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Summary: Jesus knew and suffered due to the reality of sin in the human heart. But when He physically left the earth, His message was not a pessimistic one. Summarizing who he was and what difference this should make for everyone is stated in what is known as the

Avid readers often will credit this or that writer for luring them into a lifelong love of a genre. For those who love science fiction, it offeres grand, cosmic landscapes on which to project the boundless possibilities of life. Yet for one writer, Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012), who died this week, he showed that humanity would always be humanity — violent, cruel, self-destructive — whether on earth or anywhere else. In direct contrast to the original Star Trek and other utopian sci-fi worlds, Bradbury turned futurism turned on its head. Farenheit 451 warned about the power of passive technologies to destroy our minds and sap our political will. Even more depressing was The Martian Chronicles, which presented the red planet as just another venue for human colonialization, war-making and bickering. Much of what Bradbury wrote wasn’t really science fiction, but was more properly described as (what we now call) imaginative fiction. In summing up his work, one writer described it that: "He showed me that the most exotic adventures in life always lead back to an examination of our original sin — the space in our hearts as inky black as outer space itself. (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/06/jonathan-kay-on-ray-bradbury-1920-2012-science-ficitons-most-depressing-prophet/)

Jesus knew and suffered due to the reality of sin in the human heart. But when He physically left the earth, His message was not a pessimistic one. Summarizing who he was and what difference this should make for everyone is stated in what is known as the Ascension. The story of the ascension is recorded only by Luke. However, he recorded it twice, as the conclusion of his first work and as the beginning of his second (Acts 1:6–11). Mention of the Ascension is found in the longer ending of Mark (cf. Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 1 Tim 3:16; Eph 4:8–10; 1 Pet 3:22; Heb 4:14; 6:19–20; 9:24.), but the clearest NT reference outside of Luke-Acts is found in John 20:17 from which the term “ascension” comes. According to Acts 1:3, He ascended to heaven forty days after His resurrection (Gingrich, R. E. (2001). The Gospel of Luke (69–70). Memphis, TN.: Riverside Printing.),.

Because of the Ascension, Jesus has become “the firstfruits” of his people through his resurrection and ascension and therefore guarantees the final redemption of those in union with him (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). As a result of their unity with Jesus, there is a sense in which believers have ascended into Heaven with him. Thus where the head is, there are the members (cf. Ephesians 1:20–22). Paul writes, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). The present exaltation of believers is a fact that will be seen fully at Christ’s return. We have ascended with him, and we are to glory in it now! (Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke : That you may know the truth. Preaching the Word (425–426). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)

We can do this in seeing: 1) The Commission (Luke 24:44-49), and 2) The Consecration (Luke 24:50–53)

1) The Commission (Luke 24:44-49),

Luke 24:44-49 [44]Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." [45]Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, [46]and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, [47]and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. [48]You are witnesses of these things. [49]And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (ESV)

Having assured the disciples of His physical resurrection (Luke 24:36–43), Jesus now gives them His final instructions. As with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He explains to them that what is written in the three sections that make up the Scriptures (the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, i.e., the Writings) had to be fulfilled. Thus the Christ had to die and rise from the dead. To fulfill the Scriptures something else must also be accomplished, however, and this will be the theme of the second part of Luke’s work, i.e., the Book of Acts. This involves the preaching in Jesus’ name of repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all peoples, beginning in Jerusalem. The disciples are Jesus’ witnesses, and they are to proclaim what they themselves have seen and heard. First, however, they are to wait in Jerusalem until Jesus sends the promise of his Father (the promise of Joel 2:28–32) so they will be divinely empowered to fulfill this mission. In two other Gospels, as well as in the longer ending of Mark, there exists some form of a final commissioning scene (cf. Matt 28:19–20; John 20:21–23; Mark 16:15–16).

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