Urantia Book 22. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of the Universe of Nebadon. John and his disciples’ preaching became more intense than ever with the events surrounding Jesus. About 3 weeks after Jesus left them, priests and Pharisees came asking questions: “Are you Elijah? Are you the Messiah? Why are you baptizing these people? Why are you creating this stir?” John finally said: “I declare to you that, while I baptize with water, there has been among us one who will return to baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (135.9.4). Jesus came back on January 23, a Sabbath morning. The next day he went to Galilee and they never saw each other again. A quarter of John’s disciples followed Jesus, and John went south, but he was sad and confused. His preaching changed, and he began to criticize Herod Antipas. Herod was afraid John would foment rebellion, so he had him arrested. John’s disciples scattered, many of them going to Jesus. John was lonely and bitter in prison. He thought, if Jesus were the Messiah, he ought to get him magically released from prison. Prison was a great test of John’s faith in Jesus, and even God. Some of John’s disciples visited him and pointed out that Jesus was not even trying to get John released from prison. But John defended Jesus, saying he (John) was not the bridegroom, only the friend of the bridegroom, and that Jesus must increase while he (John) must decrease. John’s words were a rebuke to his disciples, and they went away silently. John, however, was agitated because he had just uttered a prophecy; he would never again doubt the divinity of Jesus. Why didn’t Jesus try to get John released from prison? Jesus knew the glorious destiny planned for John after his passing, and he would not interfere with his destiny. He did send a message confirming his identity as God, which brought John great comfort.****** Herod didn’t know what to do with John. John refused Herod’s requests that he leave Herod’s domains. John also refused to cease public activities. Herod was afraid John would foment rebellion if released, and was afraid of public rage if John were executed. Herod liked John. He would talk with him about the kingdom of heaven. But Herodias, Herod’s unlawful wife, hated John. She nagged Herod to have him put to death. Failing this, she schemed to have John killed during a trick at Herod’s birthday party. She would take advantage of Herod’s fondness for young girls and his addiction to alcohol. Herodias waited for the right time when Herod was sufficiently inebriated, and presented her daughter to entertain the guests. Her daughter was coached to dance seductively and slip out of some of her clothes. Herod’s attention was suddenly focused on the girl and he put her on his lap. He was so overcome with a girl that he hadn’t even noticed before that he promised her she could have anything she wanted. She told him what it was, and Herod sobered-up. He had to follow through; all the guests would expect it. So he sent the message that would be talked about for 2000 years and had John’s head brought to the daughter of Herodias.******************* John and Jesus had different approaches and styles in their preaching. John’s message was “Repent! Flee from the wrath to come!” Jesus, on the other hand, preached good tidings, the joy and liberty of the new kingdom. The Jews were looking forward to a Messiah, an anointed one, who would be prophet, priest and king. By magical acts he would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel to national glory. Salvation of souls didn’t occur to them–didn’t figure into the equation, so it becomes obvious that Jesus would never be their acknowledged Messiah. And this is because they had lost sight of the personality of the Messiah. They could have seen Jesus as the terminator of one age and the inaugurator of a new and better dispensation of mercy and salvation for all nations (136.1.3). The Jews were very confused about their nation’s relationship to human sin, repentance and redemption. They just did not know how they worked; they just had theories. But they did believe the Messiah would relieve them of their sins and bring the kingdom of heaven. The Jews’ concept of the Messiah did not have 2 natures: human and divine. Therefore, they did not understand Jesus. It took 300 years for the dogma to be declared. It is referred to as a hypostatic union. The nation of Israel in John’s time was engaged in serious self-examination. They came to John for baptism because they were afraid that a sin, however minor, would delay the Messiah. When Jesus was baptized, it was his TA who spoke the words above his head. The TA is a fragment of the Father, so the two are actually one, and the TA was speaking for the Father. After Jesus was baptized, he went away into seclusion for 40 days. During the 40 days, Jesus formulated plans for bringing the kingdom of God to the people of Urantia. He was about to change the world, and he meditated on how best to do that. He did no fasting; he had no afflictions of the soul. He came to destroy notions of God that involved self-denial and asceticism. As Jesus was wondering around, he met Gabriel, his universe chief executive. Gabriel was carrying the message that Jesus had won his sovereignty and was free to go home. Also, the senior constellation Father appeared and announced: “The record is complete. The sovereignty of Michael number 611, 121 over his universe of Nebadon rests in completion at the right hand of the Universal Father.” Jesus remembered the instructions of Immanuel, his brother. Immanuel told him that he was to leave nothing in writing when he left earth. Jesus, while wandering in the wilderness, came up with a simple way to make decisions. There were 2 ways of conducting a world ministry: 1. His way –a way that was pleasant and profitable which met the immediate needs of the world and the edification of his universe. 2. The Father’s way–the exemplification of a farseeing ideal of creature life visualized by the high personalities of the Paradise administration of the universe of universes. Jesus decided that, in any situation, he would always do the Father’s will.