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Passage: Acts 5:1-11

Acts 5:1-11 – Ananias and Sapphira

Summary

Ananias and Sapphira are a married couple who are part of the faithful, baptized followers of Jesus. After lying to the community about the proceeds from the sale of some land, both die suddenly as they persist in their conspiratorial deceit.

Analysis

This is the first story of serious difficulty within the community that held "all things in common" (2:44; see also 4:32). In this story Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, conspire to hold back a portion of the money they had received from a sale of some land. They both die at Peter's feet, although no curse is spoken, no violence done by him. The exposure of their hearts' secrets is too much to bear. The terrible sin that these two commit is not the holding back of some of their proceeds from the land sale but their conspiratorial lying. When people lie, they are unable to have all things in common. When people lie, the precious community is fractured by the creation of a subcommunity, just as Ananias and Sapphira become isolated in their conspiracy. Because the community is created and sustained by the Spirit, the couple also lie to the Spirit.