Monday, January 30, 2006

NT06: Acts 4-5, in which persecution begins but cooler heads prevail

In Acts 4 and 5, Peter and James suffer the consequences of healing the crippled beggar. It's interesting that the Sadducees are upset because Peter and James are preaching not just Jesus risen, but resurrection in general. (The Sadducess did not believe in a resurrection of the dead, as did the Pharisees.)

The end of 4 and the beginning of 5, where the early community of believers held goods in common, may describe the first commune. Marx thoroughly perverted "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Never underestimate the devil's ability to to twist good into evil. Likewise, never lose hope that God works all things for the good of those that love Him!

5:1-5 imples that Ananias represented the money he gave was the whole price he got from the sale. Verse 4 implies that since the money was his to do with as he pleased, he would have been perfectly justified in holding some of it back for personal use. The grave sin was in trying to "look good" while really holding out. Verse 5 says that great fear seized all who heard of this. Fear of what? One hopes, fear of lying about one's gifts, not fear of not giving.

I find it very interesting that it's Gamaliel who cautions the Sanhedrin about oppsing God's designs. it's widely thought that Gamaliel was the father of Hillel, who is widely oconsidered to be the father of Rabbinic Judaism. To this day, part of the Seder meal is eating a "Hillel Sandwich," a combination of matzoh, maror, and charoset (minus the Paschal lamb eaten in Hillel's time.)

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