Urantia Book 28. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of the Universe of Nebadon. The men Jesus chose to be his apostles all had their own characters, strengths and backgrounds. Andrew, the first chosen, and his brother, Simon Peter, were partners in the fishing business with James and John Zebedee. Andrew was the ablest man of the 12, and they all referred to him as “Chief.” He was a good organizer and administrator. Andrew was 33 years of age and Peter was 30, but Peter was the better speaker. Andrew was not at all jealous of Peter for this. The brothers got along very well together, although they were very different in character and temperament. Andrew was the best judge of men among the 12, and he knew there was something brewing with Judas Iscariot long before others suspected. Later, when Jesus had many disciples, Andrew advised Peter, James and John concerning which missionaries to be sent out to proclaim the gospel. In this role Andrew was of great service to the kingdom. He also had a gift for discovering the hidden resources and latent talents of young people. After the Ascension, Andrew started a personal record of the acts and sayings of Jesus. It was added to and became quite substantial, but it was destroyed in a fire in Alexandria about 100 years after it was written. Andrew was a man of clear insight, logical thought, and firm decision whose great strength of character consisted in his superb stability. Persecutions eventually scattered the apostles from Jerusalem. Andrew went through Armenia to Macedonia and, after bringing thousands into the kingdom, was arrested and crucified in Patrae in Achaia. He suffered on the cross for two days, preaching the gospel while hanging there.************** Simon Peter was 30 when he joined the apostolic corps. Peter was well known for being impulsive and erratic. He had a habit of speaking without thinking, which always created problems for those around him. He even received a mild rebuke from Jesus. But he was smart enough to talk his ideas over with Andrew before he acted on them. Peter was a fluent speaker, eloquent and dramatic. He was also a natural and inspirational leader of men. While the other apostles were expressing astonishment to see the resurrected Jesus on the shore, Peter was swimming to him and half-way to shore. Peter never forgot Jesus’ supernal tenderness. Peter truly loved Jesus. Peter was the first to comprehend that Jesus was both man and God, and was brave enough to announce it. Peter was the one man–besides Paul–to establish the kingdom, and to send its messengers to the far corners of the earth in one generation after the Resurrection. Peter visited churches from Babylon to Corinth and all of Paul’s churches. “But Peter persisted in making the mistake of trying to convince the Jews that Jesus was after all really the Jewish Messiah. Right up to the day of his death, Peter continued to suffer confusion in his mind between the concepts of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, Christ as the world’s redeemer and the Son of Man as the revelation of God, the loving Father of all mankind” (139.2.1-12). Peter was pleased when told he would be executed like his Master-on a cross. He was crucified in Rome–some say up-side down.*********** James was the older apostle son of Zebedee, whom Jesus nicknamed “sons of thunder.” He was married and had four children. With his brother John, he was a fisherman in partnership with Andrew and Simon Peter. James and John Zebedee had the advantage of knowing Jesus much longer than the other apostles. James had a temper which he tried to pass off as righteous indignation. Otherwise his personality was much like that of Andrew, except that James was a better public speaker. James would be taciturn and reclusive one day and telling stories the next day, but he always talked to Jesus. James had an outstanding ability to see all sides of a proposition. Of all the 12, James came the closest to understanding the importance and significance of Jesus’ teaching. Slow to ‘get it’ at first, James, by the time their training was complete, had acquired a superior concept of Jesus’ message. He was also able to understand a wide range of human nature. James was totally impressed by Jesus; he admired the Master’s sympathetic affection, and his interest in both the small and the great, the rich and the poor. James Zebedee was a well-balanced thinker and planner. Along with Andrew, he was one of the more level-headed of the apostolic group. He was modest and undramatic, a daily server, an unpretentious worker, seeking no special reward when he once grasped something of the real meaning of the kingdom. James was the first of the 12 to experience martyrdom, dying by the sword of Herod Agrippa. Herod feared James above all the other apostles. James bore himself with such grace and dignity that his accuser/informer became a Christian (139.3.1-9).********************* John was the youngest apostle at 24 years old. He was a fisherman with his brother James and in partnership with Andrew and Peter. John was the baby of the family and of the apostles. The UB says he was “conceited” and “it cannot be truthfully said that he was ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.'” John lived to be 103, and he wrote the gospel when he was around 99 or 100, so who knows what he remembers. Andrew assigned Peter, James and John as personal aides to Jesus only because they had entered the group in that order. John’s strongest trait was dependability. John most appreciated the Master’s love and unselfishness. John’s whole life became dominated by love; he talked about love and wrote about love. When he was Bishop of Ephesus, he was so old that he had to be carried to church in a chair. When asked to say a few words, he would only say: “My little children, love one another.” John was deeply sympathetic with Jesus because his family had deserted him, and he saw Jesus obeying the Father even as far as the cross. This changed John forever. John had more courage than any other apostle. He stayed with Jesus during his so-called trial, and he stood at the foot of the cross. All others, except the women, stayed away in fear. Just a word about the Book of Revelation. The UB maintains that it is highly distorted and missing a great deal of its text.