5:1 But 1 a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
(1) Luke shows by contrary examples how great a sin hypocrisy is, especially in those who under a false pretence and cloak of zeal seem to shine and be of great importance in the Church. 5:2 And a kept back [part] of the price, his wife also being privy [to it], and brought a certain part, and laid [it] at the apostles feet.
(a) Craftily took away. 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan b filled thine heart c to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?
(b) Fully possessed. 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou d conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
(c) For when they had appointed that farm or possession for the Church, they were foolish to keep away a part of the price, as though they were dealing with men, and not with God, and therefore he says afterwards that they tempted God.
(d) By this is meant an advised and purposeful deceit, and the fault of the man in listening to the devils suggestions. 5:9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to e tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the f door, and shall carry thee out.
(e) Look how often men do things with an evil conscience; and so they pronounce sentence against themselves, and as much as in them lies, they provoke God to anger, as they do this on purpose, in order to test whether he is just and almighty or not. 5:11 2 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
(f) Are at hand.
(2) The Lord by his marvellous power bridles some so that they may not hurt the Church: others he keeps in awe and fear of him: and others he draws unto himself. 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people g magnified them.
(g) Highly praised them. 5:17 3 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the h sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
(3) The more that the Church increases, the more the rage os Satan increases, and therefore they proceed from threats to imprisonment. 5:19 4 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
(h) The word which is used here is "heresy", which signifies a choice, and so is taken for a right form of learning, or faction, or study and course of life, which the Latins call a sect: at first this word was used indifferently, but at length it came to be used only in reference to evil, whereupon came the name of "heretic" which is taken for one that goes astray from sound and wholesome doctrine in such a way that he thinks lightly of the judgment of God and his Church, and continues in his opinion, and breaks the peace of the Church.
(4) Angels are made servants of the servants of God. 5:20 5 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the i words of this life.
(5) God therefore delivers his own, so that they may more vigorously provoke his enemies. 5:21 6 And when they heard [that], they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
(i) Words by which the way unto life is shown.
(6) God mocks his enemies attempts from above. 5:25 7 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
(7) The more openly that Christs power shows itself, the more the madness of his enemies who conspire against him increases. 5:26 8 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
(8) Tyrants who do not fear God are forced to fear his servants. 5:28 9 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend k to bring this mans blood upon us.
(9) It is the characteristic of tyrants to set down their own commandments as right and proper, be they ever so wicked. 5:29 10 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
(k) Make us guilty of murdering that man whom yet they will not condescend to name.
5:30 11 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
(10) We should obey man only in so far that in obeying him we also obey God.
5:32 12 And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
(11) Christ is appointed and indeed declared Prince and preserver of his Church, in spite of his enemies.
5:33 When they heard [that], they l were cut [to the heart], and took counsel to slay them.
(12) It is not sufficient for us that there is a proper goal, but we must also according to our calling go forward until we come to it.
(l) This shows that they were in a most vehement rage, and tremendously disquieted in mind, for it is a borrowed kind of speech taken from those who are harshly cut in pieces with a saw. 5:34 13 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
5:36 14 For before these days rose up Theudas, m boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
(13) Christ finds defenders of his cause, even in the very company of his enemies, as often as he thinks necessary.
5:38 And now I say unto you, n Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of o men, it will come to nought:
(14) In matters of religion we must take good heed that we attempt nothing under a pretence of zeal to which we have not been called.
(m) To be of same fame.
(n) He dissuades his fellows from murdering the apostles, neither does he think it good to refer the matter to the Roman magistrate, for the Jews could endure nothing worse than to have the tyranny of the Romans confirmed. 5:41 15 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
(o) If it is counterfeit and devised.
5:42 And daily in the p temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
(15) The apostles, accustomed to suffer and bear words, are eventually accustomed to bearing stripes, and yet in such a way that by means of them they become stronger.
(p) Both publicly and privately.