Ananias and Sapphira thought they could decieve God. They presented a falsehood as a truth, and it cost them their lives. It was their land to do with what they pleased. No one asked them to sell it, and after they sold it, no one asked them for the money. They had seen the example of Barnabas, who was a true believer, but unlike Barnabas, they did not trust the providence of God. They held back an amount for themselves, a security, and worse, they claimed what they were giving was the full amount. They thought they could serve both God and themselves. Peter’s reaction is a condemnation of the hypocrisy. Ananias was a false witness, a liar. Sapphira also lied, even after given a chance to be honest! Selfishness and deceit are in contradiction to the Spirit! The greater cause of the apostles was lied to and betrayed.
This persecution is just the begining for the apostles. Their lives soon would be threatened. God sets us free from our prisons, that we may serve him. He freed the Israelites from Egypt, and he freed the apostles from there prison, so His will can be done. The high priest and his council found the jail was empty, and were confused, astounded, wondering what would come next. They thought they had destroyed this “Jesus”, and yet he will not go away. The apostles were teaching out in the courtyard as God commanded them, unafraid. The council again threatened them, and again, the apostles would not deny Christ. This enraged the council!
The Pharisee Gamilel, who was the teacher of the apostle Paul, spoke to the council. It would be foolish to try and overthrow these men, if indeed they were doing the work of God. If the apostles were not of God, then they would fail, but if it was, the council could end up opposing the will of God.
The coucil had the apostles flogged, and let them go. They endured for Jesus, and did not forsake preaching his name.