Urantia Book 29. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of the Universe of Nebadon. He has many other titles, Prince of Peace and Word of God being only two of them. Philip was the fifth apostle to be chosen, called when Jesus and the first four were on their way to Cana. Philip had been aware of Jesus, but he didn’t know that Jesus was a great man until Jesus looked at him and said, “Follow me.” He was influenced by the fact that the others had become apostles and had accepted Jesus as the Deliverer. Philip was 27 years old when he became an apostle and had recently married. The other apostles gave him a nickname that meant ‘curiosity’ because he had to be shown everything. This lack of imagination was the great weakness of his character. He was a commonplace and matter-of-fact individual (139.5.1-2). Philip was appointed steward; it was his duty to make sure they had enough provisions. He had methodical thoroughness, the strongest part of his character, and he was both mathematical and systematical. Philip came from a family of 3 boys and 4 girls. After the resurrection, he baptized his whole family. Nothing big could be expected from Philip, but he did small things in big ways. Even emergencies did not find him unprepared. People like Philip found comfort from observing that one like themselves had found a high place in the kingdom. Philip was almost without discerning vision; he was without the ability to grasp the dramatic possibilities in a situation. He would not hesitate to loudly interrupt Jesus during a profound discourse, but Jesus never reprimanded him. Jesus knew it would kill Philip’s urge to ask questions. Jesus knew there were other philips all over the Universe and he did not want to discourage them. Philip was a successful worker, not easily discouraged, and tenacious in anything he undertook. When Philip’s first convert, Nathaniel, wanted to argue the merits of Jesus and Nazareth, Philip’s effective reply was “Come and see.” Philip went through the terrible time of the trial and crucifixion, participated in the reorganization of the 12 and was the first of the 12 to win souls who were not Jews, being most successful in Sumaria. Philip’s wife was an efficient member of the women’s corps, and after they fled the persecutions in Jerusalem, she evangelized with Philip. When Philip was crucified, she stood at the foot of the cross encouraging him. After his death, irate Jews stoned her to death. Their daughter, Leah, continued their work and became known as the prophetess of Hierapolis, where Philip is buried.****** Nathaniel was the sixth and last apostle to be chosen be Jesus himself. He was brought to Jesus by his friend, Philip. They were both on their way to see John the Baptist when they encountered Jesus. Nathaniel, at 25, was the youngest of a family of 7, and was the sole support of aged and infirm parents. He and Judas Iscariot were the best educated of the apostles. Nathaniel’s great virtue was his honesty. He was truly sincere, without guile. His weakness was his pride: he was proud of his family, his city, his reputation and his nation, which is fine if not taken too far. But Philip went to extremes. He would prejudge people according to his opinions about their backgrounds, religion, or social class. His question: “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” is a perfect example of this. But he wasn’t stubborn; he quickly reversed himself when he looked into Jesus’ face. Nathaniel was the genius of the corps; he was the philosopher and dreamer, but he was a very practical dreamer. He alternated between periods of profound philosophy and periods of humor. Jesus much enjoyed hearing Nathaniel discourse on things both serious and frivolous. Nathaniel progressively took Jesus and the kingdom more seriously, but he never took himself seriously after meeting Jesus. Judas Iscariot once secretly complained to Jesus that Nathaniel did not take his apostleship sufficiently seriously. Jesus replied: “Judas, watch carefully your steps; do not over magnify your office. Who of us is competent to judge his brother? It is not the Father’s will that his children should partake only of the serious things of life. Let me repeat: I have come that my brethren in the flesh may have joy, gladness and life more abundantly. Go, then, Judas, and do well that which has been intrusted to you, but leave Nathaniel, your brother, to give account of himself to God” (139.6.5). These words lodged, along with other imagined rebukes, in Judas’s mind, festering. Nathaniel’s assignment was to maintain the families of the apostles, so he was often absent from the apostolic councils. If he received a report of a sick child, he was off immediately to the home of the child. The apostles felt secure in the knowledge that Nathaniel was taking care of their families.******************** Matthew, the seventh apostle, was chosen by Andrew. He was a customs collector in Capernaum. He was 31, married, with 4 children. He had moderate wealth, was a good businessman, an easy social mixer and made friends easily. Andrew appointed him the financial representative of the apostles; he was the fiscal agent and publicity spokesman for the 12. It sounds like he was the money collector. He was a keen judge of human nature, an efficient propagandist and an earnest disciple. He had an increasing belief in the mission of Jesus and in the certainty of the kingdom. Since it was his duty to keep the treasury replenished, he was absent frequently and missed important training sessions. Matthew always appreciated the Master’s forgiving disposition. He liked to say that faith only was necessary in the business of finding God. Matthew made extensive notes on the sayings and doings of Jesus, which became the basis of the Gospel according to Matthew. He was very devoted to the task of making sure the messengers of the kingdom were adequately financed. Matthew kept the doors of the kingdom wide open for hosts of downhearted and outcast souls, despairing men and women who were never turned away. Matthew never solicited funds from the multitudes; he quietly raised most of the funds from the more wealthy class of believers. And he gave most of his fortune to Jesus and the apostles. He was dead broke after the Resurrection. The apostles disdained Matthew because of his background, and they never knew where their food came from. They never knew of Matthew’s generosity except Jesus. After the persecutions started in Jerusalem, Matthew went to Syria and Thrace. There, Jews conspired with Roman soldiers to bring about his death.*************************************Thomas was the eighth apostle, and he was chosen by Philip. He has come to be known as ‘doubting Thomas,’ but the other apostles didn’t look on him as a doubter. He had a logical, skeptical mind, but he was also courageous and loyal. Thomas, when he joined the corps, was 29 and married, with 4 children. He had recently switched from carpentry to fishing. Thomas had the one truly analytic mind of the 12, and he was the real scientist of the group. Due to family conflicts, Thomas grew up having a disagreeable personality, which was reflected in his marriage. His wife was happy to see him join the apostles and be away for long stretches of time. Thomas also had a streak of suspicion, which made it difficult to get along with him. But as time passed, the others began to see his good qualities and liked him more. Thomas was honest and loyal, but he was a pessimist. He was losing faith in mankind when he met Jesus. The contact with Jesus began at once to transform his whole disposition and to effect great changes in his mental reactions to other people. Thomas’s great strength was his superb analytical mind coupled with his unflinching courage–when he had once made up his mind. His weakness was his suspicious doubting, which he never fully overcame. Thomas’s assignment was to arrange and manage the itinerary, and this he did with great skill. Although a good executive and a great businessman, his mood swings made him a different man every day. But contact with Jesus largely cured him of morbid introspection. Thomas attracted many like him, those with doubts and depression. If he was voted down in a council meeting, he fearlessly led the way in the execution of the plan decided upon. He was a good loser. “Thomas is a great example of a human being who has doubts, faces them and wins. He had a great mind; he was no carping critic. He was a logical thinker. He was the acid test for Jesus and the other apostles. If Jesus and his work had not been genuine, it could not have held a man like Thomas from the start to the finish. He had a keen and sure sense of fact. At the first appearance of fraud or deception, Thomas would have forsaken them all…There lived and worked with the Master and his human associates a man whose mind was that of a true scientist–Thomas Didymus–and he believed in Jesus of Nazareth” (139.8.12). When persecution scattered the believers in Jerusalem, Thomas went to Cyprus, Crete, North Africa, Sicily, ending up in Malta, where he was put to death by the Romans. He had begun writing about the life and sayings of Jesus.

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