2142.) Acts 5:1-16

"The Death of Sapphira" by Nicolas Poussin, 1652 (The Louvre, Paris)

“The Death of Sapphira” by Nicolas Poussin, 1652 (The Louvre, Paris)

Acts 5:1-16 (NLT)

Ananias and Sapphira

1 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.

They wanted honor without honesty.

3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”

5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died.

Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”

“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”

9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”

10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.

  • David Guzik calls this last sentence “one of the great understatements of the Bible!”
  • This is the first use of the word “church” in the book of Acts.

Psalm 34:12-13 (CEV)

Do you want to live

and enjoy a long life?

Then don’t say cruel things

and don’t tell lies.


from Peculiar Treasures,
by Frederick Buechner


It wasn’t because Ananias held back from the poor box some of the proceeds of his real estate deal that Saint Peter came down on him so hard. The poor would get by somehow. They always had. What got the old saint’s goat was that Ananias let on he was handing over  his whole pile instead of only as much as he though he wouldn’t be needing himself.

“You have not lied to men but to God,” Peter said, and the undeniable truth of the charge together with the unbearable shame of it were more than Ananias could take, so he dropped dead. His wife, Sapphira, had been in on the real estate deal with him, and when she turned up three hours later and found out what had happened, she dropped dead too.

Lying to God is like sawing the branch you’re sitting on. The better you do it, the harder you fall.

The Apostles Heal Many

12 The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. 14 Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. 15 As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. 16 Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.



So many voices are calling out for our attention!  Who were Ananias and Sapphira listening to?  Surely they knew stories of other people of faith who had to choose which voice to obey!

And the next obvious question:  Who am I listening to?  Let us take that question seriously.  HERE  is Casting Crowns and “The Voice of Truth.”


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Poussin.  http://www.abcgallery.com/P/poussin/poussin86.html
Ananias drops dead.    http://bibleencyclopedia.com/goodsalt/Acts_5_Story_of_Ananias_and_Sapphira.htm
Ananias and Sapphira.    http://contributionlessons.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/ags-screenshot489.jpg?w=199&h=250

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