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Thu, February 02, 2017

Jonah and the whale...did it happen?

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JOPPA, AD 22

Yesterday a visiting Jewish scholar addressed a question that has challenged many who wonder whether the Jewish scriptures are literal truth. According to Gadiah, a Philistine interpreter, the Jewish tutor explained the story as illustrative of the dilemma of humankind.

“We all seek to escape our destinies, much as did Jonah,” said Gadiah. “According to Joshua*, the Jewish scribe, we humans too often flee from our duties at hand, to far-off enticements. Such a flight can only cause pain and sorrow, and eventual captivity in darkness, much like the belly of the whale was for Jonah. But if such individuals sincerely seek light and truth they will be ejected by the circumstances of life onto the shore of new opportunities … upon the beach of the freedom of loving service and wise living.”

Asked whether the story of Jonah is literally true, Gadiah seemed perplexed. “You know, Joshua never really said whether it was literally true or not. I guess he implied that, at least, the story illustrates a great truth.”

*Jesus was often known as Joshua on this journey.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Thu, January 19, 2017

Execution of gentile questioned

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JERUSALEM, MONDAY, APRIL 18, AD 7

A mild controversy arose in the temple discussions yesterday when a youth questioned the justice of the recent execution of a gentile who had wandered into the sacred precincts of the temple. The man was in a drunken state at the time. A lively discussion about the fairness of the punishment ensued. When it was discovered that the lad who challenged the propriety of the punishment was only twelve years of age, a rabbi insisted that he leave the group immediately. But other teachers defended the youth since he had been duly consecrated and was a certified graduate of the schools of Nazareth. Some asserted that he was nearly thirteen and the age factor was a technicality. “I like the boy,” said one of his supporters. “He asks remarkable questions, and he is always deeply sincere and respectful.” A detractor countered: “When I heard he was from Nazareth it explained everything. As they say: ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’”

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Thu, January 05, 2017

Jesus considers his earthly career

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JERUSALEM, Planet of Earth, APRIL 8, AD 7

The mind of Jesus was swept by a flood of spiritual illumination today as he watched the Passover multitudes. The twelve-year-old’s heart was moved to great compassion and sympathy for their spiritual blindness. Tonight, a mighty angel appeared to Jesus and said: “The hour has come. It is time that you began to be about your Father’s business.” This was the first supernatural event of his bestowal in human flesh. Thus, on the night before the Passover Sabbath, the youth began consideration of his earth career as the deliverer of humankind.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Fri, December 02, 2016

Mesopotamians seek baby

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JERUSALEM, 7 BC

Several Chaldean priests are reportedly on a strange mission in Jerusalem. Their leader, Ardnon, declared yesterday that they were looking for “the light of life,” a child who is to be born here among the Jews. One of the priests referred to a teacher in Ur who disclosed a vivid dream he had about this prophesy. Some speculate that the rumored birth could be that of the “Messiah,” the legendary deliverer of Israel. The priests left for Bethlehem today, possibly on the advice of a high official at the temple here. A spokesman for King Herod cautioned that speculation about a new king was not in the interests of Israel.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Wed, November 09, 2016

Women’s Corps of Jesus shocks officials

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

BETHSAIDA, JANUARY 18, AD 29

Officials here today expressed surprise and alarm at the latest move by Jesus. After publicly declaring that women and men are equal in God’s eyes, the upstart teacher from Nazareth has formed a corps of ten women evangelists. The women had served in the tent city and listened to the instructions given to the evangelists. They were summoned to service by Jesus through the messenger network of David Zebedee. They are authorized to teach and evangelize as the male apostles do. A priest here has called the action “shocking.” He insisted that women are spiritually inferior to men. “They are not even permitted on the main floor of the synagogue,” he said.

Included in the Women’s Corps list released today:

SUSANNA, who was elected leader of the corps. She is the daughter of a former Chazan of the Nazareth synagogue.

JOANNA, elected treasurer. She is the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas.

ELIZABETH, whose wealthy father is well known in Tiberias and Sepphoris.

MARTHA, who is the elder sister of Peter and Andrew, two of Jesus’ apostles.

RACHEL, the sister-in-law of Jude, a brother of Jesus.

NASANTA, the daughter of Elman, a physician from Syria.

MILCHA, a cousin of Thomas, one of Jesus’ apostles.

RUTH, the eldest daughter of the Apostle Matthew Levi.

CELTA, whose father is a Roman Centurion.

AGAMAN, who is a widow from Damascus.

Susanna stated that the women would have full access to the Master, as do the male apostles. The women will fund themselves and be an autonomous group.

Susanna cited scriptural references to famous women, such as Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Esther and several others.

Even the apostles were stunned that Jesus would dare to commission women as equal leaders who would teach the gospel of the kingdom and minister to the sick.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Thu, October 27, 2016

Jesus teaches about a God of Love

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

GAMALA, NOVEMBER, AD 28

Jesus spoke at length last night about his new concepts of God in response to a question by one of his apostles. While not directly criticizing the Scriptures, Jesus stated that they often portrayed God as an angry king. He said this fear of God was the only way primitive minds could develop reverence. But now the world was ready to hear a new message, he insisted, saying: “I would now lead you from reverence up through recognition, realization, and appreciation to love of the Father in heaven.” Jesus stated that the early Jews feared God because he was mighty and mysterious, and now God should be loved because he is “magnificent in his love, generous in mercy and glorious in truth.” Jesus also took the occasion to urge that the apostles cultivate “balance and composure” to offset the tendencies to be disappointed by high expectations, pride and ambition.

Officials concede that Jesus maintains a peculiar composure in the midst of the controversy surrounding him. “His powerful personality, not his powers, account for many of the so-called healings attributed to him,” said one priest. The official, who declined to be identified, also said: “When people have so much faith in an individual, their faith seems to do wonders for their health.”

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Thu, October 13, 2016

Jesus challenges disapproving Pharisees

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JERUSALEM, APRIL, AD 28

Jesus of Nazareth astounded the guests who attended dinner here last night at the home of Simon, the influential Pharisee. Unfavorable comments were whispered when Jesus permitted an unidentified woman to anoint his feet while he ate.

The woman, who has a reputation as a former brothel operator, washed the feet of Jesus and then dried them with her hair. Suddenly Jesus, who seemed to sense the undercurrent of disapproval, asked Simon a question. Jesus said: “Simon, if two people owed money to a lender, and one owed a great deal and the other less, if the lender forgave both debts, who would love him most? The one who owed less, or the one who owed more?” “I guess the one who was forgiven the largest debt,” replied Simon. And Jesus agreed, admonishing him: “This woman has, perhaps, sinned greatly in the past, and she is forgiven. Her gratitude is obvious. Those who have received but little forgiveness sometimes love but little.”

A new undercurrent of annoyance arose as many took issue with Jesus for implying that he could forgive sins. But Jesus rose and declared that even the most supposedly flagrant sinner was welcome in the kingdom provided he repented of his sins and sincerely sought entrance. Before leaving, he said: “It is less our station than our direction that insures our spiritual growth. Continual, sincere efforts to grow are much better than an arrogant assumption that one has acquired spiritual stature. Pride is death to spiritual growth.” Some who attended the dinner felt the comments of Jesus were sure to provoke the Sanhedrin.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Fri, September 30, 2016

Lessons on Prayer, Thanksgiving and Worship

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins Jesus

JOTAPATA, JANUARY, AD 28

Jesus of Nazareth, who recently returned from Capernaum and the cities of the Decapolis, taught his apostle corps in quiet sessions here today. The subjects were prayer, thanksgiving and worship. His twelve-point training session was reportedly a comprehensive answer to accumulating questions raised by his apostles. The twelve points offered follow:

1. By opening the human end of the channel of God-man communication, we make immediately available the ever-flowing stream of divine ministry.

2. They who would receive mercy must show mercy. Judge not lest you be judged.

3. Righteousness is the faith act of the child of God which opens the door of the Father’s storehouse of goodness, truth, and mercy. Prayer does not change the divine attitude toward man, but it does change man’s attitude toward the changeless Father. It’s the motive of your prayer which gives it the right of way to the divine ear.

4. Prayer may not be employed to avoid the delays of time or to transcend the handicaps of space. Said Jesus: “Let your supreme delight be in the character of God, and he shall surely give you the sincere desires of your heart.”

5. “If you are ever in doubt as to what you would ask of the Father, ask in my name, and I will present your petition in accordance with your real needs and desires and in accordance with my Father’s will.” Avoid praying much for yourself; pray more for the spiritual progress of your brethren. Avoid materialistic praying; pray for the abundance of the gifts of the spirit.

6. When you pray for the sick and afflicted, do not expect that your petitions will take the place of loving and intelligent ministry to them. Pray for the welfare of your families and friends, but especially pray for those who curse you, and for those who persecute you.

7. Many resort to prayer only when in trouble, but you should also pray to your Father even when all goes well. Prayers of thanksgiving are appropriate for groups of worshippers, but the prayer of the soul is a personal matter. There is but one form of prayer which is appropriate for all God’s children, and that is: “Nevertheless, your will be done.”

8. All believers should pray sincerely for the extension of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus commented most approvingly on the prayer of the Psalmist: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Jesus said, “The human tongue is a member which few men can tame, but the spirit within can transform this unruly member into a kindly voice of tolerance.”

9. Jesus taught that the prayer for divine guidance and wisdom on your pathway of life was next in importance to your petition for a knowledge of the Father’s will. Pray wholeheartedly and intelligently, earnestly and steadfastly.

10. Employ prayer as a means of leading up through thanksgiving to true worship. Jesus deplored that so little of the spirit of thanksgiving was to be found in prayers and worship.

11. Jesus said: “Be not constantly overanxious about your common needs. Be not apprehensive concerning the problems of your earthly existence, but by prayer and sincere thanksgiving, let your needs be spread out before your Father who is in heaven.”

12. Jesus taught that after praying we should remain for a time in silent receptivity to afford the indwelling spirit the better opportunity to speak to the listening soul. The spirit of the Father speaks best to man when the human mind is in an attitude of true worship.

The presentation was well received. It was also reported that Jesus plans to continue his tour of Galilee and will soon move on to Ramah.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Fri, September 16, 2016

Jesus is Loved by the Common People of Earth

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

JERUSALEM, MARCH, AD 30 Jesus spreads good cheer everywhere he goes. He is full of grace and truth. His associates never cease to wonder at his graciousness, which is the aroma of friendliness emanating from his love-saturated soul.

Jesus really seems to understand people; therefore he manifests genuine sympathy and sincere compassion. The empathy of Jesus is boundless, yet it is practical, personal, and constructive. He is able to minister to distressed souls without increasing their self-pity. Jesus can help people so much because he loves them so sincerely. He truly loves each man, each woman, and each child. He is able to be such a true friend because he knows so fully what is in their hearts and minds. He is an interested and keen observer, and expert in the comprehension of human needs and longings.

Jesus is never in a hurry. He takes time to comfort his fellow beings “as he passes by.” He is a charming listener. He never engages in the meddlesome probing of the souls of his associates.

As he comforts hungry minds and ministers to thirsty souls, the recipients of his mercy do not so much feel that they are confessing to him as that they are conferring with him. He never manifests a desire to direct, manage, or follow up with them. He inspires profound self-confidence and robust courage in all who enjoy his association. When he smiles upon an individual, that mortal experiences an increased capacity for solving his manifold problems. Yet Jesus never hesitates to be severe when the occasion demands.

Often he sets out to help a person by asking for help. In this way he elicits their interest, and appeals to the better things in human nature. He is always willing to stop a sermon or detain a multitude while he ministers to the needs of a single person, even to a little child. Great things happen not only because people have faith in Jesus, but also because Jesus has so much faith in them.

Many of the really important things which Jesus says or does seem to happen casually, “as he passes by.” There is so little of the professional or the premeditated in the Master’s earthly ministry. He dispenses health and scatters happiness naturally and gracefully as he journeys through life. It is literally true, “He goes about doing good.” And it behooves the Master’s followers in all ages to learn to minister as they pass by—to do unselfish good as they go about their daily duties.

And now as we watch developments, we lament that men of great earthly power have issued a decree demanding the death of Jesus. Jerusalem awaits in breathless tension as the Master approaches the city.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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Thu, September 01, 2016

Parables and sayings of Jesus impact listeners

By By Larry Mullins and Joan Batson Mullins

PELLA, MARCH, AD 30

The parables of Jesus have gained popularity throughout Palestine. They are a unique teaching method, and each is designed to impart an important truth. Jesus enjoys telling three particular parables together, and their collective power seems to move those who hear them. The three are the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son.

THE LOST SHEEP: There was a certain shepherd who had a hundred sheep. Losing one, he left the ninety-nine to fetch it. And when the shepherd found the lost sheep, he tenderly carried it back to the fold. He rejoiced, and called forth his friends to join him in celebration. Jesus declares there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than there is over ninety-nine who need no repentance.

THE LOST COIN: A woman had a necklace of ten pieces of silver coin, and losing one, she set about to find it. She lit the lamp and swept the house and diligently searched until she discovered the missing piece, covered and obscured by dust. Jesus says that the Father and his Son go forth to find both the coin, covered by the accumulated things of men, and the sheep that wandered off unintentionally and is lost in the wilderness.

THE PRODIGAL SON: A father had two sons. One was lighthearted, yet lazy and shirked responsibility. The older son was responsible, serious, hardworking and yet conceited and joyless. The younger son requested his inheritance that he might go out in the world and seek his fortune.

The father granted the request and the young man went forth. He squandered his fortune in riotous living and was soon in want. The son found employment feeding swine, and became destitute and hungry. He decided to return home to work in his own father’s fields, where he knew he would receive a reasonable wage, saying, “I will arise, and return to my father.”

When the father saw him coming, he was overjoyed. The son repented of his deeds, and before he could ask for employment, his father called to his servants: “Bring on the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry, for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”

But the older brother stayed away from the celebration, and when the father sought him, the brother said: “I have been faithful to you, I cared for you and never made merry. You never gave me even a kid to celebrate. But for your son who left you and wasted his inheritance on harlots, you bring forth the fatted calf and robes to celebrate his return.” And the father answered: “All that I had was yours while you stayed with me, and you could have had it at any time. But now, he who was lost is found, your brother has returned alive! Rejoice with us.” Jesus often pointed out that the prodigal son had deliberately left the fold, and then, contrite, he sought to find his way back. And the restoration to his father’s household was complete.

THE SHREWD STEWARD:

Another popular parable of Jesus concerned a shrewd and unjust steward who oppressed others for his own gain and squandered his master’s money. When the master discovered this, he notified him that he must prepare to turn over his stewardship to another. The unfaithful steward was afraid, and sought to acquire money for the bleak future ahead. He went to all the master’s debtors and reduced their debts dishonestly to earn their favor.

The master admitted that the steward at least had the sagacity to prepare for future days of want and adversity.

Some found this parable puzzling, since the avarice of the steward seemed to be rewarded. But Jesus made the point that they should lay their treasures in heaven, make eternal friends with the unseen forces of good even as those of the world make friends with the unrighteous. He said: “I affirm that he who is faithful in little will also be faithful in much, while he who is unrighteous in little will also be unrighteous in much ... And again I assert that no man can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to one while he despises the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

THE RICH MAN AND THE BEGGAR:

Peter likes to tell a parable he learned from John the Baptist, a story regarding Dives and Lazarus, the rich man and the beggar. Jesus will not comment upon this parable of Dives and Lazarus which depicts the afterlife and punishment in Hades. Experts have pointed out that Jesus has never mentioned Hades in his preaching. Further, it is noted that Jesus recommended parables be based upon true stories, not fables. Other experts say that the story of Dives and Lazarus reflects more of a vengeful God in contrast to the loving nature of the God of Jesus.

(Extract from Chronicle of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.)

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