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The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book


Paper 171: On the Way to Jerusalem


On March 12, 30 AD, Jesus announced that he and the apostles would travel to Jerusalem for the Passover. His followers, in spite of all that Jesus taught about his kingdom not being of this world, assumed that he was going there to establish the temporal kingdom of Jewish supremacy.

Salome, mother of the Zebedee brothers, came to Jesus with James and John and asked him to promise that her sons would to sit at his right and left side in the kingdom. Jesus grieved that his beloved apostles still did not understand the nature of his kingdom. He assured them that they would indeed drink of his cup of bitterness and share in his humiliation, but it was not his place to give what Salome asked. Later, when Salome witnessed the Master crucified between two criminals, she remembered her ill-conceived request.

The other apostles were upset to learn that James and John had gone secretly to Jesus seeking preference. They began again to argue among themselves. Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Whosoever would be great among you, let him first become your servant. I declare to you that the Son of Man came not to be ministered to but to minister; and I now go up to Jerusalem to lay down my life in the doing of the Father's will and in the service of my brethren."

One thousand people traveled with Jesus as he made his final journey to Jerusalem. At a ford in the Jordan river, the Master discoursed on the cost of being his disciple. Jesus warned his followers that they would face bitter persecutions and crushing disappointment; they must be willing to renounce all that they were and to dedicate all that they had. He frequently repeated that his kingdom was not of this world. His apostles considered what Jesus said but clung to the belief that after a period of adversity, the kingdom would be established just as they desired.

As the group traveled the number of followers shrunk to less than two hundred. On March 29, they camped at Livias. Here Simon Zelotes and Simon Peter obtained over one hundred swords that they distributed and wore concealed beneath their cloaks.

Jesus warned his men not to put their trust in the uncertainties of the flesh. He told them plainly that he would be delivered to the priests and put to death in Jerusalem. The Master asked them not to be dismayed and to remember that he would rise again on the third day. The stunned apostles would not accept what he was telling them. They were so attached to their old beliefs that they could not believe that Jesus really meant he would be killed by his enemies in Jerusalem.

In Jericho, a tax collector named Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus so much that he had climbed a sycamore tree to get a good view. As Jesus passed by, he looked up at Zaccheus and said, "Make haste, Zaccheus, and come down, for tonight I must abide at your house." The people who witnessed this were surprised that Jesus wished to stay with this publican, and one of the Pharisees commented on Jesus' willingness to lodge with a sinner who robbed his own people.

When Zaccheus heard this, he responded, "Men of Jericho, hear me! I may be a publican and a sinner, but the great Teacher has come to abide in my house; and before he goes in, I tell you that I am going to bestow one half of all my goods upon the poor... I am going to seek salvation with all my heart and learn to do righteousness in the sight of God." And when Zaccheus finished, Jesus said, "Today has salvation come to this home, and you have become indeed a son of Abraham. And marvel not at what I say nor take offense at what we do, for I have all along declared that the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost."

The next day, when the apostles stopped for lunch, Jesus told a parable. A nobleman entrusted each of his stewards with one pound to invest during the nobleman's absence. When an accounting was later required, the first steward had increased his pound tenfold. He was given authority over ten cities. The second servant had earned five pounds, and was made ruler of five cities. The last steward had wrapped his pound in a napkin to keep it safe. His master took it from him and gave it to the servant who had ten cities, saying, "To every one who has shall be given more, but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken from him."

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