Jesus told Pilate He came – “to bear witness to the truth…”
“And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding,
that we may know him that is true,
and we are in him that is true,
even in his Son Jesus Christ.
This is the true God, and eternal life.”
1 John 5:20
The world we live in lives with a shortage of truth. Without the wisdom of God found in the knowledge of the Truth, we are prey to the lies floating through the air as it carries them to all who will receive them and be deceived. We are told the only real way to know the truth is to study it. Then the false becomes evident. As followers of Christ, who is the truth, we house the Holy Spirit in us that testifies to the truth. The early church experienced this knowledge first hand.
The Account (adapted from Acts 5:1-11)
“Look, we’re going to do this, Sapphira,” explained Ananias. “Who is going to know? After all, we are still being generous.”
Sapphira’s unsure smile and hesitant nod gave way to a sigh of resignation. Her husband was right. She watched him place the money for the sale of their property in two separate bags. One he tucked underneath his cloak safe inside his belt. The other he handed to her.
“Find a safe place for this while I take the rest to the disciples,” ordered Ananias.
“But where? We will need to leave our home and property. I don’t know where …”
Ananias huffed. “I don’t know. Make a pocket inside your cloak for it. We will figure that out later.” He shook his head and marched out the door.
Sapphira busied herself sewing a pocket to carry the only possession they had left – silver coins.
“Where could he be?” She asked aloud to no one. She paced in and out the door looking for her husband. She released a deep sigh. “I’m done waiting. I’ll go to the disciples and find out what has happened to Ananias. Maybe they sent him on an errand – or maybe he was robbed on the way?” Fear gripped her heart.
“Peter, I’ve come in search of my husband. Has he been here? He had an offering from the sale of our property.” Sapphira wrung her sweaty hands as she glanced around the room.
“Yes, Ananias was here,” answered Peter. “Tell me, did you really sell your land for this amount?”
Sapphira’s eyes grew large and her breathing rapid. “Yes, that is the amount.” A noise from behind her caused her to turn as some young men, dirty and tired-looking stepped inside the doorway.
As Peter challenged her, she turned to face him. “How is it you and Ananias agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?”
Sapphira licked her dry lips as she searched the room for help. But found none. The last words she heard came from Peter.
“The young men who just came in are the ones who buried your husband and now will carry you out.”
Sapphira immediately fell down at Peter’s feet and died. The young men carried her out and buried her by her husband. Did anyone retrieve the money they held so tightly to? We don’t know. The money was not the issue. It was the heart of those who had forsaken the truth.
- “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
- but in deed and in truth.
- And hereby we know that we are of the truth,
- and shall assure our hearts before him.
- For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things …
- When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it;
- for he hath no pleasure in fools:
- pay that which thou hast vowed.
- Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
- Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin …” 1 John 3:18-20; Ecclesiastes 5:4-6a
Ananias and Sapphira wanted to look like those who had a true heart to follow Jesus. Peter made it clear to Ananias he wasn’t lying to the disciples but to God the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of truth which came forth from Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. And he knows what is in our hearts.
Jesus confessed he came to bear witness of the truth. He has given us the same responsibility. We are called to bear witness to his image in us. For as God is holy we are to be holy. And Jesus, God the Son, is the Truth. We are witnesses of the Truth in a world dominated by the father of all lies, Satan, who was a liar and murderer from the beginning. The apostle Paul admonishes us –
“Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth …”
Ephesians 6:14a (NASB20)
Jesus is the Truth that holds all else together. His truth does not change with circumstances. Believing or not believing the truth does not change it. Truth stands. Do you?