One of the strangest stories in the New Testament is that of Ananias and Sapphira. We've already been told by Luke, the author of Acts, that the new group of believers was holding things in common (Acts 2:44-45). He mentions this again in 4:32-37 before he tells the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira.
Ananias and Sapphira decide to sell a piece of land and give some of the money to the community (5:1-11). Where they went wrong was that they told Peter they were giving all the money to the group. They lied. Peter, with knowledge from the Holy Spirit, knew immediately that Ananias was lying. Peter questions him and tells Ananias that by lying to Peter he has lied to the whole community and to the Holy Spirit. Ananias fell dead at his feet.
Three hours later, Sapphira comes to Peter, not knowing what has happened to her husband. Peter questions her also. She too lies. She too falls dead at Peter's feet.
This is an extreme consequence, don't you think? We might say, "Well, it was just a little lie." But the truth is it was an unnecessary lie that would have harmed the community greatly. Prior to this, the community was of "one heart and one mind". The couple didn't just lie, they were trying to look better in everyone's eyes than they really were. So they weren't just dishonest about the money, they were dishonest about their very selves. And in lying to Peter they lied to the entire community and to the Holy Spirit.
It's hard enough for a married couple, just two people, to be honest with each other and hold everything in common. This group was trying to do it as a large community (thousands were beginning to believe in Jesus). It did not always go smoothly.
Satan continues to tempt us today as he did the early community. Beware the father of lies.
For reflection: Am I being honest with myself about the reasons for my actions? Who else is being hurt by what I am doing?
Let us pray. Jesus, you are the truth that sets us free. You are the giver of life. Holy Spirit, you are the giver of discernment. We need you to help us see ourselves as we truly are.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.