Urantia Book 78. The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Joshua ben Joseph, Yeshua, Christ Michael, Sovereign God of Nebadon. On Tuesday, January 3, AD 30, Abner, the former chief apostle of John the Baptist and chief of the 70 evangelists, called his associates together and gave them final instructions for their tour through Perea. This would be a three month tour and the last tour for the Master. The women’s corps, now numbering 62, took over most of the work of tending to the sick. No other part of Palestine was so thoroughly worked by the apostles and in no other region did the better class of citizens so generally accept the Master’s teaching. By the middle of January more than 1200 persons were gathered together at Pella, and Jesus taught this multitude at least once each day at 9am when he was in residence. The evenings Jesus reserved for the apostles and other advanced disciples for questions and answers. By the middle of March, the time when Jesus began his journey toward Jerusalem, over 4000 persons composed the large audience which heard either Jesus or Peter preach each morning. The Master chose to terminate his work on earth when the interest in his message had reached a high point, the highest point attained under this second or non-miraculous phase of the progress of the kingdom. Enemies of Jesus had followed him to Pella when he left Jerusalem after the feast of dedication, and one evening he preached on “The Good Shepherd” to a crowd that included these enemies. He said: “On this night I have much to tell you, and since some of you are my disciples and some are my bitter enemies, I will present my teaching in a parable, so that you may each take for yourself that which finds a reception in your heart. The true shepherd gathers his flock into the fold at night in times of danger. And when the morning has come, he enters into the fold by the door, and when he calls, his sheep know his voice. Any shepherd who enters the sheepfold by any other means than the door is a thief and a robber. The true shepherd enters the fold after the porter has opened the door for him, and his sheep, knowing his voice, come out at his word; and when they that are his are thus brought forth, the true shepherd goes before them; he leads the way and the sheep follow him. The sheep follow him because they know his voice; they will not follow a stranger. The multitude gathered here is like sheep without a shepherd, but when we speak to them, they know the shepherd’s voice, and they follow after us; at least those who hunger for truth and thirst for righteousness do. Some of you are not of my fold; you do not know my voice, and you do not follow me. And because you are false shepherds, the sheep know not your voice, and will not follow you.” Jesus went on to discuss the parable: “You who would be undershepherds of my Father’s flocks must not only be worthy leaders, but you must feed the flock good food; you are not good shepherds unless you lead your flocks into green pastures and beside still waters. Now, lest some of you too easily understand this parable, I am both the door to the Father’s sheepfold and at the same time the true shepherd of my Father’s flocks. Every shepherd who seeks to enter the fold without me will fail, and the sheep will not hear his voice. I, with those who minister with me, am the door. Every soul who enters upon the eternal way by the means I have created and ordained shall be saved and will be able to go on to the attainment of the eternal pastures of Paradise.************* “But I am also the true shepherd who is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. I am the true shepherd; I know my own and my own know me. I will not flee in the face of danger. I will finish this service of the completion of my Father’s will, and I will not forsake the flock the Father has entrusted to my keeping. But, mind you, if I lay down my life, I will take it up again. No man nor any other creature can take away my life. I have the right and the power to lay down my life, and I have the same right and power to take it up again. You cannot understand this, but I received such authority from my Father before the creation of the world.” When they heard these words, his apostles were confused, his disciples were amazed and the Pharisees decided he was either crazy or possessed. The next morning about half of the posse from Jerusalem believed in Jesus.