Vs. 10, “At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.” Our chapter opens ominously as Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied to the church regarding the profit they offered from the land they had sold (vs. 1-11). Question: What’s the big deal? You may recall that the church was willingly sharing their possessions and ensuring others were taken care of. Yesterday, we were reminded that Barnabas sold his property and gave it to the church. Ananias and Sapphira do the same thing, but they deceived the church and God (Holy Spirit) by keeping some of their proceeds for themselves. The big issue is they lied and made themselves look much more sacrificial than they really were. This was literally a grave mistake. Satan is the father of lies. This was a big move by the enemy to dismantle the early churches progress thus far. It was important to the LORD that such a deed not goes unpunished, especially because this was setting the foundation for the early church. Despite the setback, the growth of the early church continues (vs. 12-16) and the disciples continue to heal many. But, this didn’t set well with the enemies of the Gospel (vs. 17-42). The High Priest along with the Sadducees threw the apostles into jail. Blessed are those who are persecuted (Matthew 5:10). Despite the persecution, an angel of the Lord comes and rescues them out of jail in middle of the night. However, the Sanhedrin is boiling with anger, but Peter courageously stands up and reminds them they must obey God rather than men (vs. 29). Fortunately, Gamaliel stepped in and spoke reason to the Sanhedrin (vs 34-40). Gamaliel was a prominent Pharisee as well as the mentor for Paul (Acts 22:3).
Regarding application…Rejoicing in Trials. Vs. 41, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” What a response of faith! Their lives were in question until Gamaliel stepped in and to top it off, they were flogged (Limit was 40 lashes). But, this did not make their hearts bitter or downcast. They couldn’t believe they were counted worthy to suffer like the Lord Jesus! Brothers and sisters, this is real faith being tested. God created them to do good works and they were doing it. When I think about the sufferings and trials in my life, I’m convicted for the short-sightedness of my outlook. I’m so thankful that we have the Word of God speaking to our hearts each day! Let us never take for granted the privilege we have as believers to suffer trials in this life. Our response to such trials can testify of God’s great love and mercy to a world that is lost!