In the weeks following Pentecost, thousands had heard and believed the message of the apostles. So many had seen them perform miracles and signs; the Sadducees and elders were unable to follow through with their charges of heresy.
The whole community of believers shared all their possessions. Some, like Barnabas, even sold land and houses and brought the money so that it might be distributed to those in need.
When Ananias and his wife Saphira saw the congregation’s reaction to such generosity, they were compelled to do the same. But at the last minute, the two decided to keep just some of the profit for themselves.
As Ananias stood proudly before Peter, the apostle immediately confronted him. He knew the man had kept back part of the money, and challenged him as to why he would offer anything at all.
The money belonged to you. You didn’t have to give it. You have lied to the whole congregation and to God.
Upon hearing those words, Ananias fell dead.
A few hours later they brought the man’s wife to Peter. He asked if this gift was the full price they’d received from the land.
“Yes,” she said, and crumbled lifeless to the floor.