Our culture is fascinated with the supernatural. Proof? I recently saw a commercial for a new show: Long Island Medium. The medium, grasping hands with a crying wife, is speaking things about a dead husband which she couldn’t possibly have known without her powers (or off-camera research?). I can already tell this show will be a hit. The media is spotlighting the “positive work” of this woman and the compassionate “help” she offers others. It’s advertised as a “feel-good” show. Most people who will appear on the Long Island Medium will be hurting. They will be driven by some sort of pain – a broken relationship, a lost loved one, a past failure, an out-of-reach goal.
Years ago, another hurting woman encountered a man of power. Through supernatural power, He revealed her secrets. He spoke into her failures and offered hope. He gave her a mission and restored her reputation. He connected her to God. She came thirsty; she left quenched.
You would think a story such as this one would please our culture’s appetite for supernatural encounters, but this story is found in the Bible, John chapter four, and our culture has a strong aversion to scriptural authority.
However, if you are truly seeking the supernatural, and if you dare to open its pages, you’ll find more supernatural events in the Bible: the creation of the world out of nothing and by the spoken word, people raised from the dead, a few hundred people defeating thousands, a burning bush unconsumed by its flame, and direct conversation between Almighty God and a man with a glowing face. Perhaps most supernatural of all is the resurrection of a Messiah who took upon his sinless self your sins and your woundedness.
The difference between these supernatural events and the Long Island Medium? The source of the power. The Bible sets up only two powers: God and Satan. Supernatural that is not from the Godhead (Father, Son, and Spirit) is from Satan. No human has a supernatural gifting apart from either of these sources, hence the term “supernatural” – beyond human ability.
The supernatural of Father, Son, and Spirit will not be manipulated. It comes with moral parameters. It comes with an agenda – God’s kingdom agenda. These are two things our culture does not appreciate – restriction of morals and restriction of freedom. We don’t want to be told we can’t live a certain way; we don’t want to follow someone else’s agenda. Thus, the Lond Island Medium appeals to our culture – supernatural without restrictions.
Another strike against Biblical supernatural is the way it is aquired – through submission to Jesus Christ and the infilling of His Spirit. Our culture isn’t attracted to submission. It’s attracted to selfish gain. You don’t get selfish gain from God. You get gain, in the form of blessing, it’s just not for your own sake. Scripture is clear that following Jesus is taking up a cross and denying yourself. Can you live a life of power through submission to Christ? Absolutely. Will you receive glory for it? No. Will your spiritual thirst be satisfied? Yes.
The woman from John 4 came to the well and experienced living water. I’m not sure we will be able to say the same about the participants on Long Island Medium who will come thirsty to the well of worldly power.
photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com