Untimely Deaths in the Book of Acts

Judas (Acts 1:15-20)

  • Judas’ death recorded earlier (Matthew 27:3-5), but discussed here
  • His death fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (Acts 1:20; Psalm 69:25; 109:8)
  • He was a disciple (Acts 1:17) — Christians can betray Christ just as Judas did (Hebrews 6:6)

Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)

  • Follows accounts of great benevolence by Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 4:32-37)
  • Do not place too much value on the things of this world (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • Benevolence is good & necessary (Galatians 6:10)
  • Don’t compare yourself with others — do what you are able to do (2 Corinthians 8:1-5,12)

Stephen (Acts 7:54-60)

  • First martyr for the cause of Christ
  • He was one of great character (Acts 6:3,15)
  • He boldly preached the gospel (Acts 6:9-14; 7:51-53)
  • We may face persecution (1 Peter 3:13-17) — trust in God (1 Peter 4:19)
  • Have a spirit of forgiveness (Acts 7:60)
  • Death is temporary (“he fell asleep” Acts 7:60) — so do not fear (Matthew 10:28)

Herod (Acts 12:20-23)

  • Herod had already demonstrated himself to be an enemy of the gospel (Acts 12:1-4)
  • The people praised him as a god (Acts 12:22) — they looked to him as their source of blessings rather than God (James 1:17)
  • Herod accepted their praise, rather than rejecting it as Paul & Barnabas did later (Acts 14:11-15,18)
  • Therefore, he died a slow & painful death

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