Urantia Book 44. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of the Universe of Nebadon. On the same Sabbath day, while Jesus, the apostles and some believers were sitting around a fire at Bethany, Nathaniel asked Jesus a question he probably regretted: “Master, although you have taught us the positive version of the old rule of life, instructing us that we should do to others as we wish them to do to us, I do not fully discern how we can always abide by such an injunction. Let me illustrate my contention by citing the example of a lustful man who thus wickedly looks upon his intended consort in sin. How can we teach that this evil-intending man should do to others as he would they should do to him?” Jesus must have taken offense at the question because he stood up, pointed his finger at Nathaniel and sternly said: “Nathaniel! Nathaniel! What manner of thinking is going on in your heart?! Do you not receive my teachings as one who is born in the spirit? Do you not hear the truth as men of wisdom and spiritual understanding? (they’re all getting it now) When I admonished you to do to others as you would have them do to you, I spoke of men of high ideals, not to those who would be tempted to distort my teachings into a license for the encouragement of evil doing. I am disappointed that you all so often fail to put a genuinely spiritual interpretation upon my commonplace teachings…Now let me teach you concerning the differing levels of meaning attached to the interpretation of this rule of living, this admonition to “do to others that which you desire others to do to you.” (sounds like he calmed down) He enumerated the levels of spirituality attached to this rule: 1. The level of the flesh– this would be a selfish interpretation of the rule. 2. The level of the feelings–one level up; sympathy and pity would enhance the interpretation of the rule. 3. The level of mind–the rule would be interpreted in light of reason, intelligence, idealism and self-respect. 4. The level of brotherly love–a still higher level of unselfish devotion to the welfare of one’s fellows. Social service growing out of the consciousness of the Fatherhood of God underlays the interpretation of this rule. 5. The moral level–this is a philosophical level where one has learned the difference between right and wrong. One imagines an impartial third person applying this rule to your personal problems. (I don’t understand this unless he is talking about a certain Buddhist teaching) 6. The spiritual level–this is the level where we treat other people as we believe God would treat them; this is the universe ideal of human relationships.*** Nathaniel believed that Jesus had misunderstood his question, and nothing Jesus said to the apostles astonished them more than this speech (147.4.1-9).******** Simon, a Pharisee, was very impressed with Jesus, and he invited him and his three intimates to dinner. A woman who had run a brothel but who had been saved by Jesus was anointing his feet with oils and perfumes. She was also weeping and drying his feet with the long hair she was not allowed to tie up. Jesus compared Simon negatively to the woman because he did not provide water for Jesus to wash his feet, nor oil to anoint his head. Jesus said of the woman: “her many sins have been forgiven, and this has led her to love much…those who have received but little forgiveness sometimes love but little.”*********************************** That evening Jesus gave an address that the apostles remembered for a long time. It was about the relative value of status with God and progress in the eternal ascent to Paradise. Said Jesus: “My children, if there exists a true and living connection between the child and the Father, the child is sure to progress continuously toward the Father’s ideals. True, the child may at first make slow progress, but progress is nonetheless sure. The important thing is not the rapidity of your progress, but rather its certainty. Your actual achievement is not so important as the fact that the direction of you progress is Godward. What you are becoming day by day is of infinitely more importance than what you are today…Some of you may not stand high in actual levels of soul and spirit, but you are making daily progress on the living way opened up, through faith in God…But Jesus earnestly warned his apostles against the foolishness of the child of God who presumes upon the Father’s love. He declared that the heavenly Father is not a lax, loose or foolishly indulgent parent who is ever ready to condone sin and forgive recklessness. God will not be like a foolish parent who brings on the moral undoing of his thoughtless children and thereby directly contributing to the delinquency and demoralization of his offspring.” Jesus and his apostles attended many other private functions and brought many believers into the kingdom (147.5.1-10).******************** In the last week of April Jesus and the twelve left Bethany for Capernaum. Meanwhile, the religious leaders of the Jews held meetings to discuss what to do with Jesus. The Romans weren’t bothered by Jesus, so they looked for a Jewish law that Jesus may have violated. Thus, they sent out spies to infiltrate the group following Jesus and to catch him in violation of some law. The first accusation came on the Sabbath when a spy caught Andrew eating grain and rubbing it in his hands. When they accused Andrew of breaking the Sabbath, he blew them off, so they complained to Jesus. Jesus told them that the Sabbath was made for men, not men for the Sabbath and besides, “the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” The spies luckily did not know Jesus was speaking of himself. It was a dangerous thing to say. Jesus then said to the apostles: “Men, if you are enlightened by the truth and really know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you know not the divine way, you are unfortunate and already breakers of the law”(147.6.1-6).********** Jesus and the twelve traveled to Capernaum by boat because they were trying to escape the crowd and the spies. But they were found the next day, May 4. On Tuesday evening one of the spies challenged Jesus to command his apostles to fast as John had bade his followers. Jesus answered that the groom’s friends don’t fast while the groom is with them. Also, fasting is not a requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven. Jesus predicted his death for the first time. In referring to himself, he said “when the bridegroom shall be taken away.” He used the example of putting new wine into old wineskins as a metaphor for forcing new ideas to conform to old doctrines. He said: “Fasting may be an appropriate part of the law of Moses, but in the coming kingdom, the people of God shall experience freedom from fear and joy in the divine spirit.” When they heard these words, John’s followers were comforted, while the spies were confounded. But that’s not to say that all old doctrines should be replaced by new teachings. Said Jesus: “That which is old and also true must abide” (147.7.1-3).************* That night Jesus gave a special lecture to his apostles only. He first quoted Isaiah on the futility of fasting. Isaiah is talking for God. God is saying: “Why have you fasted? For what reason do you afflict your souls while you continue to find pleasure in oppression and take delight in injustice?” (I am reading a book that says the prophets weren’t speaking to all the Jews; they were only speaking to the oppressive upper classes that exploited the poor.)”Will you dare to call this a fast and an acceptable day in the sight of the Lord? Is not THIS the fast I should choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the knots of heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share my bread with the hungry and bring those who are homeless and poor to my house? And when I see those who are naked I will clothe them…Then will you call upon the Lord, and he shall answer; you will call out and he shall say–Here am I. And all this he will do if you refrain from oppression, condemnation and vanity…Then shall the Lord guide you continually, satisfying your soul and renewing your strength.” Jesus continued in this vein, telling them it was their faith that made them secure in the kingdom, not affliction of soul or fasting of body.