There is this beautiful passage which appears in Chapter V of The Book of ACTS in the New Testament of the BIBLE. I would like to remind the reader that these things happened after Jesus was crucified and resurrected and Peter was running the nascent Christian fellowship in Israel (or whatever was left of it then!)
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
PETER, as could be seen from the various incidents reported in the Gospels, was an IMPULSIVE PERSON. Not only that he was IMPULSIVE, but also a WILLFUL person. No doubt, he suffered a lot for Jesus and if God had forgiven him who am i to judge? Yet, Peter along with the NEOPHYTE Paul, who declared himself to be the Apostle of the Gentiles had brought in a brand of Christianity, which in reverberating through the centuries and has become the stumbling block on which many a church foundations had been/ are being laid.
If i believe JESUS LIVES, i cannot submit to the belief that Peter had a better claim to Christianity than i have as a Christian merely on the grounds that Peter lived in the flesh along with Jesus in flesh.
JESUS SAID, “SELL ALL THAT YOU HAVE, GIVE IT TO THE POOR AND FOLLOW ME.”
Jesus did not want to benefit from the sale proceeds of anything which anyone had who followed Him. Of course His daily needs were met by many people around Him, but at no time did He command that anyone should sell something and hand over the proceeds to Judas. Jesus was supreme, whenever he wanted a colt he sent for it and told his disciples as at MATT 21. 3 :And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. Whenever Jesus wanted food he asked and took. Once bread and fish was furnished by a small boy which fed many and Jesus must have packed the boy a load out of the fragments of twelve baskets gathered after feeding those thousands! JESUS was a GIVER not a TAKER. HE definitely did not want to take from those who intended to follow Him.
I do remember that Abram (later renamed ABRAHAM), after he had pursued the 4 kings and recovered all and returned the goods to the King of Sodom, Abraham said: Genesis 14: 21-24
21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’— 24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”
If Abram wouldn’t take would JESUS take, who said, “BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS I AM!” That is the brand of Christianity that Jesus wanted. But Peter and Paul had IMMEDIATE interests and the victims were ANANIAS and SAPPHIRA! That brand of Christianity still continues and would till kingdom come. Peter and Paul built a Church based on FEAR, but that is not what Jesus wanted. He wanted people to give up their attachment to wealth and if that attachment were to be an impediment to their spiritual life, then they had to sell and come out of that ATTACHMENT.Let me give the prime examples of Jesus’ disciples who were wary of declaring themselves as His disciples: one was Joseph of Arimathea and the other was Nicodemus. They were RICH, but that did not come in the way of their following Jesus. Moreover, when Zacchaeus wanted to sell half of his goods and give to the poor, Jesus did not want a share in that! That was Jesus, but look at the followers who had turned CHRISTIANITY into THREATENING BEGGARY!
NOW MANY SUFFER FROM THIS FEAR- WHAT WILL THE PRIEST SAY? WHAT WILL THE PREACHER SAY? WHAT WILL THE PASTOR SAY? WHAT WILL THE BISHOP SAY?WHAT WILL THE CARDINAL SAY? WHAT WILL THE ARCH BISHOP SAY? WHAT WILL THE POPE SAY?
Instead CHRISTIANITY should be a free flowing offering made out of gratitude or LOVE. That would be Christianity. There was more GRATITUDE shown when the woman opened an alabaster box of ointment and wouldn’t stop wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair. THE MASTER SEES THE HEART.
LOVE EXPRESSES but FEAR REVEALS.