Urantia Book 31. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. Some of the 12 were fishing and mending their nets when Jesus called them together. The date was Sunday, January 12, AD 27, and Jesus was going to ordain the Apostles. “At last the long awaited hour had come! They were going apart with the Master to participate in some sort of solemn ceremony of personal consecration and collective dedication to the sacred work of representing their Master in the proclamation of the coming of his Father’s kingdom” (140.0.3). Before Jesus ordained the Apostles, he had them sit down around him and gave preliminary instructions about the kingdom: what it was and what it wasn’t. First, it will be everlasting–forever. The Father is not the Father of the Jews only; he is the creator and Father of all the world. His power will not be of armies; his power will be in the reborn sons of the kingdom. But, said Jesus, there is a severe test for those who would follow the Apostles into the kingdom. Faith will get one into the kingdom, but one must always do the will of the Father in heaven. That could be full of trials. Jesus told the Apostles what their message to the world would be: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and in finding these, all other things essential to eternal survival shall be secured therewith” (140.1.5). And Jesus made it plain to them that the kingdom was not one of outward power or demonstration. The kingdom is inside you, he told the 12. It is God within you. If you want to be great in the kingdom, Jesus told them, first be a minister to all. But when you actually achieve the kingdom, you will not be a servant, you will be a son, a son of the living God. Jesus predicted that the kingdom would grow and take over the earth. (Indeed, Christianity is growing in China, in Muslim countries, in Russia, in South America, in Africa. Christian apologists debate new atheists here and in Britain and do very well. Despite the intelligencia and their atheism, religion is very popular in the US, especially in the South.) Jesus said something that I do not understand. He said: “Even now is the kingdom at hand, and some of you will not die until you have seen the reign of God come in great power.” What did he mean? Why did he say it if he knew it wasn’t going to happen? Surely he knew the future. He made a similar claim in the Bible. Why would he disappoint so many people? I’ve heard that he has come back, but with no fanfare. For example, I heard that he attended a formal dinner in NYC. The truth is that he can come back anytime he wants in any form he wants. He’s in my church every time I go to church. I don’t believe he attended any event because the crowds would have gone crazy and the media would have picked it up. But it is a fact that Christianity was made the state religion in a remarkably short time. To continue: Jesus had the 12 kneel in a circle, putting his hands on each of their heads, he blessed each one and prayed: “My Father, I now bring to you these men, my messengers. From among our children on earth, I have chosen these twelve to go forth to represent you. Love them and be with them as you have loved and been with me. And now, Father, give these men wisdom as I place all the affairs of the coming kingdom in their hands. And I would, if it is your will, tarry on earth a time to help them in their labors for the kingdom. And again, my Father, I thank you for these men, and I commit them to your keeping while I go on to finish the work you have given me to do” (140.2.2). When Jesus finished, there was dead silence. Nobody dared to say a word or ask a question. After Jesus ordained the Apostles, he delivered a sermon. He said: “Now that you are ambassadors of my Father’s kingdom, you have thereby become a class of men separate and distinct from all other men on earth…Of the teacher more is expected than of the pupil; of the master more is exacted than of the servant. Of the citizens of the heavenly kingdom more is required than of the citizens of the earthly rule. Some of the things I am about to say to you may seem hard, but you have elected to represent me in the world…I send you forth to proclaim liberty to the spiritual captives, joy to those in bondage to fear, and to heal the sick in accordance with the will of my Father in heaven. When you find my children in distress, speak encouragingly to them, saying: “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…Happy are the humble and poor in spirit…Happy are those who mourn…Happy are the merciful…Happy are the peacemakers…Happy are they who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…” Jesus told the Apostles that they were the ‘light of the world’ and to let men see their good work so the Father may be glorified. They must put their trust in the Father whose kingdom they represent. They are not to put trust in physical strength. Jesus gave them advice that is also in the New Testament, like turn the other cheek, which isn’t good advice for women in some situations. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Be merciful, even as God is merciful, and in the eternal future of the kingdom, you shall be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect… You are commissioned to save men, not to judge them. Make not the mistake of trying to pluck a mote out of your brother’s eye when there is a telephone pole in your own eye. I warn you against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing while on the inside they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. In the great day of the kingdom judgment, many will say to me: “Did we not prophesy in your name? And by your name do many wonderful works?” But I will be compelled to say to them: “I never knew you. Depart from me, you false teachers!” But everyone who sincerely executes his commission to represent me before men shall find an abundant entrance into my service and into the kingdom of the Father. The Apostles had never heard Jesus speak to them this way because he suddenly spoke with supreme authority–the authority of a king. They didn’t say a thing as they walked back down the mountain(140.3.1-21).

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