The first half of this passage is in some ways very similar to Acts 2:42-47. When Peter and John get out of jail, they go back to be with the other believers. Once again, the believers are together and praying when the Holy Spirit falls on them, making the believers “one in heart and mind”. And once again, immediately after the Holy Spirit comes, Luke emphasizes the place that possessions have in their lives. First, Luke says that nobody even considered any of his possessions as his own. As though that weren’t revolutionary enough, though, Luke goes on to say that there were no needy people among them, because whenever someone had a need, people would sell their houses or lands, then bring the money to the apostles, so that those needs could be met.
Now, back in the section on Chapter 2 we talked about the differences between this and Socialism or Communism. Rather than revisit that section, I want to move on to the Story of Ananias and Sapphira. This is a familiar story, but I want us to keep it in context of Acts 4:31-37. Remember, the chapter and verse divisions were added hundreds of years after the Bible was written, so sometimes to get the full effect of a passage, we have to read past the chapter divisions.
So we have this extreme action of the early believers sharing possessions. Some would even sell possessions in order to meet the needs of other believers. We are told briefly of a man named Joseph who sold a field and then brought the money to the apostles. Then we are told of a couple named Ananias and Sapphira who sold a piece of property, except they kept some of the money back for themselves. In the end, they are each struck dead by God.
So here’s the question: Why were Ananias and Sapphira struck down by God? Continue reading