Friday, 18 February 2022
Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. Acts 5:10
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The previous verse had Peter proclaim judgment upon Sapphira for her having tested the Spirit of the Lord. He proclaimed that the same young men who carried out her husband would likewise carry her out, meaning that she would die. With that spoken, Luke records next that exactly that happened, saying, “Then immediately she fell down at his feet.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, she punched her ticket and fell down dead. The note of her falling at his feet is a nice touch. The very place where the money had been left by Ananias, meaning at the apostles’ feet (as noted in verse 5:2), is the same place where she wound up. The spot where the money testified against her is the same spot where she lay dead.
In this, she (like her husband) became an immediate object lesson to any who would dare to be deceitful in this manner again. As the word is now written, it stands as a testimony to the nature of the act, and to what is rightly deserved by those who do such things.
However, this does not mean that such an action is to be expected with every incident that arises. The example was set to show what is rightly deserved, but it is not prescribing that this will be normative in every instance. Hence, we can find the mercy of God in every such instance we find ourselves in during our walk before the Lord. As for Sapphira, after keeling over, it says, “and breathed her last.”
It is the same word introduced in verse 5:5 when Ananias was said to have breathed his last. Within just a short time, the same thing happened to Sapphira, and the matter was settled as a recorded testimony for all time. In her expiring, Luke next records, “And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.”
The verbs of this sentence are not well translated by the NKJV. Here, instead of “came in,” it is an aorist participle, “having come in.” Likewise, the words, “carrying her out,” are also an aorist participle, “having carried her out.”
Hence, it should read something like, “And the young men, having come in, found her dead, and having carried her out, they buried her by her husband.” Luke’s description is alive with the actions that occurred in order to convey that the same young men, who had just picked up the dead body of Ananias and transported him to a grave, likewise had come in and found Sapphira in the same state as he had been.
After “having carried her out” they took her to the same location as he had been carried, and “they buried her by her husband.” In this, the tragic story of Ananias and Sapphira comes to its end. They had neglected to consider the words of Scripture, they had failed to apply the knowledge of the Lord to their understanding, and they had tested the Lord.
Life application: The 94th Psalm gives insights into the nature of the Lord in such an instance as that which came about with Ananias and Sapphira –
“Yet they say, ‘The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob understand.’
8 Understand, you senseless among the people;
And you fools, when will you be wise?
9 He who planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see?
10 He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct,
He who teaches man knowledge?
11 The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are futile.” Psalm 94:7-11
The Lord is aware of those things we think we have kept secret, and He will act in accord with His wisdom in each and every such case. Let us consider this and take it to heart. And let us also be grateful that we do not always get what we deserve. If we did, the church would be a lot emptier come Sunday morning. Thank God that He mercifully does not act against our every transgression!
Lord God, You are gracious and merciful. You return to us less than our sins deserve, and You are abundantly good to us in so many ways. Help us to remember this and to always be grateful to You for Your kind hand of discipline when it is brought upon us. Great are You, O God, and greatly are You to be praised. Amen.