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The Black Panther

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Scripture

Acts 5:1–11 NRSV
But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body, then carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things.

Film Clip

Introduction

Introduction

This film clip is going to be somewhat long, almost 7 minutes but it sets the scene.
Well there you have it the Wakandan story and the Black Panther. They Wakandans have the most valuable resource in the world and they have chosen, frankly out of self righteousness to hoard it from the rest of the world.
As you can see theT’Chaka the King, the Black Panther has caught his brother trying to steal some of the vibranium to help his fellow black brothers and sisters to enjoy the same standard of living the Wakandans do. The Wakandans sincerely believe, for the good of the world, that the other nations would not be as responsible with the vabranium as they are.
They rest of the movie plays out the consequences of hoarding such a resource that could raise the standard of living of all races. The King you just saw goes on to kill his brother (because he does not show up in Wakanda to face the charges) rather than let him go ahead with his plans to share the vibranium. His brother wanted to start a race war with it. The King dies and takes this act of fratricide to the grave with him. Only Zuri, the other spy now a trusted member of the new King and Black Panther T’Challa’s cabinet knows the story.
Suddenly, appears, the slain Prince N’Jobu’s son Stevens a former US black operation officer and Navy Seal. He wants to carry out his Fatherhers legacy and has a right to challnge T’Challa’s right to the Throne. He defeats T’CHalla and begins his policy of sharing the technology and Vibranium with those of African descent that are oppressed.

Exegesis

W’ll stop this story right here, and will return to it. it is now time to see what this story has to do with Ananias and Sapphira.
This is a strange and frightening story. It’s way to easy to explain this away as symbolic or some kind of legend. This story is certainly written around a historic event, but we must remember that Acts is a theological history of the church’s first 30 or 40 years.
Luke places this story of deceit, right after and idyllic account of the early church. The church by this time has brown to some 8000 members from 120 before pentecost!
Acts 4:32–37 NRSV
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Acts 4:32-
As you can see what Tracey read compared to these verses are totally opposite. Barnabas brought all the money to the Apostles feet, not just some of it a positive view of life in the community. In this text we have a negative view of community. Now Ananias and Sapphira were not struck dead for not bringing all the money, the were struck dead as Peter says, “You did not lie to us, but to God!” it was the deceit that was the problem. They were not obliges to sell their property. They were not obliged to give all the proceeds to the church. However, they lied and deceived about what they had done! That was the problem.
Self righteously and deceptively, they wanted the recognition of being great benefactors of the church, while lying about it. They wanted the recognition Barnabas received, but wanted to hide their greed and selfishness! They wanted to be honored for their generosity, which was a lie! They both suffered the consequences for lying to God! Even when confronted after her husband’s death Sapphira continues the ruse!
Noe there are some unanswered question here:
How did Peter know of their plan?
Why didn’t Sapphira know of her husband’s death?
If Sapphira had confessed, or Ananias confessed would this have turned out differently?
Of course, we have no answers to the questions, any answer would be conjecture and not serve our purposes for today. So we are goin to have to be comfortable with these questions. is that
However, what we do know is that Ananias and Sapphira withheld valuable resources from the community and paid a great price for doing so, even when they didn’t have to do it. The did it to give people the misleading impression that they were generous givers like Barnabas. The were hiding their resources and true intentions and it cost them their lives. Their are consequences to misleading the community and hoarding resources.
We see this theological truth with the Wakandans! They withheld their great technology and resources from the world hiding as a third world country. They paid the price in T’Challa almost dying and their peaceful life turned to rebellion and war. Their are consequences for our actions. Their are consequence for with holding resources for a world that desperately needs them. Wakanda narrowly escapes a race war.

Application

Let me tell you a story (International Dinner)

Film Clip

We must find a way to look after one another as we are one single tribe.
That’s loving your neighbor, that’s having one heart and soul, what are you doing with your resources, your time talent and money?
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