Acts 5:1 But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; 2 with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” 5 Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. 6 The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.
This is a pretty shocking tale, huh? Ananias and Sapphira pledged to give the proceeds from the sale of their property to the apostles to distribute to the needy, but they held some of the money back. Peter calls them on it and they both die. The text doesn’t say that Peter killed them, it just says they died when confronted with their sin. I’m sure that got the peoples’ attention.
What I find interesting is Peter’s observation of the origin of their sin. V.3 says, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie…?” Peter would know something about the influence of Satan as he was a frequent target. In Matthew 16:23 Peter tried to discourage Jesus from believing he was going to die. Jesus responded with, “Get behind me Satan!” Jesus knew that Peter was being influenced by Satan to resist Jesus’ upcoming arrest and crucifixion.
No believer is immune from Satan’s influence. That said, the Spirit of God was given to believers to help us discern the difference between a lie and the truth. Holy Spirit, guard our hearts from the work of Satan. Teach us to follow your words of truth and life. Amen.