The Urantia Book
AT GILBOA AND IN THE DECAPOLIS
144:0.1 SEPTEMBER and October were spent in
retirement at a secluded camp upon the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The
month of September Jesus spent here alone with his apostles,
teaching and instructing them in the truths of the kingdom.
144:0.2 There were a number of reasons why Jesus
and his apostles were in retirement at this time on the borders of
Samaria and the Decapolis. The Jerusalem religious rulers were
very antagonistic; Herod Antipas still held John in prison,
fearing either to release or execute him, while he continued to
entertain suspicions that John and Jesus were in some way
associated. These conditions made it unwise to plan for aggressive
work in either Judea or Galilee. There was a third reason: the
slowly augmenting tension between the leaders of John's disciples
and the apostles of Jesus, which grew worse with the increasing
number of believers.
144:0.3 Jesus knew that the days of the
preliminary work of teaching and preaching were about over, that
the next move involved the beginning of the full and final effort
of his life on earth, and he did not wish the launching of this
undertaking to be in any manner either trying or embarrassing to
John the Baptist. Jesus had therefore decided to spend some time
in retirement rehearsing his apostles and then to do some quiet
work in the cities of the Decapolis until John should be either
executed or released to join them in a united effort.
1. THE GILBOA ENCAMPMENT
144:1.1 As time passed, the twelve became more
devoted to Jesus and increasingly committed to the work of the
kingdom. Their devotion was in large part a matter of personal
loyalty. They did not grasp his many-sided teaching; they did not
fully comprehend the nature of Jesus or the significance of his
bestowal on earth.
144:1.2 Jesus made it plain to his apostles that
they were in retirement for three reasons:
1. To confirm their understanding of,
and faith in, the gospel of the kingdom.
2. To allow opposition to their work
in both Judea and Galilee to quiet down.
3. To await the fate of John the
144:1.3 While tarrying on Gilboa, Jesus told the
twelve much about his early life and his experiences on Mount
Hermon; he also revealed something of what happened in the hills
during the forty days immediately after his baptism. And he
directly charged them that they should tell no man about these
experiences until after he had returned to the Father.
144:1.4 During these September weeks they
rested, visited, recounted their experiences since Jesus first
called them to service, and engaged in an earnest effort to
co-ordinate what the Master had so far taught them. In a measure
they all sensed that this would be their last opportunity for
prolonged rest. They realized that their next public effort in
either Judea or Galilee would mark the beginning of the final
proclamation of the coming kingdom, but they had little or no
settled idea as to what the kingdom would be when it came. John
and Andrew thought the kingdom had already come; Peter and James
believed that it was yet to come; Nathaniel and Thomas frankly
confessed they were puzzled; Matthew, Philip, and Simon Zelotes
were uncertain and confused; the twins were blissfully ignorant of
the controversy; and Judas Iscariot was silent, noncommittal.
144:1.5 Much of this time Jesus was alone on the
mountain near the camp. Occasionally he took with him Peter,
James, or John, but more often he went off to pray or commune
alone. Subsequent to the baptism of Jesus and the forty days in
the Perean hills, it is hardly proper to speak of these seasons of
communion with his Father as prayer, nor is it consistent to speak
of Jesus as worshiping, but it is altogether correct to allude to
these seasons as personal communion with his Father.
144:1.6 The central theme of the discussions
throughout the entire month of September was prayer and worship.
After they had discussed worship for some days, Jesus finally
delivered his memorable discourse on prayer in answer to Thomas's
request: "Master, teach us how to pray."
144:1.7 John had taught his disciples a prayer,
a prayer for salvation in the coming kingdom. Although Jesus never
forbade his followers to use John's form of prayer, the apostles
very early perceived that their Master did not fully approve of
the practice of uttering set and formal prayers. Nevertheless,
believers constantly requested to be taught how to pray. The
twelve longed to know what form of petition Jesus would approve.
And it was chiefly because of this need for some simple petition
for the common people that Jesus at this time consented, in answer
to Thomas's request, to teach them a suggestive form of prayer.
Jesus gave this lesson one afternoon in the third week of their
sojourn on Mount Gilboa.
2. THE DISCOURSE ON PRAYER
144:2.1 "John indeed taught you a simple form of
prayer: `O Father, cleanse us from sin, show us your glory, reveal
your love, and let your spirit sanctify our hearts forevermore,
Amen!' He taught this prayer that you might have something to
teach the multitude. He did not intend that you should use such a
set and formal petition as the expression of your own souls in
144:2.2 "Prayer is entirely a personal and
spontaneous expression of the attitude of the soul toward the
spirit; prayer should be the communion of sonship and the
expression of fellowship. Prayer, when indited by the spirit,
leads to co-operative spiritual progress. The ideal prayer is a
form of spiritual communion which leads to intelligent worship.
True praying is the sincere attitude of reaching heavenward for
the attainment of your ideals.
144:2.3 "Prayer is the breath of the soul and
should lead you to be persistent in your attempt to ascertain the
Father's will. If any one of you has a neighbor, and you go to him
at midnight and say: `Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend
of mine on a journey has come to see me, and I have nothing to set
before him'; and if your neighbor answers, `Trouble me not, for
the door is now shut and the children and I are in bed; therefore
I cannot rise and give you bread,' you will persist, explaining
that your friend hungers, and that you have no food to offer him.
I say to you, though your neighbor will not rise and give you
bread because he is your friend, yet because of your importunity
he will get up and give you as many loaves as you need. If, then,
persistence will win favors even from mortal man, how much more
will your persistence in the spirit win the bread of life for you
from the willing hands of the Father in heaven. Again I say to
you: Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock
and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; he
who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door of salvation will
144:2.4 "Which of you who is a father, if his
son asks unwisely, would hesitate to give in accordance with
parental wisdom rather than in the terms of the son's faulty
petition? If the child needs a loaf, will you give him a stone
just because he unwisely asks for it? If your son needs a fish,
will you give him a watersnake just because it may chance to come
up in the net with the fish and the child foolishly asks for the
serpent? If you, then, being mortal and finite, know how to answer
prayer and give good and appropriate gifts to your children, how
much more shall your heavenly Father give the spirit and many
additional blessings to those who ask him? Men ought always to
pray and not become discouraged.
144:2.5 "Let me tell you the story of a certain
judge who lived in a wicked city. This judge feared not God nor
had respect for man. Now there was a needy widow in that city who
came repeatedly to this unjust judge, saying, `Protect me from my
adversary.' For some time he would not give ear to her, but
presently he said to himself: `Though I fear not God nor have
regard for man, yet because this widow ceases not to trouble me, I
will vindicate her lest she wear me out by her continual coming.'
These stories I tell you to encourage you to persist in praying
and not to intimate that your petitions will change the just and
righteous Father above. Your persistence, however, is not to win
favor with God but to change your earth attitude and to enlarge
your soul's capacity for spirit receptivity.
144:2.6 "But when you pray, you exercise so
little faith. Genuine faith will remove mountains of material
difficulty which may chance to lie in the path of soul expansion
and spiritual progress."
3. THE BELIEVER'S PRAYER
144:3.1 But the apostles were not yet satisfied;
they desired Jesus to give them a model prayer which they could
teach the new disciples. After listening to this discourse on
prayer, James Zebedee said: "Very good, Master, but we do not
desire a form of prayer for ourselves so much as for the newer
believers who so frequently beseech us, `Teach us how acceptably
to pray to the Father in heaven.'"
144:3.2 When James had finished speaking, Jesus
said: "If, then, you still desire such a prayer, I would present
the one which I taught my brothers and sisters in Nazareth":
144:3.3 Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come; your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our bread for
Refresh our souls with the water of
And forgive us every one our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
Save us in temptation, deliver us from
And increasingly make us perfect like
144:3.4 It is not strange that the apostles
desired Jesus to teach them a model prayer for believers. John the
Baptist had taught his followers several prayers; all great
teachers had formulated prayers for their pupils. The religious
teachers of the Jews had some twenty-five or thirty set prayers
which they recited in the synagogues and even on the street
corners. Jesus was particularly averse to praying in public. Up to
this time the twelve had heard him pray only a few times. They
observed him spending entire nights at prayer or worship, and they
were very curious to know the manner or form of his petitions.
They were really hard pressed to know what to answer the
multitudes when they asked to be taught how to pray as John had
taught his disciples.
144:3.5 Jesus taught the twelve always to pray
in secret; to go off by themselves amidst the quiet surroundings
of nature or to go in their rooms and shut the doors when they
engaged in prayer.
144:3.6 After Jesus' death and ascension to the
Father it became the practice of many believers to finish this
so-called Lord's prayer by the addition of -- "In the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ." Still later on, two lines were lost in
copying, and there was added to this prayer an extra clause,
reading: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,
144:3.7 Jesus gave the apostles the prayer in
collective form as they had prayed it in the Nazareth home. He
never taught a formal personal prayer, only group, family, or
social petitions. And he never volunteered to do that.
144:3.8 Jesus taught that effective prayer must
1. Unselfish -- not alone for oneself.
2. Believing -- according to faith.
3. Sincere -- honest of heart.
4. Intelligent -- according to light.
5. Trustful -- in submission to the
Father's all-wise will.
144:3.9 When Jesus spent whole nights on the
mountain in prayer, it was mainly for his disciples, particularly
for the twelve. The Master prayed very little for himself,
although he engaged in much worship of the nature of understanding
communion with his Paradise Father.
4. MORE ABOUT PRAYER
144:4.1 For days after the discourse on prayer
the apostles continued to ask the Master questions regarding this
all-important and worshipful practice. Jesus' instruction to the
apostles during these days, regarding prayer and worship, may be
summarized and restated in modern phraseology as follows:
144:4.2 The earnest and longing repetition of
any petition, when such a prayer is the sincere expression of a
child of God and is uttered in faith, no matter how ill-advised or
impossible of direct answer, never fails to expand the soul's
capacity for spiritual receptivity.
144:4.3 In all praying, remember that sonship is
a gift. No child has aught to do with earning the
status of son or daughter. The earth child comes into being by the
will of its parents. Even so, the child of God comes into grace
and the new life of the spirit by the will of the Father in
heaven. Therefore must the kingdom of heaven -- divine sonship --
be received as by a little child. You earn righteousness --
progressive character development -- but you receive sonship by
grace and through faith.
144:4.4 Prayer led Jesus up to the
supercommunion of his soul with the Supreme Rulers of the universe
of universes. Prayer will lead the mortals of earth up to the
communion of true worship. The soul's spiritual capacity for
receptivity determines the quantity of heavenly blessings which
can be personally appropriated and consciously realized as an
answer to prayer.
144:4.5 Prayer and its associated worship is a
technique of detachment from the daily routine of life, from the
monotonous grind of material existence. It is an avenue of
approach to spiritualized self-realization and individuality of
intellectual and religious attainment.
144:4.6 Prayer is an antidote for harmful
introspection. At least, prayer as the Master taught it is such a
beneficent ministry to the soul. Jesus consistently employed the
beneficial influence of praying for one's fellows. The Master
usually prayed in the plural, not in the singular. Only in the
great crises of his earth life did Jesus ever pray for himself.
144:4.7 Prayer is the breath of the spirit life
in the midst of the material civilization of the races of mankind.
Worship is salvation for the pleasure-seeking generations of
144:4.8 As prayer may be likened to recharging
the spiritual batteries of the soul, so worship may be compared to
the act of tuning in the soul to catch the universe broadcasts of
the infinite spirit of the Universal Father.
144:4.9 Prayer is the sincere and longing look
of the child to its spirit Father; it is a psychologic process of
exchanging the human will for the divine will. Prayer is a part of
the divine plan for making over that which is into that which
ought to be.
144:4.10 One of the reasons why Peter, James,
and John, who so often accompanied Jesus on his long night vigils,
never heard Jesus pray, was because their Master so rarely uttered
his prayers as spoken words. Practically all of Jesus' praying was
done in the spirit and in the heart -- silently.
144:4.11 Of all the apostles, Peter and James
came the nearest to comprehending the Master's teaching about
prayer and worship.
5. OTHER FORMS OF PRAYER
time to time, during the remainder of Jesus' sojourn on earth, he
brought to the notice of the apostles several additional forms of
prayer, but he did this only in illustration of other matters, and
he enjoined that these "parable prayers" should not be taught to
the multitudes. Many of them were from
other inhabited planets, but this fact Jesus did not reveal to
the twelve. Among these prayers were the following:
144:5.2 Our Father in whom consist the universe
Uplifted be your name and all-glorious
Your presence encompasses us, and your
glory is manifested
Imperfectly through us as it is in
perfection shown on high.
Give us this day the vivifying forces
And let us not stray into the evil
bypaths of our imagination,
For yours is the glorious indwelling,
the everlasting power,
And to us, the eternal gift of the
infinite love of your Son.
Even so, and everlastingly true.
144:5.3 Our creative Parent, who is in the
center of the universe,
Bestow upon us your nature and give to
us your character.
Make us sons and daughters of yours by
And glorify your name through our
Your adjusting and controlling spirit
give to live and dwell within us
That we may do your will on this
sphere as angels do your bidding in light.
Sustain us this day in our progress
along the path of truth.
Deliver us from inertia, evil, and all
Be patient with us as we show
loving-kindness to our fellows.
Shed abroad the spirit of your mercy
in our creature hearts.
Lead us by your own hand, step by
step, through the uncertain maze of life,
And when our end shall come, receive
into your own bosom our faithful spirits.
Even so, not our desires but your will
144:5.4 Our perfect and righteous heavenly
This day guide and direct our journey.
Sanctify our steps and co-ordinate our
Ever lead us in the ways of eternal
Fill us with wisdom to the fullness of
And vitalize us with your infinite
Inspire us with the divine
The presence and guidance of the
Guide us ever upward in the pathway of
Justify us fully in the day of the
Make us like yourself in eternal glory
And receive us into your endless
service on high.
144:5.5 Our Father who is in the mystery,
Reveal to us your holy character.
Give your children on earth this day
To see the way, the light, and the
Show us the pathway of eternal
And give us the will to walk therein.
Establish within us your divine
And thereby bestow upon us the full
mastery of self.
Let us not stray into paths of
darkness and death;
Lead us everlastingly beside the
waters of life.
Hear these our prayers for your own
Be pleased to make us more and more
At the end, for the sake of the divine
Receive us into the eternal arms.
Even so, not our will but yours be
144:5.6 Glorious Father and Mother, in one
Loyal would we be to your divine
Your own self to live again in and
By the gift and bestowal of your
Thus reproducing you imperfectly in
As you are perfectly and majestically
shown on high.
Give us day by day your sweet ministry
And lead us moment by moment in the
pathway of loving service.
Be you ever and unfailingly patient
Even as we show forth your patience to
Give us the divine wisdom that does
all things well
And the infinite love that is gracious
to every creature.
Bestow upon us your patience and
That our charity may enfold the weak
of the realm.
And when our career is finished, make
it an honor to your name,
A pleasure to your good spirit, and a
satisfaction to our soul helpers.
Not as we wish, our loving Father, but
as you desire the eternal good of your mortal children,
Even so may it be.
144:5.7 Our all-faithful Source and all-powerful
Reverent and holy be the name of your
Your bounties and your blessings have
descended upon us,
Thus empowering us to perform your
will and execute your bidding.
Give us moment by moment the
sustenance of the tree of life;
Refresh us day by day with the living
waters of the river thereof.
Step by step lead us out of darkness
and into the divine light.
Renew our minds by the transformations
of the indwelling spirit,
And when the mortal end shall finally
come upon us,
Receive us to yourself and send us
forth in eternity.
Crown us with celestial diadems of
And we shall glorify the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Influence.
Even so, throughout a universe without
144:5.8 Our Father who dwells in the secret
places of the universe,
Honored be your name, reverenced your
mercy, and respected your judgment.
Let the sun of righteousness shine
upon us at noontime,
While we beseech you to guide our
wayward steps in the twilight.
Lead us by the hand in the ways of
your own choosing
And forsake us not when the path is
hard and the hours are dark.
Forget us not as we so often neglect
and forget you.
But be you merciful and love us as we
desire to love you.
Look down upon us in kindness and
forgive us in mercy
As we in justice forgive those who
distress and injure us.
May the love, devotion, and bestowal
of the majestic Son
Make available life everlasting with
your endless mercy and love.
May the God of universes bestow upon
us the full measure of his spirit;
Give us grace to yield to the leading
of this spirit.
By the loving ministry of devoted
May the Son guide and lead us to the
end of the age.
Make us ever and increasingly like
And at our end receive us into the
eternal Paradise embrace.
Even so, in the name of the bestowal
And for the honor and glory of the
144:5.9 Though the apostles were not at liberty
to present these prayer lessons in their public teachings, they
profited much from all of these revelations in their personal
religious experiences. Jesus utilized these and other prayer
models as illustrations in connection with the intimate
instruction of the twelve, and specific permission has been
granted for transcribing these seven specimen prayers into this
6. CONFERENCE WITH JOHN'S APOSTLES
144:6.1 Around the first of October, Philip and
some of his fellow apostles were in a near-by village buying food
when they met some of the apostles of John the Baptist. As a
result of this chance meeting in the market place there came about
a three weeks' conference at the Gilboa camp between the apostles
of Jesus and the apostles of John, for John had recently appointed
twelve of his leaders to be apostles, following the precedent of
Jesus. John had done this in response to the urging of Abner, the
chief of his loyal supporters. Jesus was present at the Gilboa
camp throughout the first week of this joint conference but
absented himself the last two weeks.
144:6.2 By the beginning of the second week of
this month, Abner had assembled all of his associates at the
Gilboa camp and was prepared to go into council with the apostles
of Jesus. For three weeks these twenty-four men were in session
three times a day and for six days each week. The first week Jesus
mingled with them between their forenoon, afternoon, and evening
sessions. They wanted the Master to meet with them and preside
over their joint deliberations, but he steadfastly refused to
participate in their discussions, though he did consent to speak
to them on three occasions. These talks by Jesus to the
twenty-four were on sympathy, co-operation, and tolerance.
144:6.3 Andrew and Abner alternated in presiding
over these joint meetings of the two apostolic groups. These men
had many difficulties to discuss and numerous problems to solve.
Again and again would they take their troubles to Jesus, only to
hear him say: "I am concerned only with your personal and purely
religious problems. I am the representative of the Father to the
individual, not to the group. If you are in personal
difficulty in your relations with God, come to me, and I will hear
you and counsel you in the solution of your problem. But when you
enter upon the co-ordination of divergent human interpretations of
religious questions and upon the socialization of religion, you
are destined to solve all such problems by your own decisions.
Albeit, I am ever sympathetic and always interested, and when you
arrive at your conclusions touching these matters of nonspiritual
import, provided you are all agreed, then I pledge in advance my
full approval and hearty co-operation. And now, in order to leave
you unhampered in your deliberations, I am leaving you for two
weeks. Be not anxious about me, for I will return to you. I will
be about my Father's business, for we have other realms besides
144:6.4 After thus speaking, Jesus went down the
mountainside, and they saw him no more for two full weeks. And
they never knew where he went or what he did during these days. It
was some time before the twenty-four could settle down to the
serious consideration of their problems, they were so disconcerted
by the absence of the Master. However, within a week they were
again in the heart of their discussions, and they could not go to
Jesus for help.
144:6.5 The first item the group agreed upon was
the adoption of the prayer which Jesus had so recently taught
them. It was unanimously voted to accept this prayer as the one to
be taught believers by both groups of apostles.
144:6.6 They next decided that, as long as John
lived, whether in prison or out, both groups of twelve apostles
would go on with their work, and that joint meetings for one week
would be held every three months at places to be agreed upon from
time to time.
144:6.7 But the most serious of all their
problems was the question of baptism. Their difficulties were all
the more aggravated because Jesus had refused to make any
pronouncement upon the subject. They finally agreed: As long as
John lived, or until they might jointly modify this decision, only
the apostles of John would baptize believers, and only the
apostles of Jesus would finally instruct the new disciples.
Accordingly, from that time until after the death of John, two of
the apostles of John accompanied Jesus and his apostles to baptize
believers, for the joint council had unanimously voted that
baptism was to become the initial step in the outward alliance
with the affairs of the kingdom.
144:6.8 It was next agreed, in case of the death
of John, that the apostles of John would present themselves to
Jesus and become subject to his direction, and that they would
baptize no more unless authorized by Jesus or his apostles.
144:6.9 And then was it voted that, in case of
John's death, the apostles of Jesus would begin to baptize with
water as the emblem of the baptism of the divine Spirit. As to
whether or not repentance should be attached to the
preaching of baptism was left optional; no decision was made
binding upon the group. John's apostles preached, "Repent and be
baptized." Jesus' apostles proclaimed, "Believe and be baptized."
144:6.10 And this is the story of the first
attempt of Jesus' followers to co-ordinate divergent efforts,
compose differences of opinion, organize group undertakings,
legislate on outward observances, and socialize personal religious
144:6.11 Many other minor matters were
considered and their solutions unanimously agreed upon. These
twenty-four men had a truly remarkable experience these two weeks
when they were compelled to face problems and compose difficulties
without Jesus. They learned to differ, to debate, to contend, to
pray, and to compromise, and throughout it all to remain
sympathetic with the other person's viewpoint and to maintain at
least some degree of tolerance for his honest opinions.
144:6.12 On the afternoon of their final
discussion of financial questions, Jesus returned, heard of their
deliberations, listened to their decisions, and said: "These,
then, are your conclusions, and I shall help you each to carry out
the spirit of your united decisions."
144:6.13 Two months and a half from this time
John was executed, and throughout this period the apostles of John
remained with Jesus and the twelve. They all worked together and
baptized believers during this season of labor in the cities of
the Decapolis. The Gilboa camp was broken up on November 2, A.D.
7. IN THE DECAPOLIS CITIES
144:7.1 Throughout the months of November and
December, Jesus and the twenty-four worked quietly in the Greek
cities of the Decapolis, chiefly in Scythopolis, Gerasa, Abila,
and Gadara. This was really the end of that preliminary period of
taking over John's work and organization. Always does the
socialized religion of a new revelation pay the price of
compromise with the established forms and usages of the preceding
religion which it seeks to salvage. Baptism was the price which
the followers of Jesus paid in order to carry with them, as a
socialized religious group, the followers of John the Baptist.
John's followers, in joining Jesus' followers, gave up just about
everything except water baptism.
144:7.2 Jesus did little public teaching on this
mission to the cities of the Decapolis. He spent considerable time
teaching the twenty-four and had many special sessions with John's
twelve apostles. In time they became more understanding as to why
Jesus did not go to visit John in prison, and why he made no
effort to secure his release. But they never could understand why
Jesus did no marvelous works, why he refused to produce outward
signs of his divine authority. Before coming to the Gilboa camp,
they had believed in Jesus mostly because of John's testimony, but
soon they were beginning to believe as a result of their own
contact with the Master and his teachings.
144:7.3 For these two months the group worked
most of the time in pairs, one of Jesus' apostles going out with
one of John's. The apostle of John baptized, the apostle of Jesus
instructed, while they both preached the gospel of the kingdom as
they understood it. And they won many souls among these gentiles
and apostate Jews.
144:7.4 Abner, the chief of John's apostles,
became a devout believer in Jesus and was later on made the head
of a group of seventy teachers whom the Master commissioned to
preach the gospel.
8. IN CAMP NEAR PELLA
144:8.1 The latter part of December they all
went over near the Jordan, close by Pella, where they again began
to teach and preach. Both Jews and gentiles came to this camp to
hear the gospel. It was while Jesus was teaching the multitude one
afternoon that some of John's special friends brought the Master
the last message which he ever had from the Baptist.
144:8.2 John had now been in prison a year and a
half, and most of this time Jesus had labored very quietly; so it
was not strange that John should be led to wonder about the
kingdom. John's friends interrupted Jesus' teaching to say to him:
"John the Baptist has sent us to ask -- are you truly the
Deliverer, or shall we look for another?"
Jesus paused to say to John's friends:
"Go back and tell John that he is not forgotten. Tell him what you
have seen and heard, that the poor have good tidings preached to
them." And when Jesus had spoken further to the messengers of
John, he turned again to the multitude and said: "Do not think
that John doubts the gospel of the kingdom. He makes inquiry only
to assure his disciples who are also my disciples. John is no
weakling. Let me ask you who heard John preach before Herod put
him in prison: What did you behold in John -- a reed shaken with
the wind? A man of changeable moods and clothed in soft raiment?
As a rule they who are gorgeously appareled and who live
delicately are in kings' courts and in the mansions of the rich.
But what did you see when you beheld John? A prophet? Yes, I say
to you, and much more than a prophet. Of John it was written:
`Behold, I send my messenger before your face; he shall prepare
the way before you.'
144:8.4 "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."
144:8.5 Many who heard Jesus that day submitted
themselves to John's baptism, thereby publicly professing entrance
into the kingdom. And the apostles of John were firmly knit to
Jesus from that day forward. This occurrence marked the real union
of John's and Jesus' followers.
144:8.6 After the messengers had conversed with
Abner, they departed for Machaerus to tell all this to John. He
was greatly comforted, and his faith was strengthened by the words
of Jesus and the message of Abner.
144:8.7 On this afternoon Jesus continued to
teach, saying: "But to what shall I liken this generation? Many of
you will receive neither John's message nor my teaching. You are
like the children playing in the market place who call to their
fellows and say: `We piped for you and you did not dance; we
wailed and you did not mourn.' And so with some of you. John came
neither eating nor drinking, and they said he had a devil. The Son
of Man comes eating and drinking, and these same people say:
`Behold, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans
and sinners!' Truly, wisdom is justified by her children.
144:8.8 "It would appear that the Father in
heaven has hidden some of these truths from the wise and haughty,
while he has revealed them to babes. But the Father does all
things well; the Father reveals himself to the universe by the
methods of his own choosing. Come, therefore, all you who labor
and are heavy laden, and you shall find rest for your souls. Take
upon you the divine yoke, and you will experience the peace of
God, which passes all understanding."
9. DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
144:9.1 John the Baptist was executed by order
of Herod Antipas on the evening of January 10, A.D. 28. The next
day a few of John's disciples who had gone to Machaerus heard of
his execution and, going to Herod, made request for his body,
which they put in a tomb, later giving it burial at Sebaste, the
home of Abner. The following day, January 12, they started north
to the camp of John's and Jesus' apostles near Pella, and they
told Jesus about the death of John. When Jesus heard their report,
he dismissed the multitude and, calling the twenty-four together,
said: "John is dead. Herod has beheaded him. Tonight go into joint
council and arrange your affairs accordingly. There shall be delay
no longer. The hour has come to proclaim the kingdom openly and
with power. Tomorrow we go into Galilee."
144:9.2 Accordingly, early on the morning of
January 13, A.D. 28, Jesus and the apostles, accompanied by some
twenty-five disciples, made their way to Capernaum and lodged that
night in Zebedee's house.