Urantia Book 50. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of the Universe of Nebadon. Everyone met the master at Nazareth on March 4. It was the first time Jesus had visited Nazareth since the beginning of his ministry. Jesus arranged to preach in the synagogue on the following Sabbath (I have read two authors lately that say synagogues in the New Testament are an anachronism–they didn’t come into use until after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Also they say the same thing about rabbis.) The people of Nazareth had a hyper-critical attitude toward Jesus. For one thing, they weren’t very devout, and they were influenced by the low moral standards of nearby Sepphoris. They resented that he did not include Nazareth in any of his preaching tours. So, knowing that he was going to speak on the Sabbath, they packed the audience with numerous troublemakers to harass him. Even the orthodox Jews criticized him for walking too fast to the synagogue (150.7.1-4).****** The Sabbath service consisted of two prayers, followed by the Shema, the Jewish creed of faith. This ritual involved repeating numerous passages from the law wherein the worshipers took upon themselves the yoke of the kingdom of heaven and the yoke of the commandments. The ruler of the synagogue then took a position before the ark containing sacred scrolls and recited nineteen prayer benedictions. Everyone said Amen and the service ended. The ruler then went to the ark, chose a scroll and handed it to Jesus. Jesus read from Deuteronomy and Isaiah, and then he started his sermon, which was on “The Sons and Daughters of God. He said: “Today are these scriptures fulfilled.” (150.8.1-11). The people marveled at his wisdom. Jesus’ enemies confronted him as soon as the service ended, and Jesus could have easily handled them, but some of his newer disciples acted protectively and made matters worse. The crowd pulled Jesus to the edge of a cliff, clearly intending to push him to his death. But Jesus turned to face them, crossed his arms and stared at them. They parted and let him walk through. The next morning they all left for Capernaum (Bethsaida), arriving on Thursday, March 10 (150.9.1-5). The following Saturday night the Master discoursed on “The mission of adversity and the spiritual value of disappointment.” Everyone had been very depressed at how the Nazareth event had turned out, and Jesus was telling them how to cope spiritually with disappointment and adversity. And they never forgot the lesson. Jesus himself had not fully recovered from the sorrow of his rejection at Nazareth. It’s true that people are not taken seriously by those they grow up around. When I tell my relatives about the information that I dig up, they laugh at me. So I don’t bother anymore. I don’t like to scare them, for one thing. My daughter leads a charmed life, and I don’t want to burst her bubble. She didn’t have such a great childhood. We, meaning humanity, would have been wiped out by the Deep State if the Alliance hadn’t raised the consciousness about the Deep State and their plans for humanity.******************************** One morning Jesus went out and sat in the boat which was kept on shore for his use. A crowd gathered and wanted his attention. At this time he started to teach in parables. He told them the parable of the sower. A sower of seed dropped some seed on the roadside and it was stepped on. Other seeds dropped on rocky ground, sprouted quickly, but soon withered because it had no roots to gather moisture. Other seeds fell among thorns, but was choked off by the thorns and produced nothing. Still other seeds fell on good ground and yielded hundreds of baskets. And Jesus said to the crowd: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This type of teaching perplexed the apostles, and Matthew asked: “Master, why do you speak in parables to those who seek the truth?” Jesus answered: “In patience have I instructed you all this time. To you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to the undiscerning multitudes and to those who seek our destruction, from now on, the mysteries of the kingdom shall be presented in parables. And this we will do so that those who really desire to enter the kingdom may discern the meaning of the teaching, and thus find salvation, while those who listen only to ensnare us may be the more confounded in that they will see without seeing and will hear without hearing. It sounds like Jesus is fed up (151.1.1-5).***** *********** Jesus invited his followers to interpret the parable of the sower. Peter and those around him had concluded that the parable was an allegory, that each feature had some hidden meaning, so Peter approached the Master and said: “We are not able to penetrate the meaning of this parable, and we desire that you explain it to us since you say it is given to us to know the mysteries of the kingdom.” Jesus countered by asking Peter for his interpretation of the parable. Peter said: “The sower is the gospel preacher; the seed is the word of God.” And he explained the parable. After he was finished, Nathaniel offered a different interpretation. When he was finished, the group fell into a lively debate about the meaning of the parable. Finally, Jesus called them together and asked if anyone had a comment. Thomas said: “I remember that you said to beware of this very thing. You instructed us, that when using illustrations for our preaching, we should employ true stories, not fables, and that, having used the story, we should not attempt to make a spiritual application of all the minor details involved in telling the story.” Andrew wanted to know Thomas’s interpretation. Thomas said: “I think this parable was spoken to teach us one great truth. And that is that our teaching of the gospel of the kingdom, no matter how faithfully and efficiently we execute our divine commissions, is going to be attended by varying degrees of success; and that all such differences of results are directly due to conditions inherent in the circumstances of our ministry over which we have little or no control” (151.2.1-8).** Jesus during the evening conference further discussed parables. First, he told his apostles that they must consider their audience; there are varying degrees of intellect listening, so you must teach a story that will reach everyone. Jesus continued with further instruction: 1. He advised against the use of fables and allegories, but recommended the free use of parables. He said the analogy existing between the natural and spiritual worlds was valuable for teaching truth. 2. Jesus narrated some parables from the Hebrew scriptures, noting that the use of parables was not new. 3. In teaching the value of parables,Jesus called attention to the following points: A. The parable provides for a simultaneous appeal to vastly different levels of mind and spirit. The parable stimulates the imagination, challenges the discrimination and provokes critical thinking; it promotes sympathy without causing antagonism. B. The parable proceeds from the things that are known to the discernment of the unknown. The parable utilizes the material and natural as a means of introducing the spiritual and supermaterial. C. Parables favor the making of impartial moral decisions. The parable evades much prejudice and puts new truth gracefully into the mind and does all this without the arousal of the self-defense of personal resentment. D. To reject the truth in parabolical analogy requires conscious intellectual action which is directly in contempt of one’s honest judgment and fairness. E. The use of parable form of teaching enables the teacher to present new and even startling truths, at the same time avoiding controversy and conflict with tradition and established authority. F. The parable also stimulates the memory of the truth taught when the same familiar scenes are subsequently encountered… In this way Jesus taught his apostles the many advantages of using parables in preaching. After that, he said that the parable of the sower referred to two things: 1. It was a review of his ministry up to that time and a forecast of his future on earth. 2. It was a hint of what the apostles and other messengers of the kingdom might expect in their ministry from generation to generation as time passed…. Parable was also an ideal teaching tool because the common people viewed natural phenomena as the product of actions by spirit beings and gods. Parables also gave less cause for offense on the part of religious officials. Before Jesus sent the group to bed, he added something to the parable, which confused the apostles. Was Jesus entertained by confusing them, or was he making them practice critical thinking?