Thursday, February 2, 2012

Acts 5:9-11

Summary retelling of Acts 5:9-11:

Peter catches Sapphira in her lie and informs her about what has already happened to her husband.  Sapphira falls to the ground, dead.  She is carried out by the young men of the congregation and buried beside her husband.  Fear (or awe) came upon the whole group of believers when they heard about what happened.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Peter is blunt with Sapphira.  He knows she is lying and he is aggressively pursuing the lie.  Yes, he gives her an option of admitting her mistake.  Yes, he gives her an option of telling him the truth.  But once it is clear that she does not want to walk the path of humble contrition, he is blunt and aggressive about letting her know that she is caught in a lie.

What kind of boldness do you think Peter had to have to play his role in this story?  Where do you think Peter’s ultimate priority was – with his relationship with God or with his relationship with Sapphira?

Second Thought:
Sapphira falls over dead and the same people who buried her husband now have to bury her.  Yet, in all of this we don’t get the idea that they were shocked by any of this.  It is as if they are just going about business as usual.  Furthermore, remember that in ancient Judaism it was a bad thing to come in contact with a dead body.  It meant that you were impure and could not worship at the temple for a week (if not more).  Here these people have to come in contact with two dead bodies on the same day!  Yet they do the work that is before them.

How do these young men teach us about faithfulness and doing the tasks that nobody else would want to do?  What are some things in your life that you can do that nobody else really wants to accomplish?

Third Thought:
The Bible says that fear comes upon all who hear about Ananias and Sapphira.  In today’s culture, we think of fear as a bad thing.  We think of horror movies, nightmares, and life decisions gone horribly wrong.  But in ancient cultures fear was directly tied to awe and it was a good thing.  The fear (or awe) of a snake’s power to kill helped keep you safe by staying at a distance.  The fear (or awe) of the power of death helped keep you from getting close enough to catch whatever killed the dead person (or fall into the circumstances that killed them).  In a similar manner, the Proverbs (1:7, 9:10,14:27, 15:33, and 19:23) talk about the fear (or awe) of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom and even life itself.  Fearing (or being in awe of) God’s power is a good thing.

Do you think we put much emphasis on “fearing the Lord?”  Is there a point at which we can put too much emphasis on “fearing the Lord?”

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 5:12-13
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