Ac 5:1-11. ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA.
"The first trace of a shade upon the bright form of the young Church.
Probably among the new Christians a kind of holy rivalry had sprung up,
every one eager to place his means at the disposal of the apostles"
[OLSHAUSEN]. Thus might the new-born zeal of some outrun their abiding
principle, while others might be tempted to seek credit for a liberality
which was not in their character.
2. kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it--The
coolness with which they planned the deception aggravated the guilt of
brought a certain part--pretending it to be the whole proceeds of the
3-6. why hath Satan filled--"why . . . fill--"why hast thou suffered
him to fill"
thine heart--so criminally entertaining his suggestion? Compare
"why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?" And see
Joh 13:2, 27.
to lie to the Holy Ghost--to men under His supernatural illumination.
4. While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was
it not in thine own power?--from which we see how purely voluntary
were all these sacrifices for the support of the infant community.
not lied to men but God--to men so entirely the instruments of the
directing Spirit that the lie was rather told to Him: language clearly
implying both the distinct personality and the proper divinity
of the Holy Ghost.
5. Ananias . . . gave up the ghost . . . great fear came on all that
heard these things--on those without the Christian circle; who,
instead of disparaging the followers of the Lord Jesus, as they might
otherwise have done on the discovery of such hypocrisy, were awed at the
manifest presence of Divinity among them, and the mysterious power of
throwing off such corrupt matter which rested upon the young Church.
6. the young men--some of the younger and more active members of the
church, not as office-bearers, nor coming forward now for the first
time, but who probably had already volunteered their services in making
subordinate arrangements. In every thriving Christian community such
volunteers may be expected, and will be found eminently useful.
7-11. Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much--naming the sum.
9. How is it that ye have agreed together--(See on
to tempt the Spirit--try whether they could escape detection by
that omniscient Spirit of whose supernatural presence with the apostles
they had had such full evidence.
feet of them that buried thy husband are at the door--How awfully
10. buried her by her husband--The later Jews buried before sunset
of the day of death.
11. And great fear came upon all the church, &c. --This effect on the
Christian community itself was the chief design of so startling a
judgment; which had its counterpart, as the sin itself had, in Achan
while the time--at the commencement of a new career--was
Ac 5:12-26. THE
PROGRESS OF THE
LEADS TO THE
ARREST OF THE
CONDUCTED BEFORE THE
12. Solomon's Porch--(See on
13-16. of the rest durst no man join himself, &c.--Of the unconverted
none ventured, after what had taken place, to profess discipleship; but
yet their number continually increased.
15. into the streets--"in every street."
on beds and couches--The words denote the softer couches of the rich
and the meaner cribs of the poor [BENGEL].
shadow of Peter . . . might overshadow some of them--Compare
Lu 8:46. So Elisha. Now the predicted greatness of Peter
as the directing spirit of the early Church, was at its height.
17-23. sect of the Sadducees--See on
for the reason why this is specified.
19. by night--the same night.
20. all the words of this life--beautiful expression for that Life in
the Risen One which was the burden of their preaching!
21. entered into the temple, &c.--How self-possessed! the indwelling
Spirit raising them above fear.
called . . . all the senate, &c.--an unusually general convention,
though hastily summoned.
23. the prison . . . shut . . . keepers
. . . before the doors, but . . . no man
within--the reverse of the miracle in
a similar contrast to that of the nets at the miraculous draughts of
24-26. they doubted--"were in perplexity."
26. without violence, for they feared, &c.--hardened ecclesiastics,
all unawed by the miraculous tokens of God's presence with the apostles,
and the fear of the mob only before their eyes!
Ac 5:27-42. SECOND
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE
27, 28. ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine--noble testimony
to the success of their preaching, and (for the reason mentioned on
Ac 4:4) to the truth of their testimony, from reluctant lips!
28. intend to bring this man's blood upon us--They avoid naming Him
whom Peter gloried in holding up [BENGEL]. In speaking thus, they seem
to betray a disagreeable recollection of their own recent imprecation,
His blood be upon us," &c.
and of the traitor's words as he threw down the money, "I have sinned
in that I have betrayed innocent blood"
29, 30. Then Peter, &c. --(See on
Ac 2:22, and
Ac 3:13, &c.) .
31. Prince and a Saviour--the first word expressing that Royalty
which all Israel looked for in Messiah, the second the Saving
character of it which they had utterly lost sight of. Each of these
features in our Lord's work enters into the other, and both make one
glorious whole (compare
to give--dispensing as a "Prince."
repentance and remission of sins--as a "Saviour"; "repentance"
embracing all that change which issues in the faith which secures
Ac 2:38; 20:21).
How gloriously is Christ here exhibited; not, as in other places, as
the Medium, but as the Dispenser of all spiritual
32, 33. we are his witnesses . . . and the Holy Ghost--They as
competent human witnesses to facts, and the Holy Ghost as attesting them
by undeniable miracles.
33. cut to the heart and took--"were taking."
counsel to slay them--How different this feeling and the effect of it
from that "pricking of the heart" which drew from the first converts on
the day of Pentecost the cry, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
The words used in the two places are strikingly different.
34. Then stood up . . . Gamaliel--in all probability
one of that name celebrated in the Jewish writings for his wisdom, the
son of Simeon (possibly the same who took the infant Saviour in his
and grandson of HILLEL, another celebrated rabbi.
He died eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem [LIGHTFOOT].
35-39. Theudas--not the same with a deceiver of that name whom
JOSEPHUS mentions as heading an insurrection some twelve years after
this [Antiquities, 20.5.1], but some other of whom he makes no
mention. Such insurrections were frequent.
37. Judas of Galilee--(See on
Lu 2:2, and
Lu 13:1-3) [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 13.1.1].
38. if . . . of men, it will come to naught--This
neutral policy was true wisdom, in the then temper of the council. But
individual neutrality is hostility to Christ, as He Himself teaches
40-42. beaten them--for disobeying their orders (compare
41. departed . . . rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for his name--"thought worthy by God to be dishonored by man"
1Pe 4:14, 16)
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
This was their first taste of persecution, and it felt sweet for
His sake whose disciples they were.
42. in every house--in private. (See on
ceased not to preach Jesus Christ--that is, Jesus (to be the) Christ.