After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness. All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). (4:36) He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the .Acts 4:31-37
But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. 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. 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!” As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” 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.” 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. Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened. 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. But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women.Acts 5:1-14
How does verse 36 fit here?
There is much debate as to why the grace or the blessing of God is upon them.
The options are:
- The favour of people or the community is on them.
- The favour of God is on them.
- The state of oneness, unity and sharing which exists between themas a community. (Others think that the oneness and unity is the result of the grace upon them.)
I think there is another element or factor which can be added to this list.
Note the words:
- Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
- The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus
Following on, we have the words . . . and God’s great blessing was upon them all.
It is clear from the Greek text that there is a direct sequential or logical link between these two thoughts. The Book of Acts is all about the witness of the disciples leading to the growth and spread of the church. The relationship is clearly stated here: it is their preaching or their witnessing about the resurrected Christ which brings forth the blessing of the Spirit. But notice that there is more to it than that. Luke goes on to say . . . There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. The correct response to the fullness of the Spirit within their midst is to share His fullness and blessing with others. As Paul says in 2 Cor 9:8, “so that your surplus may meet their need.” This is God’s intention and the Lord’s favour rests on people who practice such as these.
Notice now how inextricably linked this verse is to what follows. “For instance, there was Joseph . . .” following this example . . . “But there was a certain man named Ananias with his wife, Sapphira . . .”
Can you see we have two examples of the same principle – there were no needy people among them because members of the body would sell land or housesand bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need? This is the same statement made of the church at the end of chapter two. It’s important. What follows the principle are two examples which are set against each other. There is one positive example and one negative example. Consider the structure and flow of this closing section of Acts 4 as you ponder what is being said here. Notice how the thought process flows across the chapter boundary. “For instance there was Joseph” . . . “but there was Ananias and Sapphira.” The “but” here is certainly adversative. These two examples are being set against each other in contradistinction.
Take time now to re-read the section I have given you above, I.e. 4:31 to 5:14. Look at the big picture and then ask the detail questions you need to ask. I will pick up the threads again in the next Gem. Of all the stories Luke could have included, the Holy Spirit has intended for us to have the juxtaposed examples of Joseph (Barnabas) and Ananias and Sapphira for our instruction. If that is the case, it is worthy of further investigation.
Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you!Rick Godwin
If you are willing to do only what’s easy, life will be hard. But if you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy.T. Harv Eker
Your Friends Love You The Way You Are, Your Mentor Loves You Too Much To Leave You That Way.Robb Thompson
As long as you point at somebody else as the reason you’re not moving, it means that you can’t go forward until somebody comes back!T D Jakes
Sometimes when you see other people win while you’re just surviving it’s difficult, their success is torment.Anon
Truth is eternal. Relativity is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.Anon