The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 162 - At the Feast of the Tabernacles
In October 29 AD, Jesus and the Apostles stayed in or near Jerusalem. Jesus spent most of his time during October between the apostles in Bethany and Abner's group in Bethlehem. Abner was the leader of the former followers of John the Baptist.
Jesus' apostles many times had asked the Master to preach the gospel in Jerusalem, to which he has always replied that his hour had not yet come. Now that Jesus was being pursued by the Sanhedrin, the apostles pleaded with him not to go into Jerusalem. Jesus responded, "But the hour has come."
People from as far away as Spain and India were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of the tabernacles. Jesus boldly entered the city on several occasions to teach publicly in the temple.
Jesus' appearance at this feast confused both his followers and his enemies. Abner and his associates had done much to create favorable opinion for Jesus' gospel, so his enemies were afraid to be too outspoken against him. Some members of the Sanhedrin believed in Jesus, and others were adverse to arresting him while while so many people were in town. The Sanhedrin also conjectured that Jesus appeared so openly in their midst due to some promise of protection by the Romans. So the Master taught unmolested.
The crowds who listened to Jesus had various opinions: Even his enemies marveled at his teachings. One man asked Jesus how he could teach so fluently when he had not been taught by the rabbis. Jesus said that his teaching was not his own, but God's.
One of the men in the crowd asked Jesus why the rulers sought to kill him. He replied, "The rulers seek to kill me because they resent my teaching about the good news of the kingdom, a gospel that sets men free from the burdensome traditions of a formal religion of ceremonies which these teachers are determined to uphold at any cost... they well know that, if you honestly believe and dare to accept my teaching, their system of traditional religion will be overthrown, forever destroyed."
Eber, an officer of the Sanhedrin, was sent to arrest Jesus. As Eber approached, Jesus said, "I know you have been sent to apprehend me, but you should understand that nothing will befall the Son of Man until his hour comes. "Jesus continued to speak about the love of the Father. He proclaimed that he had come that all might have eternal life. When Jesus finished, Ebner refused to arrest him; he returned to the Sanhedrin and told his superiors that Jesus was speaking words of mercy and hope, cheering and comforting the downhearted. He questioned what was wrong in such teachings, even if Jesus was not the Messiah. The Sanhedrin disbanded in confusion.
A man who had know Jesus in childhood conspired with agents of the Sanhedrin to trap Jesus. The man had married a woman, Hildana, and set her up as a prostitute. The husband betrayed his wife to the Sanhedrin's men so they could use her to set a trap for Jesus.
The Sanhedrin agents brought Hildana to Jesus saying, "Master, this woman was taken in adultery - in the very act. Now. the law of Moses commands that we should stone such women. What do you say should be done with her?" If Jesus upheld the law of Moses, he would be speaking against the Roman authorities. If he forbade the stoning, the Sanhedrin could accuse him of cowardice.
Jesus looked over the crowd, saw the husband, and walked over to where he stood. Jesus wrote a few words in the sand. When the man read them, he quickly left the scene. The Master then stood before the agents of the Sanhedrin and wrote in the sand again. One by one, these men also went away. Finally Jesus wrote words in front of the man taken with Hildana, who also took his leave. Jesus said, "Woman, where are your accusers? Did no man remain to stone you? " Hildana replied, "No man, Lord." Jesus replied, "I know about you; neither do I condemn you. Go your way in peace." Hildana later became a disciple of the kingdom.
The former apostles of John the Baptist were influenced by the courage Jesus displayed in his public preaching during the feast of the tabernacle, and also by the sympathetic understanding of his private work with them in Bethlehem. During this time, Abner and Jesus consolidated their two groups. Early in November, Abner and his group joined Jesus in his work. They labored with the apostles until the cruxifixion.