English Standard Version (ESV)
I've read this passage so many times, and I still can't even begin to imagine what it was like. I like to think the disciples were expecting something, but how can you begin to wrap your imagination around this? It's a scene from a movie, with special effects and all, and it's due to the fact that the God who shaped the stars in the sky has decided to send his Holy Spirit to dwell within you. How does one picture this without it happening?
In today's day and age, I think it's vital to note just what the Spirit gave them power to do. In modern religion, if we were writing this, we'd probably say the Holy Spirit made them feel good about themselves and their relationship with Jesus, and we might be tempted to let it stop there. We've so personalized the Gospel that we've left out the horizontal nature of religion -- we forget how intertwined we are, how we have a responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit gave them the ability and boldness to speak to others, to tell them the Good News of the Gospel. Pentecost is a story of the Gospel going forth and being shared. The Holy Spirit came to send! And just as the Spirit came then, the same Spirit whispers to us now, calling us beyond our comfort levels and sending us into the world, to speak and relate to the strangers in our midst, so that all might know of the Good News of the Kingdom!!!