-4).  The result was excitement and great bonding. Many sold their possessions and gave the proceeds to the apostles, so that the needs of the brethren would be looked after (Acts 4:34-35).


            Experiencing such astonishing power must have totally awed the disciples. They were clearly the chosen ones, and God was making it evident to all in Jerusalem with undeniable signs. Feeling favored  could have now led to a spiritually superior and, perhaps, even a slack attitude. Some, probably, did not  yet understand that being chosen also meant carrying the great responsibility to be God’s righteous representatives. They had not been chosen to simply enjoy the spiritual benefits of their calling but to shine on God’s behalf.\


            Ananias, and Sapphira rejected righteousness and adopted deceit. Because of this, God decreed  that they receive a most stern punishment: death. Their death was also to be a warning to all that the new way was not to be taken lightly. Thus, God allowed fear to fall upon the whole group. To make sure the message would remain for all Christians to remember, the story was included in the Holy Scriptures.


            Furthermore, this was an ideal opportunity to sober up the Church and to make them remain conscious of the fact that though God gives much He demands much as well. Consequently, God was  going to watch the actions and attitudes of each and every one of them. The message was to be loud and clear for all to hear and not forget that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:41).


            The Church began with great signs and wonders. The first Christians were the recipients of great gifts and great accompanying joy. God saw fit to allow the death of Ananias and Sapphira to sober up the Church and to remind the newly-converted Christians that, though the great God gives great gifts, He also demands total submission. That lesson is as valid today as it was in thirty-one A.D.



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Booklet cover: Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Why Does God Allow Suffering?


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