The church was birthed in the miraculous. A gust of wind from a supernatural source; tongues that looked like fire that were seen by all, languages spoken clearly that were utterly unknown to all that spoke them, verified by the hearers from varied peoples and nations. There were 120 who were talking in different languages on that day. Sixteen ethnic groups are referred to in the body of listeners, and the scripture tells us that every person present heard the works of God extolled in their own language (Acts 2:6). The settled, traditional obedient Jewish and racially non-Jewish adherents to Judaism were dumbfounded. We are told that on that first day, with the wind, the fire, the tongues and the preaching, 3,000 people reset their deep set traditions and beliefs in the Old Testament and their expectation of the coming Messiah, to the reality that Jesus of Nazareth was He for whom they were looking and anxiously waiting. The tin was opened and the contents could not be returned to the tidy container of Judaistic tradition. God was out on the streets.
We have people healed through the hands, the prayers, the pronouncements and the ministry of the Apostles (Acts chapter 3. Acts 9:32 -35 ). There were, publicly and clearly, supernatural goings on. We have these disciples of Christ who were cowardly hiding, and even denying that they knew Christ at all at the time of His Passion, looking death straight in the eye via those that had the power to have them executed, and telling them as if they were Sunday School beginners that Christ was Lord and Messiah, as well as accusing them of His murder. Supernatural?
We have a prayer meeting where the building in which they prayed, literally shook with the power that they were asking for (Acts 4:31). We have people dropping dead for attempting to deceive the ministers and defraud God, saying that they had happily given all, when they had not (Acts 5:1 – 11). We have the paradox of thousands of people getting converted and joining these “Jesus People,” and thousands also simply afraid to get physically near to them in case something “supernatural” might happen against them (Acts 5:13). We have “many signs and wonders” done by the hands of the Apostles (Acts 5:12). We are told that the water table of faith and expectancy was so high that people brought their sick relatives and family and positioned them so that the healing shadow of Peter would fall on them as he passed (Acts 5:15).
This ministry of the supernatural was extended beyond the twelve. Stephen and Philip, two of the newly appointed “non ministerial” members saw the miraculous in their “lay-man’s” ministry just as the apostles did (Acts 6:8, Acts 8:6). When people embraced the Christian faith in Samaria, for some reason that we are not told about, the new Samaritan Christians did not “receive the Holy Spirit.” What! Nothing visibly supernatural at conversion? That can’t be right! So Peter and John went, laid their hands on the new Christians, and the Samaritans also received what the apostles had received, which logically could only be the tongues and prophecy that were present in Acts 2 (Acts 8: 15-16). We have angelic Directors of Evangelistic Strategy (Acts 8:26). We have the Holy Spirit whisking preachers away and allowing them to reappear in another place miles away in order to carry on with their preaching. “Beam me aboard Scotty!” But this was divinely supernatural, not Sci-fi. (Acts 8:39-40).
We have miraculous visions of Christ (Acts 9:3 -7), and supernatural predictive visions of what ministers would do before they did them (Acts 9:10-16). We have the raising of the dead (Acts 9:36 -42) and visions that were radical in their concept cryptically teaching them how to handle certain situations before they were to encounter them (Acts 10 and 11). Again we have the Holy Spirit falling on people facilitating them to be speaking in other tongues and prophesying (Acts 10:44-46). This “tongues phenomena” was obviously the normal experience throughout the church. The church had established “prophets” by the time of Acts 11 (Acts 11: 27), and prophecy by its very nature is supernatural – or it just isn’t prophecy, is it?
I know what you’re going to say now: “It’s just like the church I go to every week!”