The promised Holy Spirit’s baptism was fulfilled & experienced by the Apostles, not all of the disciples, but only to the Apostles, this can be emphasized by comparing this passage 1:1-5 with 1:26 – 2:4. It is important to clarify and establish which group was promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and which group was promised the gift of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. If we read the first few chapters of Acts in one setting, it is easy to see the distinction between disciples and Apostles. Acts 2:37-39 are the words the Apostle Peter addressed to any and all disciples, promising the indwelling Holy Spirit as a gift, if they repent and obey Christ in his baptism, not the baptism of Moses, not the baptism of John nor the baptism of the Spirit but Christ’s baptism. Paul knew how distinct the baptism of Christ was, and how the gift of His Spirit was promised within it, Acts 19. But he also knew how distinct the baptism of the Spirit was for the Apostle’s unique role of authority and power to establish the church while confirming the gospel with miracles & signs, Mark 16:20. It was only the Apostles that could choose any disciple and/or believer to lay hands on them, and they too would be able to confirm the word and help establish the church with miracles the Spirit would work through them, but that disciple could not lay hands on anyone to pass this work of the Spirit on to another disciple. That was only the Apostles prerogative and power.
The work of the Spirit is three-fold. Firstly in his activity creating the earth, Gen. 1:1-2 and renewing it, Psalm 104:30, Secondly in his mediation in establishing godly leaders for Israel’s success in Moses, Joshua, the Judges, the Prophets and Kings such as David, Deuteronomy 34:9-12. Thirdly in the giving of Himself to the Church via Christ’s Apostles and His baptism, Acts 2:38-39 & Acts 10:42-48.The measure of the Spirit in Jesus was immeasurable because Christ was God, He had the Holy Spirit without measure, See John 3:34. Therefore the work of the Spirit was perfect in Jesus. However the work of the Spirit in the Apostles was very powerful, (miraculous) but not perfect, they each were mere humans. Even Peter had to be rebuked by Paul for his intentional hypocrisy, Galatians 2:8-14. To understand why Christ’s Spirit works differently in the Apostles than He does in disciples we should consider the actions of Philip the disciple in introducing Simon the sorcerer to the Apostles Peter & John. Look closely at the wording of the story of Simon the sorcerer becoming a Christian, Acts 8:9-25. Watch his reaction and faith while reacting to the Apostles Peter & John. The work of the Spirit is different because the Apostles have a greater measure of the Spirit, than the measure of the Spirit in Philip. Simon did not offer Philip money for the ability to lay hands on others. It was the Apostles that had the larger measure of the Spirit and could lay hands on anyone they wanted to share powerful works in miracles. But disciples having experienced the Apostles’ hands being laid upon them could not pass the measure of work/activity on to others. That measure of work was only for the Apostles. They could work miracles by the Spirit with the measure they had, but only the Apostles could pass it on. Because of this very obvious fact amongst the Apostles, when Peter saw Cornelius, experiencing the Holy Spirit falling upon the Gentiles, he was astonished! See Acts 10:44-47. Peter knew no one could deny them the right to be baptized by water in Christ because the Spirit of Christ was ‘falling’ upon Cornelius’ household. This did not give Cornelius the ability to lay hands on anyone to give them a measure of the Spirit for working miracles. But truly they as Gentiles were holy as Jewish Christians were holy. This explains why Christ’s Spirit is working in two different ways between Apostles and Christians, ANY Christian! To ensure the Apostles were established as the only leaders with authority that Christians could not obtain, but yet show all of them united as One, having the exact same Holy Spirit of Christ.