free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!
But there was a man named Ananias. Side by side with the picture of love and fellowship in the 4th chapter, comes the selfishness and hypocrisy of this couple.
But kept part of the money. It is important to see where the sin was. No one forced them to sell the property; and once sold, no one forced them to give the money; and in giving the money, no one required them to give all of it. Their sin was in lying about it to get the glory for something they had not done. (1) They gave from the wrong motives; (2) They lied about it.
And make you lie to the Holy Spirit. Peter points out the money had been his to do with as he pleased. Ananias wanted to receive the same honor Barnabas had, for giving the entire sum of money. But Ananias lied about how much it was, so he could keep part of it and still get honor for giving it all.
He fell down dead. It was not Peter, but the Holy Spirit who struck this man dead. The punishment seems more drastic than necessary, yet Satan was striking at the messianic community through this lie, and it was a much more serious incident than it seems to be! Compare Uzzah’s death for touching the Box of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:6-10.6.8).
And buried him. No weeping, no funeral! The body cannot remain inside the temple walls. Examples of such a quick burial are found in Leviticus 10:1-3.10.7; Joshua 7:16-6.7.26.
His wife came in. It was strange, but not impossible, that his wife did not know what had happened.
Was this the full amount? Here was her chance to tell the truth that would have saved her, but she tells the lie which she and her husband had agreed to tell.
The young men came in. It had taken three hours to carry Ananias out of the city, bury him, and come back. This incident teaches, that while you can lie to men, you cannot fool God!
Were filled with great fear. This incident showed the reality of sin! Neither sin nor salvation are “make-believe!” What these two did was blasphemy! [Not fear, but love, is the ULTIMATE MOTIVATION. See 1 John 4:18]
Many miracles and wonders. Note it is the apostles who are said to have this power. Not everyone was given the gift of miracles. Met together in a group. See Acts 2:46; Hebrews 10:25. Nobody outside the group. This must speak of their enemies. See the next verse. Were added to the group. A continuous growth. Men and women. Women are specifically mentioned here. There were already women among the group (Acts 1:14; see note on Acts 4:3-44.4.4). They are again mentioned in chapter 6.
The sick people were carried out. We are not told that any were healed by Peter’s shadow. The point is the fame and popularity these things brought to the apostles. [Compare Acts 19:11-44.19.12. ]
Then the High Priest. This would be Annas. See note on Acts 4:6. He was a Sadducee, and therefore strongly opposed to any thought of the dead being raised. See note on Acts 4:2.
And placed them in the public Jail. That is, they treated them like common criminals. [A small basement room, with a dirt floor and no sanitary facilities.]
An angel of the Lord. God works through angels (Hebrews 1:14).
Go and stand in the temple. They are instructed by the angel to go back to the temple and continue preaching the resurrection of the dead.
For a full meeting of the Council. Notice this was called for the trial of the apostles, and the Council sends to the prison to have the prisoners brought before them.
22–23. We found it locked up tight. They cannot explain why the apostles were not in the prison.
24–25. Are standing in the temple teaching. This miracle was a source of fresh strength and faith to all the disciples. Those who knew of the arrest [i.e., all Jerusalem] would be curious. Also, this should have proved to the Sadducees that they could not hold back this Good News! Compare Acts 5:39.
They did not use force. The power of public opinion!
The High Priest questioned them. He charges they have: (1) defied the Council; (2) spread their teaching all over Jerusalem. You want to make us responsible. Read what they had said before (Matthew 27:25). They are not so eager to accept their guilt now! The people might rebel against them because they had killed Christ.
We must obey God, not men. What other reason is needed??? Peter says: (1) God raised Jesus from death; (2) to his right side as Leader and Savior; (3) to give Israel the opportunity to repent; (4) “We are witnesses.” Who is God’s gift to those who obey him. The obedience of faith (Romans 1:5; Acts 2:38) was the requisite for receiving God’s gift. “Obey” implies continuous action. One of the special blessings of being in Christ is the stream of living water which the Scripture itself identifies as the Holy Spirit (John 7:38-43.7.39; 1 Corinthians 6:19-46.6.20).
They were so furious. Their response to the Good News is to try to kill those who bring it!
A Pharisee named Gamaliel. [Pharisees believed man survives death.] Gamaliel was the most revered teacher of the Law. The Talmud speaks of him, and he was a grandson of Hillel [the most revered teacher of all]. Paul was his pupil (Acts 22:3).
Be careful what you are about to do. Good advice! (1) Think! (2) Impostors will fail. (3) You cannot defeat God! [Theudas and Judas were well known to the Council, but we cannot accurately identify them. See notes on this in the Expositors Greek Testament.] But if it comes from God. Lipscomb says: “So while Gamaliel was not a believer, he was so impressed with the possibility that they might be sent by God that he was unwilling for the Sanhedrin to try to destroy them.” [Those who oppose translations and movements ought to think about what Gamaliel said.]
They called the apostles in. The fact that most of the Council are Pharisees may have helped them decide to do what Gamaliel says. Had them whipped. The whip had bits of bone or stone tied in the end of the strands, and would tear the flesh. This was a common form of punishment.
Full of Joy. James 1:2-59.1.4.
And every day. This shows how hard they work to spread the Good News of God’s act in Christ to set men free!
These files are public domain.
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent