Urantia Book 37. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. Flavius, a wealthy Greek Jew who hadn’t yet been circumcised or baptized, had a house full of beautiful art, priceless treasures which he had picked up on his travels. He wanted to invite Jesus to dinner, but he was afraid Jesus would rebuke him for idolatry. But Jesus surprised him. He appreciated the beauty of the art, and he explained that they were not idols to be worshiped. In Moses’ time he had to destroy idols because they were objects of worship. Now that Jesus has come and is introducing the kingdom of heaven, people can enjoy art without confusing such appreciation of beauty with the worship and service of the Father in heaven. Flavius believed and the next day he went to the Jordan to be baptized by the disciples of John.******** A man from Damascus asked Jesus: “Rabbi, how shall we know of a certainty that you are sent by God, and that we may truly enter into this kingdom which you and your disciples declare is near at hand?” And Jesus answered:”Judge my apostles and disciples by their fruits. The spirit will witness in your hearts that our message is genuine. Just as an earthly father wants his children to feel secure in his love and does not keep his child in suspense about his place in the family, neither does your Father in heaven leave his faith children in doubtful uncertainty as to their position in the kingdom. If you receive God as your Father, then indeed and in truth you are sons of God. By believing in the Father, you have made your status in heavenly citizenship sure. If you do the will of the Father in heaven, you shall never fail in the attainment of the eternal life of progress in the divine kingdom. The evidence that you have been born of the spirit is that you love one another”(142.5.1-5).**************** A man named Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish rulers in the Temple, desired a very private meeting with Jesus. He was afraid of the other rulers who were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus. I’m going to skip the first part of the meeting because it is exactly like the Bible. (Nico needs to be born again, but how can he do that when he’s old and can’t go back in his mother’s stomach.) Nicodemus asked: “But how can I begin to lay hold upon this Spirit which is to remake in preparation for entering into the kingdom?” Jesus answered: “Already does the Spirit of the Father in heaven indwell you. If you would be led by this Spirit from above, very soon would you begin to see with the eyes of Spirit. And then with the wholehearted choice of Spirit guidance would you be born of the Spirit since your only purpose in living would be to do the will of your Father who is in heaven…And you would begin to bear in your daily life the abundant fruits of the Spirits”(142.6.1-8).*********************** I am starting to use gender neutral pronouns as much as possible. This book was dictated by celestial beings in the 40s or 50s, before all the revolutions. To continue. Thomas asked Jesus a question as they all were resting at Bethany. This question was really dumb and it set Jesus off. The question was: “Master, on the day we were set apart as ambassadors of the kingdom, you told us many things, instructed us regarding our personal mode of life, but what shall we teach the multitude? How are these people to live after the kingdom more fully comes? Shall your disciples own slaves? Shall you believers court poverty and shun property? Shall mercy alone prevail so that we shall have no more law and justice?” These questions elicited a discussion that went on all afternoon and into the night. Jesus answered:”First, the Son of Man is the only person living on earth who can simultaneously see into the heart of God and into the depths of the human soul. Second, the kingdom of heaven in an evolutionary experience, beginning on earth and progressing up through successive life stations to Paradise. Third, the kingdom idea was not the best way of expressing humanity’s to God. It is better illustrated by a family relationship. Jesus restated two fundamental laws of living: the first commandment for the Father, the head of the family, and the second commandment of mutual love among the children, to love your sibling as yourself. Jesus then stated that the true family if founded on the following 7 facts: 1. The fact of existence. The relationship between parent and child is inherent in all nature and pervades all living things. 2. Security and pleasure. All parents want to meet their child’s urge for fun and pleasure after they have met their basic needs. 3. Education and training.True parents plan for their child’s future as a person who must support themselves. 4. Discipline and restraint. Parents don’t want to raise serial killers so they make guidance and values a part of their parenting. 5. Companionship and loyalty. Parents are always ready to share the hardships of their offspring. 6. Love and mercy. Real families are built upon tolerance, patience and forgiveness. 7.Provision for the future. Parents, if the can, leave a legacy to their children. Jesus concluded by saying: “This entire relationship of a son to a Father, I know in perfection, for all that you must attain of sonship in the eternal, I have now already attained.” ** But Thomas still didn’t understand: “But Master, we still do not find that the Father in heaven always deals kindly and mercifully with us. Many of time we suffer grievously on earth, and not always are our prayers answered. Where do we fail to grasp the meaning of your teaching?” Jesus replied: “Thomas, Thomas, how long will it be before you will acquire the ability to listen with the ear of the Spirit? How long will it be before you discern that the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, and that my Father is also a spiritual being? Why do so literally apply my teaching to material affairs? By this time it should be possible for me to instruct you as full grown men of the Spirit. Must I ever address you as children? Will you never grow up in Spirit perception? Nevertheless, I love you and will bear with you, even to the very end of our association in the flesh. And even then shall my Spirit go before you into all the world” (142.7.1-17).******* By the end of April the opposition to Jesus on the part of the rulers of the Temple was so strong that the group left Jerusalem for Bethlehem and Hebron. During the month of May they did no public preaching. Instead, they went house to house, comforting the sick an d teaching the gospel. Jesus and Abner visited the Nazirite colony at Engedi. The Nazirite brothers refused to join Jesus because he did not teach fasting or other forms of self denial. Many souls, however, were added to the kingdom. Things had settled down in Jerusalem, so Jesus and the 12 went back to spend the month of June instructing and comforting believers. They did no public preaching so the temple rulers left them alone. Jerusalem was quiet; the apostles were quiet; Jesus was quiet, but this serenity could not last long. A Jew named Simon and a member of the Sanhedrin, announced that he was going to espouse the teaching Jesus. Then, all hell broke loose.