The Urantia Book Fellowship

Jesus: The So-called "Missing Years"
Materials and quotes for a detailed study

Compiled and presented by Dave Holt as an eight week course
Unity Center of Walnut Creek, California
Reference indicators refer to The Urantia Book

"You learn about God from Jesus by observing the divinity of his life, not by depending on his teachings. From the life of the Master you may each assimilate that concept of God which represents the measure of your capacity to perceive realities spiritual and divine, truths real and eternal." (The Urantia Book, Pg. 1856)

This is how we plan to proceed--merely to observe his life, the unfolding of its story much as we might listen to the parables he himself loved to tell. At the same time I will highlight the issues that I have perceived emerging out of the text for group discussions. I will also try to relate what we "see" to some well-known idea (or controversy) of his later life, or one that Jesus himself worked with in his public ministry. These concepts will also be cited from the Bible.

"You can adequately comprehend the destiny of the mortals of…a local creation only by a perusal of the narratives of the life and teachings of your Creator Son as he once lived the life of man, in the likeness of mortal flesh, on your own evolutionary world." (P. 360)

1. Jesus Within the Jewish Tradition

  • The world in Jesus's time:
    • p. 1332, "Nothing like the civilization of the times of Jesus has been seen-since," also p. 1333, "Greece provided a language culture (1 par.)
    • p. 1338, "three languages prevailed (1. par)
    • p. 1358, "There were few homes that could give better religious training (up to three languages.)
      • "The Galileans were not regarded with full favor by the Jerusalem religious leaders and rabbinical teachers. Galilee was more gentile than Jewish when Jesus was born." (p. 1334)
  • The Alexandrian connection:
    • p. 1355, "their sojourn at Alexandria…the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures…"
  • Jesus growing up:
    • p. 1360, "his prayers-departure from more solemn & reverent modes" (sec 3, 5th last par.) and a par. about, "family co-operation" (2nd last par.)
    • p. 1362, formal schooling and "contact with the gentiles" because of which, p. 1363, "Nazareth was... more liberal," (up to "view of all Galilee")
    • p. 1396, "As time went on..." Jesus denied his destiny as "the deliverer of the Jewish people." (1 par.)
    • The angel Gabriel described Jesus as, "the soul-healer of your people and the spirit liberator of all mankind (p. 1345)," in his visitation to Elizabeth (John the Baptist's mother).
  • The insularity of Jewish culture/ the distrust of "foreigners":
    • p. 1412, racial mingling... "Mary was much upset..." (1 par.)
    • More on the Messiah (the deliverer), p. 1334, "The Jewish people ... (1 par.) and p. 1339, 2 pars. under Jews and Gentiles.
      • Possible Question for discussion: Why, in spite of all the aforementioned biases and prejudices of the Jewish people, were they chosen above other groups to receive the bestowal son in their midst? Consider the idea quoted from A.N. Wilson for example:
        • "They [the Pharisees] taught that the Teaching (Torah) which came from Almighty God--while itself being holy and unchangeable --was of universal application. It was addressed to all mankind, to Gentiles as well as Jews..." (fr. Paul, The Mind of the Apostle, by A.N. Wilson)
      • Our first theme is emerging: How does Jesus coordinate obedience to his native tradition with the desire for freedom of expression?
        • p. 1366-1367, the drawing episode, p. 1372, "Jesus remonstrated with his father about the Jewish custom" (to end of paper.)
      • p. 1370, "About the middle of May trip to Scythopolis" (to end of paper.)
  • Theme of Parenting/ Family Life:
    • The Death of Joseph Paper 126 #2. Read how this "apparently cruel" event changed the course of Jesus's life; read all Sec 2.
  • A philosophy of non-violence:
    • (Paper 127 #4), The Nineteenth Year (A.D. 13), the children learn Jesus's technique of non-violence.
  • Was Jesus a revolutionary? Let us consider that important question here. Some people try to fit Jesus into the role of a radical revolutionary. Was he a Zealot? Or a philosopher of "evolutionary" vs. "revolutionary" change?:
    • The Jewish Revolt of 70 B.C. was fomented by the Zealots and other Jewish revolutionaries many years after Jesus's death. It led to the nearly complete destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (as he foretold.) The Jews were banned from living in or even visiting Jerusalem. "The city "was rebuilt as a Roman city named Aelia Capitolina." (Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 1997)
    • Jesus refuses to be the leader of the Zealots at age 17 ( Paper 127, #2) and later on, just before his baptism ( Paper 136, #9).
    • p. 1404, (Paper 127, sec 6, par. 3-7) The first passover without the Paschal lamb up to "the law of Moses."
    • The episode with his brother Jude, (Paper 128, #6 3rd Par.) Read from "The family finances..." to end of section 6.
    • Jesus's philosophy of non-violence continues to be heard, for example, in the teachings of Ghandi, and Martin Luther King. Here is part of a speech Martin Luther King gave to a crowd who assembled outside his home after a stick of dynamite had been thrown onto his porch (Jan. 31, 1956): "We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them."

2. Jesus Visiting Other Cultures

" apparent chance, Jesus met a wealthy traveler and his son .... Jesus agreed to make the trip." (Paper 129, Sec 2, par. 9-10)

  • Teaching the character of God:
    • At Joppa--Discourse on Jonah, (Paper 130, #1)
    • a spirit liberator: "will deliver them from captivity," generous and forgiving: "fresh opportunities for wiser living," God is love, "his goodness is so great and real that it cannot contain... evil."
  • Teaching partnership with God:
    • At Caesarea, (same paper, #2) Anaxand and the cruel foreman, Jesus's first comments on "the indwelling and divine spirit."
    • What is the "will of God?" (other refs: Paper 111 #5)
    • Jesus discusses the indwelling spirit quite naturally with Gonod and Ganid as if they are already well familiar with the concept- -perhaps because of such teachings in the Indian tradition as:
      • "He who, dwelling in all things,/ Yet is other than all things,/ Whom all things do not know,/ Whose body all things are/ Who controls all things from within--/He is your Soul, the Inner Controller,/ the Immortal." (from Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad.)
      • "The Lord Supreme ... is the inmost soul of all, which like a little flame the size of a thumb is hidden in the hearts of men." (from Svetasvalara Upanishad.)
    • The Urantia Book expands on this idea of Jesus preserved in Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is within you," and his remembered saying on partnership: "with God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27)
    • (Paper 130 #6), The Young Man who was Afraid. Jesus's most successful case history in his role as a psychological healer. Relate this episode to Paul's description of the effect of Jesus's gospel: "He is a new creature; his old life is over, a new life has already begun." (2 Cor 5:17, The New English Bible)
  • Jesus as a philosopher and a man of knowledge:
    • Not only did "the common people hear him gladly," but also the philosophers and theologians of the ancient world. Throughout the Urantia Book's descriptions, Jesus is less of the rabbi familiar to us from the Bible. We see him become reintegrated back into the whole matrix of the ancient world's philosophic, scientific and religious thought in the unique way that his ideas blend science, philosophy and religion to further serve human progress. Jesus was a practical idealist.
    • "At their inn there also lodged a merchant from Mongolia ... Jesus had several long visits with him. ...This merchant was a Taoist, and he had thereby become a strong believer in the doctrine of a universal Deity ... One God--the Supreme Ruler of Heaven." (Paper 130, #2)
      • Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao. It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free, takes on a physical body, lets circumstances complete it. That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.
      • The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them, cares for them, comforts them, protects them, takes them back to itself... (From The Tao Te Ching, #51, translated by Stephen Mitchell)
      • "Tao covers and supports all things. How overflowingly great!... To love people and benefit all things means humanity (jen). To identify with all without losing his own identity means greatness. To behave without purposely showing any superiority means broadness. To possess an infinite variety means richness. Therefore to adhere to virtue is called discipline. To realize virtue means strength. To be in accord with Tao means completeness." (attributed to Confucius by the Taoist philosopher, Chuang Tzu, or one of his pupils. 399-295 B.C.)
  • At Alexandria, (Paper 130, #3 and #4) Jesus's discussion of the relation between the visible and the invisible with a Platonist. Jesus teaches on subjects such as: what is truth? What is evil (error)?
  • **Optional** On The Island of Crete, short section (#5) (At this point, the class needs to make a decision whether to cover the world religions teachings that Ganid and Jesus assembled while in Alexandria or move on to other events in their journey.)
  • The Sojourn at Rome (Paper 132)
    • Read all of Introductory section, and Section 1, science, philosophy & religion. A discussion of a balanced approach to progress on all three levels and liberating oneself from dogma/static truth in all three areas. The progressive human development emphasized in Jesus's talks conflicts dramatically with the ideas of last days, judging the people of the earth, the rapture, the end of an age, and Armageddon current in many contemporary Christian circles. These eschatological concepts originate partly from Jewish concerns with re-establishing their rule and smiting their Roman enemies. When Jesus predicted the demise of the Temple, the Jews could not imagine life continuing afterwards. Jesus could foresee the continuing evolution of human societies.
      • Other references to follow up for further study, par. 4 of The Cosmic Mind, "responds on three levels of universe reality" (paper 16, #6)
      • The Seven Psychic Circles, par. 4 on, "When the development of the intellectual nature proceeds faster Likewise, overspiritual development" (paper 110, #6); Control and Overcontrol, par. 6, "when culture advances overfast, when material achievement outruns the evolution of worship-wisdom" (Paper 118)
      • Section 3, Truth and Faith, talking with the priest of Mithraism. (Paper 98 for more on Mithraism if you need to know more.)
      • Section 5, Counseling the Rich Man, Section 6, and Section 7 beginning at par 3, "It was on the visit to Switzerland..." for a discussion of unbalanced approaches to God, philosophy without religion and visa-versa.

3. Further Travels with Ganid and Gonod

  • The Return From Rome (Paper 133) Read all of Introductory section and section 1, Mercy and Justice.
  • Key ideas:
    • Justice, even in the universe, is vested in groups
    • having "absolute confidence in [the] heavenly Father's overcare." Recall from pg. 1326 (OE, p. 1159 just before par. 4), "the full meaning and the rich significance of that faith-trust which you so unvaryingly require all your creatures to master in the bestowal commission given to Michael (Jesus) before his incarnation.
      • Section 2, Embarking at Tarentum, up to end of par. 3, "...returned to India."
      • Section 3, At Corinth, up to end of par. 10, "...first Christian church in Corinth."
      • Section 4, Personal Work in Corinth, Read only par. 10, and 12.
      • Section 5, At Athens--Discourse on Science. Notice again the triads at the root of Urantia Book cosmology- -science, philosophy, religion; fact, meaning, value; matter (energy-mass), mind, spirit; a liberation from the trap of dualities such as we found in Plato with shadows of reality, original reality but no intervening middle ground of reality coming into being.
      • Section 6, At Ephesus--Discourse on the Soul, Notice this graph of stages in its evolution:
        • 1. Self-consciousness ... is not the soul.
        • 2. Moral self-consciousness= true human self-realization.
        • 3. Spiritualization of the self-realization of the moral selfconsciousness ... leads to eternal survival of the soul.
      • Section 7. The Sojourn at Cyprus--Discourse on Mind, Read par. 5 to the end.
      • Section 9. In Mesopotomia. the Farewell between Joshua, Gonod and his pupil.

"Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it." (p. 2090, Paper 196, sec 1, par 3.)

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Serving the Readership since 1955