Urantia Book 26. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. In the afternoon after preaching the sermon, Jesus gathered his disciples and disclosed his plans for visiting the cities around the Sea of Galilee. He did not include his brother James, and this failure to include James and Jude among the chosen few, along with his apparent aloofness from his mother since the experience at Cana, was the starting point of an ever-widening gulf between Jesus and his family. This continued until his resurrection. The next day, Sunday, June 23, AD 26, Jesus sent his apostles in pairs out to preach the gospel, but he told them not to baptize and not to do public preaching. They were only to do private teaching to one or two people at a time. He also wanted them to choose a new disciple from among their new converts. The disciples went their separate ways, but they were slightly depressed. This was not the way they envisioned the inauguration of the heavenly kingdom, and they thought Jesus should be with them. They were to preach for two weeks and then return to the home of Zebedee for a conference. Jesus, doing what he could to retain the affection of his family, went to visit Joseph and Simon.********** The first missionary tour was very successful. They all discovered the value of direct and personal contact with people. They all returned to Jesus fully realizing that religion is mostly a matter of personal experience. When meeting Jesus, they all wanted to talk at once, but Andrew took charge and called them one by one. They gave their formal reports and gave their nominations for the new disciples. All voted on these nominations, and Jesus announced that they would visit the candidates and give them the call to service. The candidates were: 1. Matthew, the customs collector of Capernaum; 2. Thomas Didymus, a fisherman; 3. James Alpheus, a fisherman and farmer; 4. Judas Alpheus, the twin brother of James and also a fisherman; 5. Simon Zelotes, officer in the Zealots, which he gave up for Jesus; 6. Judas Iscariot, attached to John the Baptist, which caused his wealthy parents to disown him, and chosen for his ability in finance. ********************************* Matthew invited Jesus to his home for dinner and Simon the Zealot came, too. It was the custom for people to stand around and watch the people eating and talking at the banquet. In this case it was the Pharisees, and they were criticizing Jesus’ merrymaking. But Jesus countered them with: “In coming here tonight to welcome Matthew and Simon to our fellowship, I am glad to witness your light heartedness and social good cheer, but you should rejoice still more because many of you will find entrance into the coming kingdom of the spirit, wherein you shall more abundantly enjoy the good things of the kingdom of heaven. And to you who stand about criticizing me in your hearts because I have come here to make merry with these friends, let me say that I have come to proclaim joy to the socially downtrodden and spiritual liberty to the moral captives. Need I remind you that those who are whole need not a physician, but rather those who are sick? I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners” (138.3.6). Simon the Zealot wanted to stand up and give a speech, but Andrew restrained him, not wanting the message of the kingdom confused with the Zealot cause.********* The next morning they all went to Kheresa to formally call the next two apostles, James and Judas, twin sons of Alpheus. When they were presented to Jesus, he simply said: “Follow me.” That afternoon Jesus instructed them concerning attendance at festive gatherings, concluding with the following: “All men are my brothers. My Father in heaven does not despise any creature of our making. The kingdom of heaven is open to all men and women. No man may close the door of mercy in the face of any hungry soul who may seek to gain an entrance thereto. We will sit at meat with all who seek to hear of the kingdom. As our Father in heaven looks down upon men, they are all alike. Refuse not, therefore, to break bread with Pharisee or sinner, Sadducee or publican, Roman or Jew, rich or poor, free or bond. The door of the kingdom is wide open for all who desire to know truth and to find God” (138.4.2). That night Jesus gave his apostles a lecture on the origin, nature and destiny of unclean spirits, but most of it went over their heads. In fact, much of what Jesus was teaching them was impossible for them to understand. They would learn most of what they knew through experience.********************* When Thomas the fisherman was presented to Jesus, he said to Thomas: “Thomas, you lack faith. Nevertheless, I receive you. Follow me.” To Judas Iscariot, Jesus said: “Judas, we are all of one flesh, and as I receive you into our midst, I pray that you will always be loyal to your Galilean brethren. Follow me.” Next Jesus took them aside to pray with them and instruct them in the nature and work of the Holy Spirit, but again they failed to understand much of the sublime truth he was trying to teach them. “The apostles made the mistake of trying to fit Jesus’ new gospel into their old forms of religious beliefs. They could not grasp the fact that Jesus had come to proclaim a new gospel of salvation and to establish a new way of finding God; they did not perceive that he WAS a new revelation of the Father in heaven” (138.5.2). The next day Jesus left his apostles alone so they could interact among themselves and get to know each other. Jesus appeared at the evening meal and later talked to them about the ministry of seraphim. Zebedee and his wife Salome had gone to live with their son David, turning their large house over to Jesus and his apostles. They spent the Sabbath quietly; Jesus carefully explained his plans for proclaiming the kingdom, and fully impressed on his apostles the importance of avoiding any clash with the civil authorities. He said: “If the civil rulers are to be rebuked, leave that task to me. See that you make no denunciation of Caesar or his servants.” Judas took Jesus aside and asked Jesus why he made no attempt to get John out of prison and was not satisfied with Jesus’ attitude. Jesus knew he could use the supernatural to release John from prison, but he wasn’t about to interfere in John’s glorious destiny.