Urantia Book 61. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. Jesus arranged through the messengers of David Zebedee to go over to Capernaum on Sunday, August 7 for the purpose of meeting his family. He was to meet them at David’s boat shop. But early in the afternoon, David’s messengers brought Jesus word that the Pharisees were camped on the doorstep of his mother’s house, and therefore he made no attempt to visit his family. And so again, through no fault of either, Jesus and his earth family failed to make contact.************ As Jesus, with Andrew and Peter, tarried by the lake, a temple tax collector came upon them, and, recognizing Jesus, called Peter to one side, and said: “Does not your Master pay the temple tax?” Peter was inclined to show indignation at the suggestion that Jesus should be expected to contribute to the maintenance of the religious activities of his sworn enemies, but, noting a peculiar expression on the face of the tax collector, he rightly surmised that it was the purpose to entrap them in the act of refusing to pay the customary half shekel for the support of the Temple services in Jerusalem. Accordingly, Peter replied: “Why of course the Master pays the Temple tax. You wait by the gate, and I will presently return with the tax.” But nobody had any money and the apostle who had the money was across the lake. Jesus said: “Peter, it is well that we pay the tax. Let us give these men no occasion for offense at our attitude. We will wait here while you go with the boat and cast for the fish, and when you sell them, pay the collector for all three of us.” The messenger of David overheard all this and his fisherman friend had several baskets of fish ready for the fish seller. So Peter had enough to pay, and the collector accepted the tax for all three (157.1.1-5).*********** On Monday, August 8, while Jesus and the 12 apostles were camped in Magadan Park, near Bethsaida-Julius, more than 100 believers, the evangelists, the women’s corps, and others interested in the establishment of the kingdom, came over from Capernaum for a conference. Before going into the closed conference with the believers, Jesus held a public meeting at which the Pharisees were present, and they heckled the Master and otherwise sought to disturb the assembly. Said the leader of the disturbers: “Teacher, we would like you to give us a sign of your authority to teach, and then, when the time will come to pass, all men will know that you have been sent by God. And Jesus answered them: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say showers will come; when the wind blows from the south, you say scorching heat will come. How is it that you so well know how to discern the face of the heavens but are so utterly unable to discern the signs of the times. To those who would know the truth, already has a sign been given; but to an evil-minded and hypocritical generation no sign shall be given.” When Jesus had spoken, he prepared for the evening conference with his followers. At this conference it was decided to undertake a united mission throughout all the cities and villages of Decapolis after Jesus and the 12 returned from visiting Caesarea Philippi (157.2.1-2).*************************************** Early Tuesday morning Jesus and the 12 apostles left Magadan Park for Caesarea Philippi, the capital of the Tetrarch Philip’s domain. The heights of Mount Hermon were in full view to the north, while from the hills to the south a magnificent view was had of the Upper Jordan and the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had gone to Mount Hermon in his early experience with the affairs of the kingdom, and now that he was entering the final epoch of his work, he desired to return to this Mount of trial and triumph, where he hoped the apostles might gain a new vision of their responsibilities and acquire new strength for the trying times just ahead. As they paused for lunch, Jesus suddenly confronted them with the first question he had ever asked them concerning himself. He asked this stunning question: “Who do men say that I am?” Jesus had spent long months in training these apostles as to the character and nature of the kingdom of heaven, and he well knew the time had come when he must begin to teach them about his own nature and his relationship to the kingdom. And now, as they were seated under the mulberry trees, the Master readied himself to hold one of the most momentous sessions of his long association with his chosen apostles. More than half the apostles participated in answering Jesus’ question. They told him he was regarded as a prophet or as an extraordinary man by all who knew him; that even his enemies greatly feared him, accounting for his powers by the indictment that he was in league with devils. They told him that some in Judea and Samaria who never met him thought that he was John the Baptist back from the dead. Peter explained that he had been compared by various people to Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. When Jesus had listened to this report, he drew himself to his feet, and looking down on the 12 sitting around him in a semi-circle, with startling emphasis he pointed to them with a sweeping gesture of his hand and asked: “But who do you say that I am?” There was a moment of tense silence. The twelve never took their eyes off the Master, and then, Simon Peter, springing to his feet, exclaimed: “You are the Deliverer, the Son of the living God!” And the eleven sitting apostles rose to their feet with one accord, indicating that Peter had spoken for all of them. When Jesus had beckoned them again to be seated, while he still stood before them, he said: “This has been revealed to you by my Father. The hour has come when you should know the truth about me. But for the time being I charge you that you tell this to no man. Let us go.” They resumed their hike to Caesarea Philippi, but they didn’t get much sleep that night (157.3.1-7).*************************************** The apostles had at various times believed the Master was the Messiah, but no sooner than they started to seriously entertain the idea, Jesus would dash their hopes to pieces by some crushing word or disappointing deed. The night before and all today (Wednesday) Simon Peter and Simon Zelotes had been making sure that the rest of the apostles believed that, not only was Jesus the Messiah, but he was also the divine Son of the living God. The two Simons were agreed in their views, and they labored diligently to bring the others around to full acceptance of their views. While Andrew continued as director-general of the apostolic corps, his brother, Simon Peter, was becoming by common consent, the spokesman for the 12. After they ate and were discussing plans for the tour of the Decapolis, Jesus suddenly looked into their faces and said: “Now that a full day has passed since you assented to Simon Peter’s declaration regarding the identity of the Son of Man, I would ask if you still hold to your decision.” The disciples rose to their feet and Peter, stepping toward Jesus, said: “Yes Master, we do. We believe that you are the Son of the living God.”And Peter sat down with the others. Jesus, standing, said: “When you make this confession by the insight of the spirit of my Father which dwells within you, I am led to declare that upon this foundation I will build the brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven. Upon this rock of spiritual reality I will build the living temple of spiritual fellowship in the eternal realities of my Father’s kingdom. All the forces of evil and the hosts of sin shall not prevail against this human fraternity of the divine spirit. And while my Father’s spirit shall ever be the divine guide and mentor of all who enter the bonds of this spirit fellowship, to you and your successors I now deliver the keys of the outward kingdom–the authority over things temporal–the social and economic features of this association of men and women as fellows of the kingdom.” And again he told them to tell no one. On this day Jesus began to have faith in the loyalty and integrity of his apostles. He knew now that they could endure the fiery trials which were just ahead. They would be able, after a crushing defeat, to go forward to enlighten a world sitting in darkness. Jesus directed the apostles to go apart and seek wisdom, strength, and spiritual guidance until the time for dinner.