Ananias and Sapphira
Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property but only brought part of the proceeds to the apostles. Peter asked why Satan filled Ananias’s heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and Ananias dropped dead. A few moments later, Peter asked why Sapphira lied to God, and she also dropped dead.
This story appears pretty scary. Ananias and Sapphira donated to the apostles’ ministry, so why did both of them drop dead? Many others who have not donated aren’t dropping dead like this.
My theory is that because God punished Ananias and Sapphira for lying. They both wanted to contribute to the apostles’ ministry, but they also wanted to keep for themselves a comfortable life and so they were not all in. And Jesus does say that you are either for Him or against Him, and that there’s no middle ground.
The Sadducees vs Pharisees
The high priest and the Sadducees, filled with jealousy, arrested the apostles. Once again, they charged the apostles to not teach in Jesus’s name. Peter’s response:
We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.Acts 5:29-32
When the Sadducees heard this, they wanted to kill the apostles. But a well-respected Pharisee advised against doing so:
So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!Acts 5:38-39
The Sadducees relented and release the apostles.
I found it interesting that this Pharisee would “vouch” for the apostles. During Jesus’s ministry, He often bickered with the Pharisees, but not so much the Sadducees. But the apostles ran into more problems with the Sadducees. Why?
Sadducees, wealthy members of the upper class who held high offices, strictly did not believe in the resurrection and the afterlife, so when the apostles started claiming Jesus’s resurrection, they were mad. Pharisees, members of the working class who upheld the law, did believe in resurrection.
Apparently even Jews can get political with each other. But that’s for every culture and nation.
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