The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 130: On the Way to Rome and
Paper 131: The World's Religions
Jesus, Gonod, and Ganid left Jerusalem on April 26, 22 AD to embark on a tour of the Mediterranean that included Alexandria, Crete, Carthage, Naples, Rome, Corinth, Athens, Ephesus, Cyprus, Syria, Damascus, Mesopotamia, Babylon, and Ur. Jesus spent half of each day teaching Ganid and acting as interpreter for Gonod's business contacts, and the other half getting to know people. Ganid learned much from Jesus during their association.
While in Joppa, Jesus met Gadiah, a Philistine interpreter. One day as Jesus and Gadiah were walking by the sea, Gadiah pointed out the place that was reputed to be the site from which Jonah had begun his ill-fated voyage. Gadiah asked Jesus whether he thought Jonah really had been swallowed by a big fish.
Jesus perceived that Gadiah, through the story of Jonah, had been impressed against the folly of running away from duty. Jesus answered, "My friend, we are all Jonahs with lives to live in accordance with the will of God, and at all times when we seek to escape the present duty of living by running away to far-off enticements, we thereby put ourselves in the immediate control of those influences which are not directed by the powers of truth and the forces of righteousness. The flight from duty is the sacrifice of truth. The escape from the service of light and life can only result in those distressing conflicts with the difficult whales of selfishness which lead eventually to darkness and death unless such God-forsaking Jonahs shall turn their hearts, even when in the very depths of despair, to seek after God and his goodness. And when such disheartened souls sincerely seek for God-hunger for truth and thirst for righteousness-there is nothing that can hold them in further captivity."
Sometime later Gadiah asked why God, who is infinitely good, permits the existence of evil. Jesus replied, "My brother, God is love; therefore he must be good, and his goodness is so great and real that it cannot contain the small and unreal things of evil. God is so positively good that there is absolutely no place in him for negative evil. Your Father in heaven, by endowing you with the power to choose between truth and error, created the potential negative of the positive way of light and life; but such errors of evil are really nonexistent until such a time as an intelligent creature wills their existence by mischoosing the way of life."
In Caesarea, Jesus and his friends were delayed because one of the boats on which they intended to travel was being repaired. There was a shortage of skilled woodworkers, and Jesus volunteered to assist in the repair. Anaxand, one of the men who worked on the boat with Jesus, became interested when Jesus spoke of the Father in heaven being interested in the welfare of his children on earth. The young man asked, "If the Gods are interested in me, then why do they not remove the cruel and unjust foreman of this workshop?"Jesus answered, "Since you know the ways of kindness and value justice, perhaps the Gods have brought this erring man near that you may lead him into this better way. Maybe you are the salt which is to make this brother more agreeable to all other men; that is, if you have not lost your savor. As it is, this man is your master in that his evil ways unfavorably influence you. Why not assert your mastery of evil by virtue of the power of goodness and thus become the master of all relations between the two of you? I predict that the good in you could overcome the evil in him if you gave it a fair and living chance."
When the boat was ready, the company left for Alexandria. Gonod went about his business while Jesus and Ganid went to the university and the legendary library. Jesus and Ganid spent time every day in the library where nearly a million manuscripts from throughout the world were assembled. Under Jesus' direction, Ganid made a collection of the teachings of religions which recognized some form of universal deity: Cynicism, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Suduanism, Shinto, Taoism, and Confucianism. Ganid hired more than sixty translators to help him with this effort.
From Alexandria, the travelers journeyed to Crete to relax. One day in the mountains, Jesus met a distressed young man. Jesus asked the youth for directions to a certain place, and the young man marked out the trails on the ground and explained the route in detail. Jesus soon turned the conversation to the young man's disconsolation. "My friend, arise! Stand up like a man! You may be surrounded with small enemies and be retarded by many obstacles, but the big things and the real things of this world and the universe are on your side. The sun rises every morning to salute you just as it does the most powerful and prosperous man on earth."
After further discourse, Jesus continued, "This day, my son, you are to be reborn, re-established as a man of faith, courage, and devoted service to man, for God's sake. And when you become so readjusted to life within yourself, you become likewise readjusted to the universe; you have been born again-born of the spirit-and henceforth will your whole life become one of victorious accomplishment. Trouble will invigorate you; disappointment will spur you on; difficulties will challenge you; and obstacles will stimulate you. Arise, young man! Say farewell to the life of cringing fear and fleeing cowardice. Hasten back to duty and live your life in the flesh as a son of God, a mortal dedicated to the ennobling service of man on earth and destined to the superb and eternal service of God in eternity."
This young man later became the leader of Christians in Crete.