Jesus’ Life: Chapter 20 – Early Spread Of Gospel By the Disciples
Jesus once said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God”. (Mark 25:24-25)
Many of the Apostles new followers, gave generously to help the poor and support church ministry, they surrendered all for Jesus. In one particularly prominent example, a man named Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, sold a field which he owned and placed the money “at the feet of the Apostles”. The Apostles were so taken by his remarkable generosity that they named him Barnabus, meaning, “Son of encouragement”. (Acts 4:36)
However, dishonesty can prevail even among those who seem to give abundantly to the poor. Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, hoped to gain the same eminent recognition as Joseph but on the cheap! They sold a piece of property but agreed to withhold part of the proceeds and then place the remainder “at the feet of the Apostles,” deceiving them.
When Ananias approached Peter with only part of the sale price, Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land? … How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!” (Acts 5:3, 4) Immediately, “Ananias collapsed and died”. He was then carried out, wrapped in linen and buried by some young men.
A few hours later, when Sapphira arrived to meet Peter, he asked her, “Tell me, were the two of you paid this (reduced) amount for the land?” Sapphira unrepentantly answered, “Yes, that much”. Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!” (Acts 5:8-9) Immediately, Sapphira also collapsed and died. The young men likewise took her body and buried her alongside her husband.
A salutary fear and sense of awe, both inside and outside the church, gripped the whole people. (Acts 5:1-11)
Noone will cheat on God, don’t lie to the Holy Spirit!
Lord Jesus, remove from me all pride and selfishness, create in me true repentance and humility. Amen.
Prayer: Priests and Religious
St Paul, great convert and Apostle,
guide all priests and religious.
Help them realise that their actions
speak louder than any words.
Teach them to use their talents
to convey God’s message
but, to rely above all,
on the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Amen.