The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 138: Training the Kingdom's Messengers
In June, 26 AD, Jesus sent the apostles out for two weeks. Each apostle was asked to invite one other man to join the group and to speak personally with people about the kingdom. The apostles began to sense the spiritual hunger in people and learn the value of personal contact. Meanwhile, Jesus visited with his family in Nazareth.
When they returned, each man proposed his candidate for the group. Andrew selected Matthew Levi, Philip chose Thomas Didymus, James Zebedee invited James Alpheus, John Zebedee chose Judas Alpheus, Peter chose Simon Zelotes, and Nathaniel invited Judas Iscariot. Jesus personally called the new apostles to their work.
Arrangements were made for the apostles to live in the Zebedees' house in Capernaum while they spent a week in training. By day, the six new apostles learned from the original six, and each evening all learned together from Jesus. For the next five months, the apostles went out in pairs, alternating personal ministry with fishing. Jesus divided his time among the six pairs of apostles. In January, 27 AD, Jesus formally ordained the twelve as preachers and ambassadors of the kingdom.
This was a period of quiet ministry and growth. The apostles had trouble understanding much that Jesus taught because they insisted on trying to fit his teachings into their old religious beliefs. They were shocked by his treatment of women as equals in spiritual matters. Judas Iscariot was unsatisfied with Jesus' lack of action in the imprisonment of John the Baptist. The six original apostles complained when they heard that the newer six would be granted equal status. All questioned Jesus about how he was going to establish the kingdom, and what positions each of them would have.
Jesus instructed the apostles to portray the revelation of the Father's love without being sidetracked into preaching about him. He asked them to seek sinners and to comfort the downhearted. Jesus tried to convince the apostles that his kingdom was a spiritual one, rather than a rule of power and glory on earth.
Jesus taught the apostles about forgiveness of sin through faith, without penance or sacrifice. Jesus wanted them to have the personal experience and assurance of God's indwelling love and grace. The apostles learned that Jesus had a profound respect for every human being he met; nothing was so important to him as the individual person who happened to be in his presence. They did not comprehend Jesus' teachings completely, but they truly believed in him.
The common people marveled at the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. They had been told by rabbis that ignorant people could not be pious or righteous, but Jesus' apostles disproved this.