God, Man, and Supreme
Chapter Sixteen—Jesus and the Spirit of Truth
Mankind begins the mortal life as sons and daughters of the flesh. This is our introduction to physical reality wherein we strive on this our earthly estate. Our Creator Son, Michael of Nebadon, bestowed himself on this world 2,000 years ago to initiate a new dispensation to mankind. He came as Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man and the truth made manifest in the flesh. He came offering mankind a new way of living and a promise of transformation whereby his promised Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, would strengthen the inner soul of man by the constant spiritual renewal of mind.
If your own mind does not serve you well, you can exchange it for the mind of Jesus of Nazareth, who always serves you well. [48:6.26 (553.7)]
The Universal Father has a far-reaching purpose and divine plan for his creation, and this is especially so regarding his mortal children. In accordance with the seven major purposes which are being unfolded in the evolution of the seven superuniverses, our Father in heaven has decreed "the successful prosecution of the divine plan of progress: the universal plan for the creation, evolution, ascension, and perfection of will creatures." [7:4.1 (85.2)] This evolutionary plan of Paradise ascension is "one of the supernal businesses of the universe", a progressive plan for "bringing God down to man and then, by a sublime sort of partnership, carrying man up to God and on to eternity of service and divinity attainment." [77:9.12 (867.3)] This is the great plan for advancing the material beings of time and space to the eternal perfection of Paradise, a plan that has been made manifest by the life experience of a bestowal Son.
The Eternal Son pledges full acceptance for his Father's plan of perfection attainment for the creatures of the universes, and the Infinite Spirit lends all his infinite resources for reinforcing this "stupendous plan of exalting surviving will creatures to the divine heights of Paradise perfection." [8:3.5 (93.7)] The Spirit of Truth ever leads the way on this path towards perfection. This outpoured Truth Spirit from the Father and the Son teaches men about the truths of the Father's love and the Son's mercy. It further reveals the Father's spirit nature and the Son's moral character.
To assist mankind in the faithful effort for finding the Universal Father and subsequently experiencing sonship with him, mortal man is spiritually endowed with the triune ministry of the Holy Spirit of the Universe Daughter of the Infinite Spirit, of the Spirit of Truth of the Universe Son of the Eternal Son, and of the Adjuster-spirit of the Paradise Father. When mortal adjutant-mind is thus endowed with the ministry of the Holy Spirit from a Universe Mother Spirit, this prepared mind becomes specially equipped for freewill choosing the indwelling presence of the Universal Father in the form of his bestowed Thought Adjusters. This preparation of the mortal mind through the ministry of the Holy Spirit provides for the fertile reception of the Father's Adjuster-spirit.
Jesus of Nazareth truly loved people, and this heartfelt tenderness gave him great understanding as to their spiritual longings and desires. He possessed a keen insight into their spiritual psyches.
Jesus could help men so much because he loved them so sincerely. He truly loved each man, each woman, and each child. He could be such a true friend because of his remarkable insight — he knew so fully what was in the heart and in the mind of man. He was an interested and keen observer. He was an expert in the comprehension of human need, clever in detecting human longings. [171:7.4 (1874.7)]
Jesus' spirit reaches the soul of man by working with and through the human mind. His spirit acts to promote an effective conduit linking the estate of the flesh with the higher estate of the spirit. It is through mind and to the soul that Jesus, via his Spirit of Truth, empowers the human personality through faith to attempt a breach of the mortal estate and to transcend to the higher spiritual realities of the kingdom of heaven. When the occasion arises, Jesus would appeal to the human emotions to arrest the intellectual attention. However, upon entering the mortal mind, he would thereupon make direct entreaty to the mortal soul in order to present his plea to the inner spirit of man. Jesus knew that any attempt directed solely to the human emotions or the human intellect, any approach that stopped short of reaching the spiritual nature of man, would fail to have the desired impact to transform such a human character.
Jesus taught the appeal to the emotions as the technique of arresting and focusing the intellectual attention. He designated the mind thus aroused and quickened as the gateway to the soul, where there resides that spiritual nature of man which must recognize truth and respond to the spiritual appeal of the gospel in order to afford the permanent results of true character transformations. [152:6.4 (1705.4)]
Jesus' incarnation on our world of Urantia worked towards offering mankind the opportunity for living a new life within the spiritual estate of the kingdom of heaven. He started this mission by gathering his twelve chosen apostles together under his loving care and personal influence. Jesus initiated the process of transforming these rugged men of the flesh into newborn creatures of the spirit. He worked to transform their newborn identities to such a level of advancement within the kingdom that they would prove worthy as ambassadors of this heavenly estate to their brothers and sisters of their former flesh.
Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: “If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new.” [100:7.18 (1103.6)]
Jesus was able to accomplish this spiritual transformation of his chosen apostles by virtue of his being the present and living Spirit of Truth in the flesh. By the power of his very presence and by the sublime strength of his very personality, Jesus would draw these men to functionally align themselves to a new and higher reality of the spirit. They were to become sons of God within the heavenly estate of the Father's kingdom by fully and faithfully dedicating their wills to the will of the Universal Father. Just as the Spirit of Truth today leads the human heart to the loving Father, Jesus in the flesh personally revealed the perfect Father to man and presented in himself the perfected son of the realms to God. The spiritual Jesus guides mankind in the endless pursuit of truth, such a divine truth that "was so divinely folded up in the person and nature of the Son of Man." [194:3.8 (2063.6)] The apostles of Jesus were able to incorporate many of his teachings because Jesus himself embodied these teachings in his daily life and his daily conduct.
The chief mission of this outpoured spirit of the Father and the Son is to teach men about the truths of the Father’s love and the Son’s mercy. These are the truths of divinity which men can comprehend more fully than all the other divine traits of character. The Spirit of Truth is concerned primarily with the revelation of the Father’s spirit nature and the Son’s moral character. The Creator Son, in the flesh, revealed God to men; the Spirit of Truth, in the heart, reveals the Creator Son to men. [194:3.1 (2062.10)]
Jesus has stated that when two or more are gathered in his name, then he is in very truth amongst them. This presence is his personal and spiritual influence, his Spirit of Truth, which can pervade any spirit-minded community of collective faith-seekers within the spiritual kingdom. This promise for being present when sought by any group gathering "in his name" applied specifically in Jesus' day to his apostles' coming together to deal with issues for maintaining temporal order in the kingdom on earth. It still applies here in our world today as we too gather together in his name. Very clearly, Jesus has stated that "where two or three of you agree concerning any of these things and ask of me, it shall be done for you if your petition is not inconsistent with the will of my Father in heaven. And all this is ever true, for, where two or three believers are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them." [159:1.3 (1763.0)]
Before he reached the age of thirty years, Jesus had completed the most basic requirements for his mission to live a full mortal life in the flesh. He had incarnated onto this world of ours as descending Son of God, and now he was ready to manifest himself to his heavenly Father as the glorified Son of Man. However, he remained on our world to take things to another level altogether. He began preparing the way for his eventual departure from the world and for the subsequent pouring out to all mankind the living waters of his Spirit of Truth.
From the Father above I bring to this world the water of life. He who believes me shall be filled with the spirit which this water represents, for even the Scriptures have said, ‘Out of him shall flow rivers of living waters.’ When the Son of Man has finished his work on earth, there shall be poured out upon all flesh the living Spirit of Truth. Those who receive this spirit shall never know spiritual thirst.” [162:6.1 (1795.5)]
Jesus' first attempts at raising the spiritual consciousness of his chosen apostles, these twelve men of the world, were often met with frustration and disappointment. The apostles would persistently relate the spiritual teachings of Jesus to their own concepts of the material, social, economic, and political realities of their own temporal circumstances and upbringing. His attempts at enlightening the attitude of the souls would often stop short at conveying spiritual insight; instead, the apostles would intellectualize his teachings into lifeless rules of mortal conduct.
“But you will stumble over my teaching because you are wont to interpret my message literally; you are slow to discern the spirit of my teaching." [140:6.8 (1577.2)]
"When I speak the language of the spirit, why do you insist on translating my meaning into the language of the flesh? … By this time it should be possible for me to instruct you as full-grown men of the spirit kingdom." [142:7.17 (1605.2)]
As the apostles slowly progressed in their attainment of a deeper understanding of Jesus' words, they began to demonstrate a real and spiritual grasp of his true meanings. Even though these men were still limited in their comprehension of Jesus' message by their finite mortal minds, these apostles were truly building a bridge that would allow them to cross over to a new estate of the spirit for the experiencing of new reality insights. They were truly re-identifying their lives as faith-sons of the Father within the kingdom of heaven. They began to truly grasp the spiritual truths that Jesus conveyed, and they realized that they were gaining the added responsibility for representing these spiritual teachings as the living ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom.
“I have taught you much by word of mouth, and I have lived my life among you. I have done all that can be done to enlighten your minds and liberate your souls, and what you have not been able to get from my teachings and my life, you must now prepare to acquire at the hand of that master of all teachers — actual experience. And in all of this new experience which now awaits you, I will go before you and the Spirit of Truth shall be with you. Fear not; that which you now fail to comprehend, the new teacher, when he has come, will reveal to you throughout the remainder of your life on earth and on through your training in the eternal ages.” [181:2.24 (1961.3)]
“Be not dismayed that you fail to grasp the full meaning of the gospel. You are but finite, mortal men, and that which I have taught you is infinite, divine, and eternal. Be patient and of good courage since you have the eternal ages before you in which to continue your progressive attainment of the experience of becoming perfect, even as your Father in Paradise is perfect.” [181:2.25 (1961.4)]
Encouraged by this new development in the apostles' spiritual maturation, Jesus then took his teaching to the next level of spiritual awareness and influence. He began to nurture the truth-insight that they were now different persons than who they once were, and that, as his ambassadors of the kingdom to the world, they must now become sensitive to the reality that their brothers and sisters remained in the status of the flesh. Many of their listeners would find their instructions regarding the kingdom to be, for the most part, incomprehensible; at least this would be the case unless these people could first be enticed to enter into the kingdom of the spirit as well.
"You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit…. Introduce men to God and as the sons of God before you discourse on the doctrines of the fatherhood of God and the sonship of men." [141:6.4 (1592.6)]
"My words to you, the apostles, must be somewhat different from those spoken to the disciples and the multitude since you have forsaken everything, not only to follow me, but to be ordained as ambassadors of the kingdom." [165:5.2 (1823.2)]
Jesus also taught the apostles that their achieved status as citizens of the kingdom did not completely remove them from their having had origin on a world of the flesh. These men were still obliged to finish their material lives as all men must, albeit they would do so as spiritual creatures of a nature rarely before seen by mortal man. And such citizens of the kingdom "do not have to wait for rewards in a distant future; they are rewarded now. They find the kingdom of heaven within their own hearts, and they experience such happiness now." [140:5.7 (1574.0)]
Let me assure you, once and for all, that, if you dedicate your lives to the work of the kingdom, all your real needs shall be supplied. Seek the greater thing, and the lesser will be found therein; ask for the heavenly, and the earthly shall be included. The shadow is certain to follow the substance. [165:5.3 (1823.3)]
There finally came that critical moment that completely changed the life efforts of Jesus on this planet—without prompting, Peter openly confessed that he acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God, the living Christ. This candid confession of Peter's "marked the beginning of the new period of the more complete realization of the truth of his supreme ministry as a bestowal Son on Urantia and for an entire universe." [157:6.3 (1749.2)] This recognition and acknowledgment of Jesus' divinity by Peter gave confirmation to Jesus that his Father in heaven recognized this as the completion of an important stage in his Son's human life in the flesh. Peter's acknowledgment of Jesus' divine nature came from a spiritual insight of soul-mind. A bridge had been crossed whereby soul-enlightened mind could now grasp the spiritual impact of truth as heretofore only partially comprehended by mortal adjutant mind. The doors to the kingdom were now open to all who would enter therein. The kingdom of heaven would manifest itself in the soul-community of all sons and daughters of living faith.
The stage was finally set to culminate the final juncture of his earthly bestowal career—to deliver to his apostles and their successors the very keys of the outward kingdom, the authority over all things temporal on this planet in preparation for his eventual death and resurrection.
“You are my chosen ambassadors, … you could not entertain this belief as a result of mere human knowledge. This is a revelation of the spirit of my Father to your inmost souls…. Upon this rock of spiritual reality will I build the living temple of spiritual fellowship in the eternal realities of my Father’s kingdom.… To you and your successors I now deliver the keys of the outward kingdom — the authority over things temporal." [157:4.5 (1747.3)]
Jesus offers mankind a technique of spiritual re-birth whereby mankind is functionally endowed with the freewill prerogative to align his identity, starting from his original material and earthly estate, to a higher spiritual reality occupying another estate of heavenly existence. Mankind is challenged with the opportunity for becoming sons of God within the transcendent reality of the spiritual estate of the kingdom of heaven.
"As the new creature of the rebirth of the spirit, you are taught to believe and rejoice. In the Father’s kingdom you are to become new creatures; old things are to pass away; behold I show you how all things are to become new. And by your love for one another you are to convince the world that you have passed from bondage to liberty, from death into life everlasting." [143:2.3 (1609.4)]
During his brief sojourn on this world, Jesus was the living Spirit of Truth. All that Jesus promised to mankind regarding the later outpouring of his Spirit of Truth at Pentecost, Jesus was himself the literal and living manifestation of that promise. He would live in the hearts of men with the pouring out of the Spirit of Truth just as he had found his way into the hearts of the men and women that had the supernal privilege of having known and loved him while he was still in the flesh. By virtue of his promised Comforter, Jesus would share in the personal experiences of those who entered into the spirit kingdom.
"In a very short time I am going to send you my spirit, just like me except for this material body. This new teacher is the Spirit of Truth who will live with each one of you, in your hearts, and so will all the children of light be made one and be drawn toward one another. And in this very manner will my Father and I be able to live in the souls of each one of you and also in the hearts of all other men who love us and make that love real in their experiences by loving one another, even as I am now loving you.” [180:4.5 (1949.1)]
Thus could Jesus, as the living Spirit of Truth, during his early years prior to his public ministry, convince his young travel companion Ganid to speak of this Spirit of Truth as a present reality. Because of his extensive personal relationship with Jesus, Ganid was able to acknowledge his experience with the Spirit of Truth years before the celebrated event of Pentecost that signaled the pouring out of this same Spirit of Truth to all the world.
"Always will I (Ganid) try to worship God with the help of the Spirit of Truth, which is my spirit helper when I have become really God-knowing." [131:10.5 (1454.2)]
In a similar manner, Jesus tells his apostles that this same Spirit of Truth is transforming them (also before the actual event of Pentecost) as a very real part of their training as ambassadors of the kingdom. Jesus can avow these claims because he was this living Spirit of Truth in the flesh!
“By the old way you seek to suppress, obey, and conform to the rules of living; by the new way you are first transformed by the Spirit of Truth and thereby strengthened in your inner soul by the constant spiritual renewing of your mind." [143:2.4 (1609.5)]
Today, by virtue of his Spirit of Truth, Jesus fellowships with all mankind and reinforces man's emerging soul-faith through enhanced sensitivity and receptivity to spiritual truth. When man successfully undertakes this faithful attempt at spiritual transformation, he transforms his being into a proper temple of God, and the Father responds by sending his spirit, a fragment of himself, to actually dwell within the mind of man. Within the soul of man, the Living Spirit of Truth is our helper in this holy consecration of the mind. In concert with the Father's indwelling presence, Jesus' Spirit of Truth will assist the ascending pilgrim of time and space in his spiritual quest for finding the Father, both in this present life and well beyond into the afterlife.
“When I have returned to live in you and work through you, I can the better lead you on through this life and guide you through the many abodes in the future life in the heaven of heavens. "[181:1.2 (1953.4)]
At his consecration of the apostles to the Father in heaven, Jesus entrusts his transformed apostles into the Father's loving care.
Jesus has fulfilled his mission to spiritually unify his apostles according to their faith and dedication to the Father, and by their dedication as ambassadors of the Father's kingdom. Jesus has admirably performed his role as the spirit unifier to this group of faithful believers, just as he will continue to perform this role to all faithful believers throughout all the worlds of habitation in his created local universe.
I have sheep not of this flock...I must provide for them the pattern of doing the will of God while living the life of the mortal nature. [140:6.8 (1577.2)]
On that fateful day of Pentecost, when Jesus' chosen became reunited with his resurrected heart, these spiritually inspired apostles set out for all the world to proclaim with renewed conviction the same good news that they had the privilege to personally know firsthand. Armed with the spiritual endowment of the Spirit of Truth, they set out "to conquer the world with unfailing forgiveness, matchless good will, and abounding love." [194:3.11 (2064.3)]
In less than a month after the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth, the apostles made more individual spiritual progress than during their almost four years of personal and loving association with the Master. [194:2.9 (2061.7)]
And on the day of Pentecost this new teacher comes, and they go out at once to preach their gospel with new power. They are the bold and courageous followers of a living Lord, not a dead and defeated leader. The Master lives in the hearts of these evangelists; God is not a doctrine in their minds; he has become a living presence in their souls. [194:4.2 (2066.2)]
The Spirit of Truth is Jesus' promised helper, teacher, and comforter to the souls of all men. When Jesus proclaimed to his astonished apostles that it was better that he leave them so that he may be with them more fully in the spirit, he also said that this spiritual help and guidance would come not only to them, but also to all other men who desire his presence. This is his personal gift to all the world, to both Jew and gentile, to both Christian and non-Christian. The spiritual kingdom proclaimed by Jesus exists within the collective hearts of all believers of all religions, races, and nations. Wherever and whenever a believer receives the Spirit of Truth, they will be spiritually comforted and "this Spirit of Truth will become in them a well of living water springing up into eternal life." [181:1.4 (1954.1)]
I will not leave you desolate. Today I can be with you only in person. In the times to come I will be with you and all other men who desire my presence, wherever you may be, and with each of you at the same time. Do you not discern that it is better for me to go away; that I leave you in the flesh so that I may the better and the more fully be with you in the spirit? [180:4.1 (1948.2)]
The Spirit of Truth does not present a static and dogmatic interpretation of truth - rather, it provides a profound conviction of faith, a consciousness and assurance of true meanings on real spirit levels that is living, growing, expanding, unfolding, and adapting. For example, Jesus' teaching of his expansion of the golden rule to do unto others as you would have them do to you taught his followers to manifest fatherly love over that of brotherly love. In the kingdom of the expanded brotherhood of God-knowing truth-lovers, this new realization of the golden rule manifests itself on much higher spiritual levels. It requires the mortal sons of God "so to relate themselves to their fellows that they will receive the highest possible good as a result of the believer's contact with them." [180:5.7 (1950.2)]
But the highest realization and the truest interpretation of the golden rule consists in the consciousness of the spirit of the truth of the enduring and living reality of such a divine declaration. The true cosmic meaning of this rule of universal relationship is revealed only in its spiritual realization, in the interpretation of the law of conduct by the spirit of the Son to the spirit of the Father that indwells the soul of mortal man. And when such spirit-led mortals realize the true meaning of this golden rule, they are filled to overflowing with the assurance of citizenship in a friendly universe, and their ideals of spirit reality are satisfied only when they love their fellows as Jesus loved us all, and that is the reality of the realization of the love of God. [180:5.8 (1950.3)]
Up to the capacity that mankind can comprehend and benefit from their gift of the Spirit of Truth, this bestowed spirit is prepared to offer a spiritual comprehension of living and personalized truth. The Spirit of Truth leads the truth-seeker to everlasting spiritual expansion and endless spiritual growth: "The spirit guides into all truth; he is the teacher of an expanding and always-growing religion of endless progress and divine unfolding."[194:3:8 (2063:6)] The receiver of this Spirit of Truth is introduced to the personal reality of Jesus as the embodiment of this living and divine truth. If this individual gets to know who Jesus was and how he lived his life, he has begun to develop a personal relationship with him. Then this person can further benefit from a personal connectedness with all believers in Jesus' gospel. The spirit will help all mankind to recall and understand Jesus' message to the world, and it will illuminate and reinterpret his life on earth.
And now that he has personally left the world, he sends in his place his Spirit of Truth, who is designed to live in man and, for each new generation, to restate the Jesus message so that every new group of mortals to appear upon the face of the earth shall have a new and up-to-date version of the gospel, just such personal enlightenment and group guidance as will prove to be an effective solvent for man's ever-new and varied spiritual difficulties. [194:2.1 (2060.6)]
This Spirit of Truth helps the believer "to witness to the realities of Jesus' teachings and his life as he lived it in the flesh, and as he now again lives it anew and afresh in the individual believer of each passing generation of the spirit-filled sons of God." [194:2.6 (2061.4)] Jesus enters into the estate of mortal man, via the Spirit of Truth, by a supreme and dynamic act of immanence, and man reciprocates by his faithful attempts to transcend his mortal estate into the spiritual realm of the kingdom of heaven. Early on in The Urantia Book, we are encouraged by the revelators to put our trust in these spiritual gifts from the Father and the Son, to have faith that we will be led into the divine truth.
In all our efforts to enlarge and spiritualize the human concept of God, we are tremendously handicapped by the limited capacity of the mortal mind. We are also seriously handicapped in the execution of our assignment by the limitations of language and by the poverty of material which can be utilized for purposes of illustration or comparison in our efforts to portray divine values and to present spiritual meanings to the finite, mortal mind of man. All our efforts to enlarge the human concept of God would be well-nigh futile except for the fact that the mortal mind is indwelt by the bestowed Adjuster of the Universal Father and is pervaded by the Truth Spirit of the Creator Son. [2:0.3 (33.3)]