Think you know a lot about Jesus? Here's good article from "Eternity News" about the Master that might be of interest to you: 5 things you may not know about Jesus by John Dickson. The author makes some great observations about Jesus that he's gleaned from the Bible; and we're going to blog about all of them below, but first, here's a thumbnail view of the five things. Click on the link to read how the author fleshes out these ideas. You'll see that his views are not unlike what we Urantia Book students understand of Jesus.
1. People have no idea how huge a field the study of Jesus is, even among people who don't believe.
2. Women were huge in Jesus life.
3. Jesus grew up in a pretty big family...
4. Jesus was something like a refugee.
5. "Love your enemies..." core to the ethical life...
Click to read more.
The Urantia Book is a treasure in more ways than one, but when reading the Bible, it is wonderful for finding out the deeper story...the story that has been revealed by the authors of the book. In all of these cases of "things you may not know about Jesus," we'll show you the rest of the story...
Jesus is a perennial hot topic
The almost explosive surge of interest in Jesus in books, movies, news articles has continued unabated for many years now, and this interest only seems to intensify as the years go on. As the author points out: "It's a massive field."
As Urantia Book readers, we can only agree, and watch hopefully as the world struggles to make sense of the life of Jesus and to discover who he really was - and IS. For any student of the revelation, this constant and increasing quest for knowledge about Jesus just might be indicative of the presence of the Spirit of Truth that has been active in the hearts of mankind ever sence the day of Pentecost. About this good Spirit, the Urantia Book tells us:
Jesus lived on earth and taught a gospel which redeemed man from the superstition that he was a child of the devil and elevated him to the dignity of a faith son of God. Jesus' message, as he preached it and lived it in his day, was an effective solvent for man's spiritual difficulties in that day of its statement. And now that he has personally left the world, he sends in his place his Spirit of Truth, who is designed to live in man and, for each new generation, to restate the Jesus message so that every new group of mortals to appear upon the face of the earth shall have a new and up-to-date version of the gospel, just such personal enlightenment and group guidance as will prove to be an effective solvent for man's ever-new and varied spiritual difficulties.
While this statement emphasizes that the Spirit of Truth is designed to "live in man and, for each new generation, to restate the Jesus message ...", it seeems clear that the search for that "Jesus message" is the quest of all of this interest in Jesus. And The Urantia Book, as well as countless websites dedicated to its teachings, is out in the world, too, providing an attractive beacon to any truthseeker who finds it in their search. And once they find it, this good Spirit helps the message resound in the heart of every sincere seeker. When one looks for information on Jesus in connection with The Urantia Book, one can find countless articles that can be very helpful to discover Jesus anew.
Read more about the Spirit of Truth
Jesus and Women
The author above states: "Women were huge in Jesus life."
And according to The Urantia Book, they truly were:
"The most astonishing and the most revolutionary feature of Michael's mission on earth was his attitude toward women. In a day and generation when a man was not supposed to salute even his own wife in a public place, Jesus dared to take women along as teachers of the gospel in connection with his third tour of Galilee. And he had the consummate courage to do this in the face of the rabbinic teaching which declared that it was "better that the words of the law should be burned than delivered to women."
This passage refers to Jesus' establishment of the Women's Evangelistic Corps. Read more about that, as well as much more about Jesus and his "revolutionary" attitude toward women in our study on this topic: "Jesus and Women."
Jesus' Earth Family
The author above says: "Jesus grew up in a pretty big family..."
And the earth family of Jesus was even larger than the one posited by the author of the article. He has figured out more than most about how many siblings Jesus had, but The Urantia Book introduces us to Jesus family in great detail. Please see our topical study:
Siblings: Jesus' Brothers and Sisters.
Jesus, the Nomad
The author references the flight to Egypt of the little family soon after Jesus' birth as evidence of their efugee staus. They truly were starngers in a strange land. Although not revealed by reading the Bible, The Urantia Book tells us that at least they did not have to make their way entirely alone, but were able to stay with relatives in that far land. Again, the rest of the story, and much, much more about these heretofore unknown days of the Master's early life. All of Paper 122, 123, and beyond...:
122:10.4 The massacre of these infants took place about the middle of October, 6 B.C., when Jesus was a little over one year of age. But there were believers in the coming Messiah even among Herod's court attachés, and one of these, learning of the order to slaughter the Bethlehem boy babies, communicated with Zacharias, who in turn dispatched a messenger to Joseph; and the night before the massacre Joseph and Mary departed from Bethlehem with the babe for Alexandria in Egypt. In order to avoid attracting attention, they journeyed alone to Egypt with Jesus. They went to Alexandria on funds provided by Zacharias, and there Joseph worked at his trade while Mary and Jesus lodged with well-to-do relatives of Joseph's family. They sojourned in Alexandria two full years, not returning to Bethlehem until after the death of Herod.
Jesus lived a nomadic life by the time he reached his late twenties, and really lived as a citizen of the world, more than a citizen of one particular town or another, and:
141:3.4 There was a subtle commanding influence in his rugged, nomadic, and homeless life.
He once talked about this when he said that the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.
157:6.12 Can you believe the truth about me in the face of the fact that, though the foxes have holes and the birds of heaven have nests, I have not where to lay my head?"
Jesus' Ethics - A challenge for any age
As familiar as we all are with the Master's teachings about loving one's enemies, this teaching of his remains one of the most revolutionary of his teachings. It is far removed from what we learn in the world, where resentment, revenge, and getting even are hallmarks of daily life. Jesus told his apostles: " If you were of this world, then would the world love its own, but because you are not, the world refuses to love you. You are in this world, but your lives are not to be worldlike."
The world scoffs at the idea of loving the enemy; wars, hatreds, resentments are all evidences of that inability to grasp the importance of Jesus' idea of true brotherhood - a brotherhood that mandates we treat our fellows as God treats us, with a fatherly affection.
140:3.15 "I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them."
140:3.14 "Do not forcibly resist injustice; put not your trust in the arm of the flesh. If your neighbor smites you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Be willing to suffer injustice rather than to go to law among yourselves. In kindness and with mercy minister to all who are in distress and in need."
178:1.17 Throughout the vicissitudes of life, remember always to love one another. Do not strive with men, even with unbelievers. Show mercy even to those who despitefully abuse you.
141:3.8 Jesus portrayed conquest by sacrifice, the sacrifice of pride and selfishness. By showing mercy, he meant to portray spiritual deliverance from all grudges, grievances, anger, and the lust for selfish power and revenge. And when he said, "Resist not evil," he later explained that he did not mean to condone sin or to counsel fraternity with iniquity. He intended the more to teach forgiveness, to "resist not evil treatment of one's personality, evil injury to one's feelings of personal dignity."
Again, we see exactly the opposite in modern culture, in world politics, in much of the business dealings of the world. And this is precisely why these teachings are so startling; they provide such a contrast to the world and such a challenge to even the true follower of the Master:
195:9.6 Modern, civilized men dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus demonstrated in full measure - a measure we may never be called upon to perfrom - this injunction to love the enemy:
188:5.7 The cross makes a supreme appeal to the best in man because it discloses one who was willing to lay down his life in the service of his fellow men. Greater love no man can have than this: that he would be willing to lay down his life for his friends—and Jesus had such a love that he was willing to lay down his life for his enemies, a love greater than any which had hitherto been known on earth.
On other worlds, as well as on Urantia, this sublime spectacle of the death of the human Jesus on the cross of Golgotha has stirred the emotions of mortals, while it has aroused the highest devotion of the angels.
Nevertheless, all of us are certainly called upon to demonstrate in small and large ways in daily life this willingness to follow Jesus in the way we treat those who offend our feelings of "personal dignity;" in other words, those who injure our fragile egos.
I hope that, if you've gotten this far, that you feel that you really have gotten to know a lot more about Jesus. And maybe even feel inspired to read more...