This section of the book of Acts begins and ends with stories of the early followers of Jesus pooling their resources so that the needs of all were met, but in the last account of this we find a disturbing scene of the devastating consequences for a couple who try to cheat at this. When we gather this Sunday, we will discuss this story, but it should not overshadow the larger flow of the narrative as a whole.
Notice the ambiguity in the story regarding the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. Does God strike them dead? What is Peter’s roll? Can their deaths be explained as self-inflicted, stress related, etc.? What is Luke trying to accomplish by including this troubling tale?
In the larger narrative from 2:43 to 5:11, notice the oscillation between courage and fear. Notice also the repeated references to the role of the Holy Spirit. What is the relationship of the Sprit to the tension between fear and boldness?