Summary of passage: Ananias sold some property with his wife’s knowledge with the intent to give the proceeds to the Lord. Instead, he kept part of the money for himself. Peter calls him on it, asking him how he has lied to the Holy Spirit. Thus, Ananias fell down dead. Fear seized all who heard Ananias’ tale (understandable). He was buried.
Three hours later not knowing what has happened to her husband, Sapphira comes in and tells Peter the same thing. Peter says she too is testing the Holy Spirit. She too fell down dead. Great fear seized the whole church (NOTE: First time the word church is used in the Bible).
The Apostles continue to heal many people. More and more people became believers. Crowds gathered for healing.
The Sadducees (the Jewish elite and law-makers) arrested the Apostles for what they were doing. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and told them to go to the temple courts and keep proclaiming the Good News.
The next morning, the guards seized the Apostles again, baffled by how they escaped. The Sanhedrin questioned them thoroughly, asking why they violated their order not to teach in Jesus’ name. Peter and the others reply, “We must obey God rather than men!…We are witnesses and so is the Holy Spirit.”
The Pharisees wanted to put the men to death but one named Gamaliel spoke wisdom, saying if these men are from God, you will not be able to stop them because then you would be fighting God himself.
Still, the Apostles were flogged and ordered to not speak in the name of Jesus. Shockingly, the Apostles left rejoicing for their suffering because it was for God. Day after day, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is the Christ.
8a) You have lied to the Holy Spirit and tested the Holy Spirit so they fell down and died.
b) God takes lying and deceiving him very seriously. He doesn’t like people misrepresenting themselves before Him and others for personal gain. He doesn’t like pride, greed, and pretenses of spirituality.
9a) Verse 32
b) Verse 32
10a) The apostles rejoiced at their flogging because they had deemed them worthy of suffering for Jesus. They never stopped teaching about Jesus despite their suffering.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Literally, no. Who amongst us has ever been flogged for Jesus? Not many in the US. However, one can be flogged verbally for speaking about Jesus and persecuted in other ways (such as ostracism). It happens less and less in today’s society but it does happen. In my times of personal suffering, I like to think I honor Jesus and God by praying, hoping, and keeping the faith. For this too shall pass.
Conclusions: Great life lesson for all of us–the Apostles rejoiced at their suffering for God. Many of us think we are suffering (and in our world, we are) but when we think about the physical act of being flogged (whipped repeatedly) our suffering is nothing compared to the Apostles’.
So the question then becomes: are we suffering for God?
End Note: Solomon’s Colonnade (also known as Solomon’s Porch) “was a roofed colonnade in the temple build by Herod the Great. It may have been so named because of the tradition that Solomon had once constructed a similar E wall and cloister. It was here that Jesus walked and talked during his Feast of Dedication (John 10:23).”
Taken from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney.
Very detailed site with modern-day pictures here: http://templemountlocation.com/triplegate.html