Episode:Jesus in Galilee—Advancing Ministry (Part 1)
Each forenoon at Bethsaida the apostles all did their share in training new evangelists of the gospel, and both teachers and pupils taught the people during the afternoons. After the evening meal, five nights a week, the apostles conducted question classes for the benefit of the evangelists. Once a week Jesus presided at this question hour, answering the holdover questions from previous sessions.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary on the Review
We commented on the fact that Abner and the Baptist’s associates who remained behind in Jerusalem following the departure of Jesus and the apostolic party for Capernaum held to a more accurate interpretation of Jesus’ gospel message than did the founders of present day Christianity. This serves to underscore the power and influence of the evolutionary stream on even the bestowal mission of a Creator Son.
Paper 148 Training Evangelists at Bethsaida
The preface and first two sections of this paper give details of the Bethsaida encampment where Jesus and the twelve remained for five months receiving a stream of several thousand truth seekers, healing candidates, and curiosity devotees from every part of the Roman Empire and beyond. The camp served as infirmary to the healing candidates and a training school to the truth seekers. SoS noted that the attention given by the revelators to the description of the camp and the pragmatic considerations given by the camp organizers stand as a powerful reminder of the importance of the masterly balance of material pragmatism and spiritual idealism in the prosecution of such an enterprise. The authors remind the reader that the encampment was not a communal assembly, rather a well-organized and administered, self-sustaining enterprise. The camp was under the general supervision of the dependable David Zebedee, assisted by the Alpheus twins. Andrew was in charge of the apostolic activities while Peter was put in charge of the school of the evangelists. In keeping with the universe pattern of education—learning followed by doing, groups of evangelists were instructed by the apostles in the forenoon. In the afternoon the evangelists with their teachers taught that which they had so recently learned to the people. Evenings were given to the apostles fielding questions from the evangelists with the Master regularly addressing holdover questions from earlier sessions.
148:1. A New School of the Prophets
Jesus designated Peter, James, and Andrew to pass on the applicants for the school of evangelists. All races and nationalities of the Roman world and the East as far as India were represented among the students of this new school of the prophets. The authors’ use of the term prophet here gave us cause to pause. SoS has commented in previous episodes that the term prophet is valid and bespeaks genuine engagement with divine sources. This would seem to be supported by the fact that these evangelists to be students are in the immediate presence and recipients of direct instruction by Jesus, Creator Son incarnate.
A most striking feature of the school was the manner by which the apostolic teachers were allowed to teach their own view of the gospel, with Jesus upholding these diverse points of view by harmonizing and coordinating them in his weekly sessions. Even so, Peter and to a lesser degree James tended to dominate the theology of the school. Listen to the archive for the details, dynamics, and physics of how unique individuals can communicate their views and interpretations in time and be coordinated in the truths of eternity.
The midwayers tell us that the more than one hundred of these evangelists who were thus trained constituted the pool from which the seventy messengers of the kingdom, later ordained and commissioned by Jesus were drawn. Further, only seven of the 683 individuals healed at sundown were numbered among these evangelist students. SoS noted that often times the apparently casual narratives in this midwayer portrayal of the life and teachings of Jesus serve to clarify New Testament issues which have been the subject of controversy and dispute for hundreds of years.
148:2. The Bethsaida Hospital
The candidates for healing who were drawn to the Bethsaida encampment were treated by one Elman, a Syrian physician. This Kingdom hospital reflected the harmonizing approach in their treatments in the balancing of material pragmatism with spiritual idealism by using all known material methods in concert with spiritual practices of prayer and faith encouragement. Reflecting on some of the details regarding the hospital side of the Master’s ministry, two significant facts catch our attention. No known miraculous healings were observed notwithstanding the declarations of most of those who left the infirmary much improved or cured, crediting Jesus with their healing. In fact, most of the so-called miracle cures involved are attributable to transformations of mind and spirit borne of faith and catalyzed by the presence of a strong, positive, and beneficent personality like Jesus capable of eliminating fear and anxiety. And Jesus, we’re told, personally contacted each sufferer in the course of his thrice weekly visits to the sick. Elman and his helpers were hardly successful in their efforts to teach the truth concerning the “possession of evil spirits.” There existed a well-nigh universal belief in such spirits being the cause of all manner of physical sickness and mental derangement. Here we can find clues to having success in reducing suffering in others by helping them to defeat their fear, and abandon their anxiety. Part of our ensuing discussion had to do with the inner life mechanisms which result in the establishment of an eternity anchor point from which to engage the vicissitudes of time and find adaptive responses thereto.
Jesus was mindful of the counsel he received from his Paradise brother Immanuel before coming to Urantia and while he held to Immanuel’s instructions concerning treatment techniques and causes of disease, his associates in health ministry learned valuable lessons observing the manner in which Jesus inspired the sufferers’ faith and bolstered their confidence.