The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 141: Beginning the Public Work
In January, AD 27, Jesus and the apostles left Bethsaida to set out on their public ministry. A crowd arrived to see them off and wish them well. Just as the apostles prepared to leave, they noticed that Jesus was missing, and Andrew set off in search of him. He found Jesus alone on the beach, weeping. Andrew asked, "Which of us has offended you?" Jesus replied, "I am saddened only because none of my father Joseph's family have remembered to come over to bid us Godspeed."
Over one hundred believers desired to accompany the group but, knowing that Herod would soon take notice of them, Jesus asked them not to. Jesus and his men traveled to Pella, where they spent two weeks, preaching by day and conferring each evening.
The apostles spent the next three weeks at Amathus. Andrew organized a system by which ten apostles worked each day while two rested. The apostles taught twice daily and Jesus preached on Sabbath afternoons. Peter, James and John did most of the preaching. Philip, Nathaniel, Thomas, and Simon did personal work and conducted smaller classes. Andrew, Matthew and Judas did general management as well as religious work. During this first year the apostles spent much time working with followers of John the Baptist.
At the end of February, the group journeyed to the Jordan River. They worked for four weeks in Bethany and Jericho. The apostles concentrated on Jesus' request to minister to the sick and discovered that their message not only comforted sick people but also healed them. After visiting Lazarus in Bethany for several days, Jesus and the apostles traveled to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem.
During these months, Jesus taught the apostles to recognize the differences between diseases of the body, diseases of the mind, and possessions by evil spirits. He knew the difference between spirit possessions and insanity, but it was not possible to make this matter fully understandable to the apostles. Jesus promised them that once he had ascended to the Father, evil spirits would never again be able to molest humans.
Jesus never tired of teaching the apostles; when he failed to reach them with one illustration, he would try again with a different way. Repeatedly he warned the apostles against formulating creeds and traditions as a means of guiding or controlling believers. Jesus tried to convince his disciples that they should live in such a way that people would become conscious of the kingdom by seeing it operating in their lives.
Jesus tried to explain to the apostles that his mission was not just to set an example for people on our planet, but to demonstrate a standard of life for all people on all worlds in the universe. He taught the attainment of salvation by faith alone. Jesus offered spiritual joy and divine communion in this world, and eternal life of spiritual progress in the next. He taught, "God is your Father, and religion-my gospel-is nothing more nor less than the believing recognition of the truth that you are his son." Jesus didn't ask his followers to think alike; he came to proclaim spiritual liberty and to empower individuals to live with originality and freedom before God. He did not desire that social harmony be purchased by sacrificing spiritual originality.