Astonished were they in an age nearly 400 years long without God speaking. Astonishing today in an age many consider scripture as being irrelevant. The power is still there for those who seek/receive it.
Interesting that there was a consious effort by Jesus to quiet the testimony of those who had been healed or depossesed. Often they were directed merely to go tell their priest in submission/accordance to the Levitical Law.
Jesus speaks of many laborers, men reaping harvest from what others had sown. The word is being sown in many fashions, the testimony of the Samaritan woman at the well, the gossip in Galilee where Jesus had earlier turned water to wine, Jesus' own testimony, the public acknowledgements of John the Baptist and his disciples. The sowers go back even further to the efforts of the prophets and of old. When God is truly behind something important to Himself as this, the means and methods of planting and harvesting cannot be limited to human terms. Neither should we limit God in our minds in our day in what He is doing all around us in the harvest fields.
Two ways of interrupting this: The apostles were focused on solely giving testimony of the resurrection. The combination of what they were saying about the resurrection and what the Spirit was doing was powerful. Or, what the Spirit was doing testified/confirmed/was a seal of the resurrection. Apostles were being used by the Spirit powerfully to confirm that the resurrection indeed had transpired and that the new covenant was now under way. The two understandings would not have to be exclusive.
For all the problems and difficulties we have with this communal lifestyle, it is a curious and proactive means of testifying of "grace upon us", a built in testimony to the outside world. We today must be careful of what that testimony would be should we consider going back to this. Would it be of "grace upon us" or "hey man... far out, lookin' groovy" or "ten months later they all disbanded disillusioned and broke". It may well have been perfect for that time, but even then it was vulnerable to considerable direct attack; from without and within. One must ask as well - is our form of "grace upon us" testimony living non communally any better?
The Lord makes evangelical opportunities to speak for those that are watching for them. For most of us that means the daily one on one talks. For some that means the larger event or location based individual or team efforts. The fact that Paul asks us to pray for these means that the Lord does seek these types of prayers.
The emphasis of the word fear is not only on the sheer terror of this event but also on the reverence toward the controller of of such uncontrollable elements. That this happened in the manner that it happened for the people who were in this moment could only have been the hand of God. For us who now read of this event there is intellectual wiggle room and physical detachment from these occurrences that these many witnesses were not privy to. It is interesting to see how in the coming hours/days how this fear/reverence too wore down; a testament to the tendencies of the self justifying human reprobate will.
2012 - pBiblx2 Field Wise Bible System Version 2.0.9d - GPL3