Going Up! (AKA, Jesus in Space) Heretic’s Guide Bible Study Sampler

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!)

Gospel
Luke 24:44-53
Jesus gives the disciples the power to understand the scriptures clearly. He claims he is given the ability to impart this power to them from God. He ascends to heaven and they wait for further instruction in Jerusalem, praising both God and Jesus in the meantime.

First Reading
Acts 1:1-11
The disciples are to be empowered by the Holy Spirit soon. They want to know when; Jesus tells them that timing isn’t any of their business. Then Jesus ascends into heaven.

Psalm
Psalm 47 or Psalm 93
Both psalms of praise, depicting God as ruler on high, and as a God that uplifts creation.

Second Reading
Ephesians 1:15-23
Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus proclaims the authority and lordship of Jesus over all of creation, as endowed by God. He also prays that they will receive the power of wisdom from God.

 

WTF? (Breaking down scripture in plain language)

Theophilus – The name of the author credited with writing both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. It means “Love of God” in Greek.

Baptized – A ritual Christians use to indicate dying to the “old ways” of the world and being born again into a new life with Jesus.

Apostles – Means “One who is sent.” The longer name for the book of Acts is “Acts of the Apostles,” or basically, what they did to start the Christian church after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus’ followers were originally called disciples, and as they were “sent out” to spread the Gospel, and many of them subsequently became apostles.

Christ – Some folks mistakenly think Jesus’ last name was “Christ.” Actually, he was known as Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus the Nazarene. “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, which means “anointed.” Anointed means to be particularly marked, chosen or empowered.

 

Navel-Gazing (First Thoughts)

  • It’s all about the POWER this week. Makes me think of Jesus more like He-Man with his giant sword on top of Grayskull: “I have the powerrrrrr!” Levitating Jesus is hard enough to comprehend, then we have the God presented in the psalms, which is all about being lord and sitting on a big throne, floating in the sky. Between you and me, I could relate a lot better to the pre-crucifixion Jesus.
  • From these texts, we can definitely see where people would have gotten the sense that heaven is “up there” somewhere in the clouds. But it wasn’t that long ago in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus was calling on God to bring God’s kingdom to the earth. Are they separate? Is God closing the gap? Why did Jesus have to go away anyway? Why couldn’t he have hung out for, say, a couple thousand more years to help us sort this whole faith thing out?

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About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • mhelbert

    I think Theophilus was the recipient of the writings ascribed to Luke.

    • http://www.facebook.com/christiandpiatt Christian Piatt

      right, thanks for the correction


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