"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because He abides with you, and He will be in you."
And what's more, by receiving the Holy Spirit the followers of Jesus gained a new ability as well as courage. They were all able to speak in different languages that up to then they knew nothing about. There were many people in Jerusalem at the time.
There were "... Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
To the early disciples, the Holy Spirit was real indeed. They had
experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. They received Him at Pentecost
in tongues of fire and they were able to speak to the crowds that
gathered in different languages. Peter explained to the crowd that the
disciples had received God's Holy Spirit.
The disciples, and early Christians, now knew for certain that the one and only living God they believed in, whom Abraham, Moses, and the prophets had spoken of, had sent His only Son Jesus to earth. Because they had met Jesus. They also knew that Jesus had sent His Holy Spirit upon them, because they had experienced the Holy Spirit.
To them this was all a reality. Something they had seen, experienced and understood. Not some sort of Holy Trinity puzzle of three in one yet each one separate from the three.
Because the disciples had experienced the Holy Spirit, He became such a force in their lives, giving them strength to spread the Good News that Jesus had taught them, enabling them to live as Jesus had lived.
Can you imagine that? Imagine that you suddenly not only had the courage to proclaim your belief in God at work, or at the supermarket, or in the street; but you also could speak your beliefs in French, German, or any other language that you do not know to make yourself understood by your audience.
Think about it for a moment. Not only do you suddenly have the courage to speak up; but you can do it in any language.
To the followers of Jesus gathered there on that day, receiving the Holy Spirit was a real event in their lives. It was not something they had read about in some old scrolls, or heard about it from some prophet. To them this was real indeed. And it became real for the rest of their lives. When they met and spoke about receiving the Holy Spirit they meant exactly that.
And afterwards, even though some people had been baptised as followers of Christ, it was not until they too had received the Holy Spirit that their lives truly changed. (Acts 8:14-17).
Imagine for instance some major event happening in your life. In future, when you describe this event to others who had not been there; to you, this event was and will always be a reality. It happened. You witnessed it. You were there. And now you can tell others about it.
Sadly though, with the passage of time, the story of Pentecost, or more precisely, the significance and understanding of receiving the Holy Spirit, has been diluted over the years.
People these days do not understand what it means to receive the Holy Spirit. Some don't even believe it. Others think that it was a once in a lifetime event. It happened years ago the the followers of Christ. What has it to do with me right now, today?
The reality is that we can all receive the Holy Spirit into our souls today. All we have to do is to believe it is possible; and to sincerely ask God to send us the Holy Spirit.
I have known people with the Holy Spirit. They are usually more at peace with themselves and the world than the rest of us. Assured of God's love and protection. Always calm and able to speak God's Word and to give advice when needed in a peaceful reassuring way.
I find it difficult to describe such people and their demeanour and attitude to life. But believe me, once you know someone with the Holy Spirit you will certainly know and notice that they are different to other people.