Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
I’m not going to talk about how scary this story is. Or how I now think the early Christians may have followed God purely out of fear. What this story made me think about is something I won’t call fate, but looks, smells, sounds like fate.
Were the lives of this couple made solely to become an example to others?
I think about a man a couple stories early by the name of Judas. When he was born, God already knew that this was the man that would some day betray Jesus. Are people made to fail? The notoriously bad in history; the Hitlers, Saddams, Mussolinis… Think about history without their existences. Think about the present without them.
I’m sure it’s argued that Judas wasn’t created to betray Jesus. If he hadn’t done it, someone else would have. But God knew it would be Judas.
His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
“… rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” That’s so powerful. It makes me realize how weak I am.
It’s like asking God, let me suffer for You.
It was a while ago and I can’t recall who did the sermon. It was either Joey or Elliot. He was talking about how as Christians, we’ve become tame animals. We’ve lost our wildness and our urge to want more. We’re fed gourmet foods leaving us unable to feed ourselves.
On paper, it’s a beautiful thing. To be wild for God.
But to suffer? To escape from my safety bubble? That’s terrifying.
Let me want to fear You. Want to be wild for You.