The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 163: Ordination of the Seventy at Magadan
Jesus returned to Magadan, where he met with Abner and his disciples, the women's corps, the evangelistic corps, and about one hundred and fifty other disciples from various parts of Palestine. The entire group began a course of intensive training. Jesus talked to the believers each morning. Peter taught methods of public preaching, Nathaniel taught about the art of teaching, and Thomas explained how to answer questions.
The selection of the seventy was decided by a committee of Andrew, Abner, and the acting head of the evangelistic corps. When these three judges were not unanimous in their opinion, they brought the candidate to Jesus.
One disciple brought before Jesus asked that he be allowed first to return home to await the imminent death and burial of his father. Jesus said the man could remain a faithful disciple while ministering to loved ones, but if he wanted to be ordained, he must let others bury the dead. Another wanted to go home to comfort his family. He was told that he must choose one or the other.
A rich man, Matadormus, a former member of the Sanhedrin, pleaded with Jesus to allow him to become one of the newly ordained messengers. Jesus said he would accept Matadormus if he was willing to pay the price. Matadormus replied. "Master, I will do anything if I may be allowed to follow you." Jesus told him to go and sell all that he owned, and bestow the proceeds to the poor.
Matadormus had been raised to believe that wealth was a sign of the favor of God. Jesus knew that he couldn't be an ordained teacher until he was free of his love of wealth. Jesus also saw that Matadormus could have become the leader of the group, but unless Matadormus gave up his wealth he would not be accepted by others who had truly given up everything.
Matadormus couldn't do it. Jesus was sad that Matadormus did not choose ordination, for he greatly loved him. Sometime later, Matadormus did obey Jesus' request and became treasurer of the church in Jerusalem. But his delay deprived him of the chance for personal association with the Master during his last few months on earth.
Later Peter asked, "Shall we require those who follow you to give up all their worldly goods?" Jesus replied that this was necessary only for those who would become apostles. "Whatever thing or person comes between you and the love of the truths of the kingdom, must be surrendered. If one's wealth does not invade the precincts of the soul, it is of no consequence in the spiritual life of those who would enter the kingdom."
At the end of this two-week training period Jesus ordained seventy new teachers of the gospel.
During the ordination ceremony, Jesus instructed them to:
Give the gospel to all, gentile and Jew alike.
Refrain from the expectation of miracles.
Proclaim a spiritual brotherhood rather than a worldly kingdom.
Stay in the first worthy house offered in each city.
Tell believers that the time for an open break with the Jerusalem Jewish leaders had come.
Reveal that man's only duties are to love God completely, and his neighbor as himself.
Peter also spoke to the new teachers, asking them to:
Pray for more laborers for the kingdom.
Expect hostility and persecution.
Trust the Father to provide food and shelter.
Attend to their business with enthusiasm and without distraction.
Show kindness and courtesy toward all.
Minister to those sick in mind and body.
When the ordination sermon was over, Abner assigned them to preach for six weeks in Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. The seventy set out in pairs on their mission. Jesus and the apostles broke camp early in December and set off to establish headquarters in Perea.
After they left, David Zebedee curtailed his messenger service. He organized a camp near the vacated Magadan site for housing pilgrims who arrived daily from throughout the Roman empire. Within a week, David's camp was prepared to accommodate fifteen hundred visitors.
On December 30, the seventy messengers assembled at the Perea headquarters to exchange their stories of the completed six-week tour. Jesus rejoiced to see men continue the proclamation of the gospel without his immediate presence. The Master addressed them, saying,
"To you and to all who shall follow in your steps down through the ages, let me say: I always stand near, and my invitation-call is, and ever shall be, Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am true and loyal, and you shall find spiritual rest for your souls."
Preparation for the three-month Perean mission, the Master's last mission, began. Jesus no longer needed to travel to teach people; increasingly, people came to him. He and the apostles spent much of the time during the Perean tour in camp teaching the multitudes, while the seventy and the women's corps went out two by two into the cities.