But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property.
- What follows is a strange story. Obviously lying to the Holy Spirit is not cool, but we aren't told exactly why these two people died, or if there is some other theological or historical reason for including this in scripture. If anyone else has some thoughts on this passage, I'd love to hear them.
Acts 5:16 (NLT)
Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.
These must have been exciting days as the apostles now find themselves at the heart of a strange new community that is growing up spontaneously. They are performing miracles similar to those of Jesus, somehow guided by the spreading influence of the Holy Spirit, seeing people streaming in to join them, to be healed, to hear their testimony about Jesus, and to hear Jesus' teachings.
Things Jesus said must have now begun to be repeated - "Love your enemies... The first will be last... If you have seen me you have seen the father..." How strange those teachings seemed when Jesus first gave them. Now they are confirmed and empowered by the fact of his resurection!
At this point the apostles have no developed theology about things like the tri-une nature of God, no creeds or traditions except their Jewish heritage, which they obviously continue to live by, yet they are being forced to re-examine everything in light of Jesus.
This re-examining of everything we live by is familiar even today for it is still what happens to us when we begin to feel and respond to the call of Jesus on our lives.
Acts 5:32 (NLT)
We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him."
- Now we see the beginning of the Holy Spirit in action, witnessing. So despite more organized attacks by the same religious authorities who had Jesus executed, we are told that:
Acts 5:42 (NLT)
... every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: "Jesus is the Messiah."
- and this message has continued spreading throughout the world for two thousand years despite setbacks, persecutions and resistance of every kind.