Episode:Jesus Goes Public—Precaution and Preaching (Part 6)
Jesus declared to the masses: “Of John it was written: ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face; he shall prepare the way before you.’ Verily, verily, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is but small in the kingdom of heaven is greater because he has been born of the spirit and knows that he has become a son of God.”
Keywords: Urantia, Jesus, John’s Apostles, Baptism, Repentance
Opening thought: The Mystery Monitors’ ... mission chiefly concerns the future life, not this life. They are called heavenly helpers, not earthly helpers. They are not interested in making the mortal career easy; rather are they concerned in making your life reasonably difficult and rugged, so that decisions will be stimulated and multiplied. [108:5.5]
Closing thought: Find the courage Jesus offers to face the truth.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary after Review
In efforts to cultivate genuine religious thought and practice, particularly through the written word, the ever-constant challenge is to seek the substance behind the word symbols. Synthetic recognition of the word symbols is a faculty which must be practiced and is not to be found in the rote recitation of the formal set prayers of the various religious institutions. The same goes for ceremonial symbolism as with the remembrance supper.
Foreshadowing the evening’s reading regarding the issue of harmonizing the work of Jesus’ and John’s apostles, note the different outward responses to the inner recognition of religious symbolism exhibited by believers. Genuine religionists express outwardly the certitude of their inner recognition in rigid forms, a turning of the inner certitude of the divine into outward immutable practices. These differentials of religious practice are the root of much institutional factionalism and sectarianism. It is these differences between the two groups of apostles which require harmonization and which are the subject of the bulk of this show’s material. Such harmonization with Jesus’ revelation was made easier by the fact of his personal presence and his attendant spiritual gravity. The 5th ER—being a book—possesses no such intrinsic harmonizing energy.
144:6 Conference with John’s Apostles
By seeming happenstance a three weeks’ conference between the apostles of Jesus and John was arranged to address tensions, numerous problems, and difficulties confronting the two groups. Here we have the first concerted efforts to socialize the revealed religion of Jesus. Note the parallel today with the various groups of devotees of the 5th ER. Can we approach the socialization of the 5th ER in the same spirit as Jesus’ and John’s apostles? They made remarkable progress due to the shared truth foundation of their being genuine religionists. Today’s unwitting secular orientation of professed followers of Jesus is causing the very truth foundation of the heavenly Father to be given less than top billing in attempts to appeal to the multitudes.
Note, Jesus absented himself from the apostolic conference precisely because he did not want his presence and spiritual gravity to dominate the proceedings. Also, as Jesus explains, his mission is to represent the Father to the individual, not to the group. But he did pledge approval and cooperation with the spirit of their unanimously agreed upon decisions. He did however address the twenty-four on sympathy, cooperation, and tolerance before leaving them to their work after the first week.
We discussed the physics of the function of the 6th adjutant in energizing the religionist to act, and the 7th adjutant in harmonizing the 6th and lower adjutants to act wisely, conferring some degree of philosophic attainment to the religious impulse. Listen again for more details of the Father’s role in initiation and the Mother’s role in the acquirement of philosophic acumen in religious living.
The conference schedule was rigorous (three sessions per day, six days per week for three weeks). The twenty-four apostles addressed many difficulties. They first agreed to adopt the Believer’s Prayer to be taught by both groups to the multitudes. Next they decided to continue their work together and meet periodically as long as John lived.
Baptism posed the biggest problem for the twenty-four to resolve, primarily because Jesus made no pronouncement on the topic. They ultimately decided that as long as John lived, only his apostles would baptize believers and Jesus’ apostles would instruct the newly baptized. Both groups agreed that baptism was to become the initial step in the outward alliance with the affairs of the kingdom. Such an outward symbolic act exists to be uplifted, contemplated and internalized as spiritual experience. With the erosion and abandonment of such outward foundations, what religious symbolism remains to be uplifted? Evolutionary attainments of religious expression are to be conserved for subsequent uplifting and spiritualization.
They further decided that upon John’s death Jesus’ apostles would baptize by water as a symbol of the collective spirit ministries. The question of repentance was dependent upon the needs of the believer. Citations from the revelation [53:9.1], [76:5.2], and [133:5.3] demonstrated the importance of repentance in receiving forgiveness and being restored to the full fellowship of believers. Repentance is the act of recognition of God’s goodness not a reaction to fear of annihilation.
Facing and resolving their manifold problems without Jesus was a remarkable experience for the twenty-four. They learned to differ, debate, contend, pray and to compromise with sympathy for the opinions of others and maintain some degree of tolerance. This is a process ever in need of renewal, thus enabling Mother Deity’s influence in causing growth.
144:7 In the Decapolis Cities
John was executed two and a half months after the remarkable conference, during which time the two groups remained together baptizing believers in the cities of the Decapolis. The experience of John’s apostles during the time of the Gilboa camp served to establish their belief in Jesus in their own right and not solely based on John’s testimony. In particular, Abner became a devout believer in Jesus, later becoming the head of the seventy evangelists commissioned by Jesus to preach the good news.
144:8 In Camp Near Pella
Now encamped near Pella, Jesus received his final message from John, seeking Jesus’ verification for the sake of John’s followers that Jesus is indeed the Deliverer. The Master provides such assurance with a stirring declaration of John’s role as herald of the kingdom of heaven. Proclaiming there to be no one born of women to be greater than John and more than a prophet, yet the smallest in the kingdom being born of the spirit, Jesus acknowledges, as being even greater! Such is the kingdom! Jesus’ words were carried back to comfort John and strengthen his faith.
Jesus then proceeds to denounce the hypocrisy of his detractors in the audience, inviting all who labor and are heavy laden to take on the divine yoke and experience the Peace of God, which passes all understanding.
Notes by Brad
- There may be divergent interpretations, but you cannot co-ordinate false interpretations, any more than you could co-ordinate truth with error.