Urantia Book 35. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. The night before they left Pella, Jesus gave the apostles more instructions regarding the new kingdom. He said: “You have developed a concept of the kingdom of heaven as a glorified rule of the Jewish people over all the peoples of the earth with Messiah sitting on David’s throne and from this place of miraculous power promulgating the laws of all the world. But, my children, you see not with the eyes of faith, and you hear not with the understanding of the spirit. I declare that the kingdom of heaven is the realization and acknowledgement of God’s rule within the hearts of men. True, there is a king in this kingdom, and that king is your Father and my Father. We are indeed his loyal subjects, but far transcending that fact is the transforming truth that we are his sons. In my life this truth is to become manifest to all. Our Father also sits upon a throne, but not one made with hands. The throne of the Infinite is the eternal dwelling place of the Father in the heaven of heavens; he fills all things and proclaims his laws to universes upon universes. And the Father also rules within the hearts of his children on earth by the spirit he has sent to live within the souls of mortal men. When the Father’s will is your law, you are hardly in the kingdom. But when the Father’s will becomes truly your will, then are you in very truth in the kingdom because the kingdom has thereby become an established experience in you. When God’s will is your law, you are a noble slave subject; but when you believe in this new gospel of divine sonship, my Father’s will becomes your will, and you are elevated to the high position of free children of God, liberated sons of the kingdom” (141.2.1-2). The apostles didn’t understand the full meaning of this amazing announcement, but during later preaching it would give them great cheer. The Master and his apostles stayed near Amathus for nearly three weeks. The apostles preached twice a day to the crowds, and Jesus preached on Sabbath afternoons. It was impossible to continue the Wednesday R&R, so each apostle took one day off during the week. Peter, James and John did most of the preaching. Philip, Nathaniel, Thomas and Simon did the personal work and held classes for those with special questions. The Zebedee twins continued their police supervision. Andrew, Matthew and Judas evolved into a managerial committee, while also doing religious work. Andrew had the delicate job of dealing with John’s disciples. There were constant misunderstandings and disagreements between John’s disciples and Jesus’ new disciples. Jesus refused to help in defusing these conflicts or participate in the conferences. Nor would he give any advice about resolving these issues. His attitude was “I’m the adult and I’m not getting involved in the squabbles of my children.” (141.3.1-3)*************** The UB then proceeds to describe Jesus. He sounds like a God, which he should; he is a God. He “displayed great wisdom and manifested perfect fairness” in his dealings with his disciples. Jesus “was truly a master of men.” There was a “subtle commanding influence” in Jesus. There was “intellectual attractiveness and spiritual drawing power in his authoritative manner of teaching, in his lucid logic, his strength of reasoning, his sagacious insight, his alertness of mind, his matchless poise, and his sublime tolerance.” He was “simple, manly, honest and fearless. ” He possessed “patience, tenderness, meekness, gentleness and humility.” Jesus was indeed a strong and forceful personality; he was an intellectual power and spiritual stronghold. UB then decries the art which has portrayed Jesus as weak and wimpy. “The pictures of Jesus have been most unfortunate. These paintings of the Christ have had a deleterious influence on youth…Jesus did not pose as a mild, sweet, gentle and kindly mystic.” (141.3.4-6) Jesus really was intellectually and ruggedly attractive. He is still attracting followers after 2000 years. There are over a billion Catholics and probably another billion of other Christians. And the church is still growing. ***************** While at Amathus, Jesus spent much time with his apostles impressing upon them that God was their Father, not some bookkeeper in the sky making a check mark after all their mistakes. “God is your Father and my religion–my gospel–is nothing more nor less than the believing recognition of the truth that you are his sons. And I am here in the flesh among you to make clear both of these ideas in my life and teachings.” Jesus also was determined to free his apostles’ minds from the idea of animal sacrifice as a religious duty. The apostles were slow to understand this. (I am trying to put myself in their place and have someone tell me we aren’t going to worship Christ anymore through the Eucharist–it would be terrible and depressing to me.) The Master was patient; if one parable didn’t work, he would try another. At this time Jesus went deeper into the message the apostles would be preaching: to comfort the afflicted and minister to the sick.” He taught them about the whole man: the union of body, mind and spirit. He also taught them about the three forms of affliction they would encounter and how to recognize them: First, diseases of the flesh–affliction commonly regarded as physical sickness. Second, troubled minds–those nonphysical afflictions which were subsequently looked upon as emotional and mental disturbances. Third, the possession by evil spirits. Jesus explained the nature and origin of evil spirits. He knew the difference between possession by evil spirits and insanity, but the apostles did not. It wasn’t possible for Jesus to give them this information, but he did say: “They shall no more molest men when I shall have ascended to my Father in heaven, and after I have poured out my spirit on all flesh in those times when the kingdom will come in great power and spiritual glory” (141.4.1-5). I don’t understand this statement because demons are still at large. James Zebedee still didn’t get it and he brought the full force of Jesus’ personality down on his head. He asked: “Master, how shall we learn to see alike and thereby enjoy more harmony among ourselves?” Jesus replied vigorously: “James, James, when did I teach you that you should all see alike?! I have come into the world to proclaim spiritual liberty to the end that mortals may be empowered to live individual lives of originality and freedom before God. I do not desire that social harmony and fraternal peace shall be purchased by the sacrifice of free personality and spiritual originality. What I require of you, my apostles, is spirit unity–and that you can experience in the joy of your united dedication to the wholehearted doing of the will of my Father in heaven. You do not have to see alike or feel alike or even think alike in order spiritually to be alike. Spiritual unity is derived from the consciousness that each of you is indwelt, and increasingly dominated, by the spirit gift of the heavenly Father. Your apostolic harmony must grow out of the fact that the spirit hope of each of you is identical in origin, nature and destiny” (141.5.1). Jesus added: “Your spirit unity implies two things, which will always be found to harmonize in the lives of individual believers: First, you are possessed with a common motive for life service; you all desire above everything to do the will of the Father in heaven. Second, you all have a common goal of existence; you all purpose to find the Father in heaven, thereby proving to the universe that you have become like him. Again and again during the training of the 12, Jesus reverted to this theme. Repeatedly he told them that it was not his desire that those who believed in him should become dogmatic and standardized. He would warn against the formulation of creeds and the establishment of traditions as a means of guiding and controlling believers in the gospel of the kingdom” (141.5.3-4).