The Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ

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"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

As he was nailed to the crossbeam, Jesus spoke, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

NOTE: “Urantians”— people who have read, and believe The Urantia Book— are aware of the actual date of the Crucifixion as Friday, April 7, 30 A.D.  Historians too, are largely in agreement that the crucifixion of Jesus probably occurred on Nisan 14, (April 7), according to the Gospel of John.  The Urantia Book reveals unprecedented detail of the events which unfolded during those momentous days, giving amazing new depth and dimension to the timeless story of how our backward planet dealt death to the Son of God and the Son of Man, the Creator of our Universe.


JESUS ARRESTED IN GETHSEMANE PARK

Things began unfolding around eleven PM at Gethsemane Park where Jesus had been praying with three of his apostles, when Judas Iscariot led a group of an estimated sixty persons with torches and lanterns into the garden.   The group included a contingent of Roman soldiers under orders of Procurator Pontius Pilate from the fortress of Antonia.  Iscariot was “well out in front” of the soldiers;  we are informed Iscariot was in the process of betraying Jesus, and this distance was intended to give the impression to his recently deserted fellow-followers that he was not connected with the armed guards which followed so closely on his heels.

Sources close to Jesus have confirmed that as recently as March 29th he had again pronounced to his apostles that he was completely aware of plans to deliver him into the hands of the chief priests and religious rulers, who would in turn deliver him into the hands of the gentiles, who would then “deliver him up to death.”

It had been widely reported for several weeks the Sadducees, who control and dominate the Sanhedrin, have publicly dared to condemn Jesus in advance of a trial, and Herod is said to have become so frightened by the confirmed resurrection of Lazarus that he intended to kill Jesus, or at the very least drive him from the territory.

Jesus Betrayed by a kiss

“Would you even betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

As Iscariot approached Jesus, the prophet stepped aside and addressed the approaching captain of the Roman guards saying, “Whom do you seek?” The captain answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus calmly stepped directly in front of the officer saying, “I am he.”  The front ranks fell suddenly backward, overcome with surprise at his boldness.

As the guards rallied from their initial faltering, Judas stepped up to Jesus and, kissing the prophet on the brow, said, “Hail Master and Teacher.” Jesus said, “Friend, is it not enough to do this!  Would you even betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”   Jesus then repeated his question to the Roman captain, got the same answer, and said, “I have told you that I am he.  If, therefore, you seek me, let these others go their way.  I am ready to go with you.”

Before they could depart, however, the Syrian bodyguard of the high priest, Malchus, attempted to bind Jesus‘ hands behind his back, which caused the associates of Jesus to immediately rush forward with at least one sword drawn.

But even before the soldiers could come to the defense of the high priest’s servant, Jesus raised a forbidding hand and, speaking sternly, said: “Peter, put up your sword.  They who take the sword shall perish by the sword.  Do you not understand that it is the Father’s will that I drink this cup?  And do you not further know that I could even now command more than twelve legions of angels and their associates, who would deliver me from the hands of these few men?”

By this time the captain was extremely alarmed, and immediately had Jesus bound and gave orders that the others should be seized too— but they slipped into the surrounding darkness and eluded their captors.  Jesus was then taken to the home of Annas, the former high priest, and father-in-law of Caiaphas, the acting high priest.

AT THE PALACE OF ANNAS

Roman law allows that any prisoner may have at least one friend to stand with him before the judgment bar, and John Zebedee was selected to stand with Jesus.  The Roman captain said, “Go along with this prisoner and see that these Jews do not kill him without Pilate‘s consent.  Watch that they do not assassinate him, and see that his friend, the Galilean, is permitted to stand by and observe all that goes on.”

The reason for detaining Jesus for several hours at the palace of Annas was to allow time for legally calling together the Sanhedrin court, as it is not lawful to convene the Sanhedrin court before the time of the three o’clock offering of the morning sacrifice in the temple.  Murdering a prophet?  The Son of God?  Well. That’s another matter.

CaiaphasCaiaphas, the acting high priest, gets in Jesus’ face.

Jesus was detained about three hours at the Mount Olivet palace of Annas, which is but a short distance from Gethsemane Park. Annas had Jesus brought before him in his spacious audience chamber, where he spent several minutes trying to get Jesus to respond to his questions, when, quite visibly disturbed by his silence, said, “Do you have no care as to whether I am friendly to you or not? Do you have no regard for the power I have in determining the issues of your coming trial?” When Jesus heard this, he said:  “Annas, you know that you could have no power over me unless it were permitted by my Father.  Some would destroy the Son of Man because they are ignorant;  they know no better, but you, friend, know what you are doing.  How can you, therefore, reject the light of God?”

Annas appeared bewildered by the kindly manner in which Jesus spoke to him.  He asked: “Just what is it you are trying to teach the people?  What do you claim to be?” Jesus answered: “You know full well that I have spoken openly to the world.  I have taught in the synagogues and many times in the temple, where all the Jews and many of the gentiles have heard me. In secret I have spoken nothing; why, then, do you ask me about my teaching?  Why do you not summon those who have heard me and inquire of them?  Behold, all Jerusalem has heard that which I have spoken even if you have not yourself heard these teachings.”

But before Annas could make reply, his chief steward, who was standing near, struck Jesus in the face with his hand, saying, “How dare you answer the high priest with such words?”  Annas said nothing to his steward, but Jesus said, “My friend, if I have spoken evil, bear witness against the evil;  but if I have spoken the truth, why, then, should you smite me?”

Annas appeared too proud to take notice of the matter, but in his confusion went into another room, leaving Jesus alone with the household attendants and the temple guards for almost an hour.  Since it was nearing the break of day, Annas sent Jesus bound and in the custody of the temple guards to Caiaphas, and followed after them shortly.

 

A PARADE OF PERJURERS

About half past three o’clock this morning the chief priest, Caiaphas, called the Sanhedrist court of inquiry to order, a special trial court of some thirty Sanhedrists, convened in the palace of the high priest. John Zebedee was still present with Jesus throughout this so-called trial.  Jesus appeared clothed in his usual garments, and with his hands still bound behind his back. The entire court appeared startled and somewhat confused by his majestic appearance; never had they witnessed such composure in a man on trial for his life.

More than twenty witnesses were on hand to testify against Jesus, but their testimony was so contradictory, and so evidently trumped up that even the Sanhedrists themselves appeared very much ashamed of the performance.  Jesus stood looking down benignly upon one perjurer after another, but throughout all this false testimony he never said a word.

Finally the high priest shouted at Jesus, “Do you not answer any of these charges!?” But he did not respond.

Annas then rose and argued that the threat of Jesus to destroy the temple was sufficient to warrant the charges against him, but Caiaphas apparently could not longer endure the sight of the teacher standing there in perfect composure and unbroken silence, and rushed over to the side of Jesus and, shaking his accusing finger in his face, said:

Caiaphas

“I adjure you, in the name of the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Deliverer, the Son of God!” Jesus answered:  “I am.  Soon I go to the Father, and presently shall the Son of Man be clothed with power and once more reign over the hosts of heaven.”

Caiaphas was exceedingly angry, and rending his outer garments, exclaimed:  “What further need have we of witnesses?  Behold, now have you all heard this man’s blasphemy.  What do you now think should be done with this law-breaker and blasphemer?”  And they all answered in unison,  “He is worthy of death;  let him be crucified!”

The high priest then stepped forward and smote Jesus in the face with his hand.  Observers were shocked as the other members of the court, in passing out of the room, spit in Jesus‘ face, and many of them mockingly slapped him with the palms of their hands. And thus in disorder and unheard-of confusion this first session of the trial of Jesus ended at half past four o’clock.

Jewish law requires that, in the matter of passing the death sentence, there are two sessions of the court, the second session to be held the day following the first, and the intervening time spent in fasting and mourning by the members of the court.

But these men did not await another day for the confirmation of their decision that Jesus must die.  They waited only one hour. Jesus was left in the custody of the temple guards, who, with the servants of the high priest, amused themselves by heaping every sort of indignity upon their prisoner. They mocked him, and spit upon him;  they would strike him in the face with a rod and say, “Prophesy to us, you the Deliverer, who it was that struck you.”  And this went on for a full hour, against the unresisting man of Galilee.

During this hour before the ignorant guards and servants, John Zebedee waited in an adjoining room.  When these abuses first started, Jesus indicated by a nod of his head that his apostle should leave.  The prophet knew that if his apostle were to witness these indignities, his resentment would result in his death.

Throughout this awful hour Jesus uttered no word.

 

THE WAY TO CALVARY

The second session convened at five-thirty this morning, and a half-hour later, Jesus was indicted as a perverter of the Jewish nation, that he taught the people to refuse to pay tribute to Caesar, and he claimed to be a king who incited treason against the emperor.  This procedure was of course, wholly contrary to the their laws, as no two witnesses had agreed on any matter save the destruction of the temple and raising it again in three days;  even then, no witnesses spoke for the defense, and Jesus was never asked to explain his intended meaning.  By six AM, Jesus was on his way to appear before Pilate.

Pontius Pilate was up and ready to receive these early morning callers, having been informed the previous evening that Jesus would be brought before him early. The trial was to take place in front of the praetorium, an addition to the fortress of Antonia, where Pilate and his wife stayed when in Jerusalem.

All Jerusalem knows Pilate is a coward, but the events of this morning will probably lead to the undoing of his tenuous relationship with the Sanhedrin.  There was his earlier run-ins with the high priests over the use by Pilate of temple funds for a new aqueduct to provide more water for the millions of visitors to Jerusalem during the great religious feasts, and the removal of images on the Roman military banners where Pilate had his legs taken out from under him by Rome.

Pilate knew the priests had been up all night trying to convict Jesus of something, but when he surmised that the charges had to do with infringements of the Jewish ecclesiastical laws, he referred the case back to their own tribunal.  Pilate appeared to take great delight in making the priests publicly confess that they were powerless to pronounce and execute the death sentence upon one of their own race.

When they finally produced the written charges, (1, Perverting our nation and stirring up our people to rebellion, 2, Forbidding the people to pay tribute to Caesar, and 3, Calling himself the king of the Jews, and teaching the founding of a new
kingdom), Pilate insisted that they be read before Jesus, who had not yet heard them.

Jesus still made no reply.  Even when Pilate offered him a chance to answer his accusers, he remained silent.  Pilate was so astonished at the unfairness of the whole proceeding and so impressed by Jesus‘ silent and masterly bearing, that he decided to take the prisoner inside the hall and examine him privately.

Pilate’s questioning of the Galilean prophet was sufficient to convince him that the prisoner had done nothing worthy of death.  One look at Jesus, face to face, was apparently enough to convince even Pilate that this gentle and weary, but majestic and upright man was no wild and dangerous revolutionary who aspired to establish himself on the temporal throne of Israel.  Pilate was thoroughly convinced that, instead of being a dangerous sedition monger, Jesus was nothing more or less than a harmless visionary, an innocent fanatic.

Pilate flails

Pontius Pilate: . . .Nothing worthy of death has been done by this man. If you still think he needs to be disciplined, I am willing to chastise him before I release him.”


Pilate returned to the chief priests and said, “I have examined this man, and I find no fault in him. I do not think he is guilty of the charges you have made against him; I think he ought to be set free.”  When the Jews heard this, they were moved with great anger, so much so that they wildly shouted that Jesus should die;  and one of the Sanhedrists boldly stepped up by the side of Pilate, saying: “This man stirs up the people, beginning in Galilee and continuing throughout all Judea. He is a mischief-maker and an evildoer.  You will long regret it if you let this wicked man go free.”

Pilate thought he had at least a temporary solution:  send the prisoner to Herod!  And Jesus was dragged off to stand before Herod.  For some fifteen minutes Herod asked Jesus questions, but he would not answer.  Herod taunted and dared him to perform a miracle, but Jesus made no reply to his many inquiries or taunts.

Then Herod turned to the chief priests and the Sadducees and heard all and more than Pilate had listened to regarding the alleged evil doings of Jesus.  Finally, convinced Jesus would not perform a wonder for him, Herod, after making fun of him for a time, arrayed him in an old purple royal robe, and sent him back to Pilate.

On the steps of the praetorium, Pilate, sitting in his judgment seat, said, “You brought this man before me with charges that he perverts the people, forbids the payment of taxes, and claims to be king of the Jews. I have examined him and fail to find him guilty of these charges. In fact, I find no fault in him. Then I sent him to Herod, and the tetrarch must have reached the same conclusion since he has sent him back to us. Certainly, nothing worthy of death has been done by this man. If you still think he needs to be disciplined, I am willing to chastise him before I release him.”

At this moment, a vast crowd came marching up to the praetorium, for the purpose of asking Pilate for the release of a prisoner in honor of the Passover feast. The crowd surged up on the steps of the building, calling out the name of one Barabbas. Barabbasis a known political agitator and murderous robber despite being the son of a priest, who was recently apprehended in the act of robbery and murder on the Jericho road, and is under sentence to die as soon as the Passover festivities are over.

We note that a few days before, this multitude had stood in awe of Jesus.  But such a mob does not look up to one who, having claimed to be the Son of God, now finds himself in the custody of the chief priests and the rulers and on trial before Pilate for his life.  Jesus could be a hero in the eyes of the populace when he was driving the money-changers and the traders out of the temple, but not when he is a nonresisting prisoner in the hands of his enemies, and on trial for his life.

Pilate remonstrates“How could you choose the life of a murderer in preference to this man’s, whose worst crime is that he figuratively calls himself the king of the Jews?”

Pilate was visibly angered at the sight of the chief priests clamoring for the pardon of a notorious murderer while they shouted for the blood of Jesus. He could see their malice and hatred and perceived their prejudice and envy. Then he said: “How could you choose the life of a murderer in preference to this man’s, whose worst crime is that he figuratively calls himself the king of the Jews?”

Pilate is clueless about how deeply the priests resent the intimation that the meek-mannered teacher of strange doctrines should be referred to as “the king of the Jews.”  But how could he not know such a remark was an insult to everything they hold sacred and honorable in their national existence?

Pilate paused a moment to read a communication he had just received, a note from his wife, Claudia, beseeching him “to have nothing to do with the man called Jesus.”  According to onlookers, Pilate appeared shaken and grew pale, and asked the crowd, now thoroughly organized for Barabbas, “What shall I do with him who is called the king of the Jews?” They all shouted with one accord, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”

Once more Pilate said:  “Why would you crucify this man?  What evil has he done?  Who will come forward to testify against him?”  But when they heard Pilate speak in defense of Jesus, they only cried out all the more, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”

But again Pilate appealed to them regarding the release of the Passover prisoner, saying:  “Once more I ask you, which of these prisoners shall I release to you at this, your Passover time?”  And again the crowd shouted, “Give us Barabbas!”

Then Pilate said: “If I release the murderer, Barabbas, what shall I do with Jesus?”  And once more the multitude shouted in unison, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Obviously now afraid to defy the clamor of the mob who cried for the blood of Jesus, he ordered the Jewish guards and the Roman soldiers to take Jesus and scourge him.

Ecce Homo“Behold the man!

Then Pilate led forth the bleeding and lacerated prisoner, clothed in a old purple royal robe with a crown of thorns piercing his brow and, presenting him before the multitude, said: “Behold the man! Again I declare to you that I find no crime in him, and having scourged him, I would release him.”

The crowd, quickly recovering from the first shock of seeing his plight, only shouted the louder and the longer, “Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!” It was finally sinking in that it was futile to appeal to their supposed feelings of pity.  Pilate stepped forward and said:  “I perceive that you are determined this man shall die— but what has he done to deserve death?  Who will declare his crime?”

Then the high priest himself stepped forward and, going up to Pilate, angrily declared: “We have a sacred law, and by that law this man ought to die because he made himself out to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he seemed visibly afraid and trembled at the thought of Jesus possibly being a divine personage.  He waved to the crowd to hold its peace while he took Jesus by the arm and again led him inside the building to further examine him. Pilate was now so confused by fear, bewildered by superstition, and harassed by the stubborn attitude of the mob, that he knew not what to do.

But apparently his last talk with Jesus really frightened him. He appeared again before the crowd, saying: “I am certain this man is only a religious offender. You should take him and judge him by your law. Why should you expect that I would consent to his death because he has clashed with your traditions?”

Pilate appeared ready to release Jesus when Caiaphas approached and, shaking an avenging finger in Pilate’s face, said with angry words which the entire multitude could hear: “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend, and I will see that the emperor knows all.” This public threat was way too much for Pilate. Fear for his personal fortunes now eclipsed all other considerations, and the cowardly governor ordered Jesus brought out before the judgment seat.

As the Master stood there before them, he pointed to him and tauntingly said, “Behold your king.”

The Mob
“His blood be on us and on our children.”

And the Jews answered, “Away with him. Crucify him!”

And then Pilate said, with much irony and sarcasm, “Shall I crucify your king?”

And the Jews answered, “Yes, crucify him! We have no king but Caesar.”  And finally Pilate realized that there was no saving Jesus;  since he was clearly unwilling to defy the mob.

Pilate was now afraid of a riot.  He dared not risk having such a disturbance during Passover time in Jerusalem, due to recently receiving a reprimand from Caesar, and not wanting to risk another.  The mob cheered when he ordered the release of Barabbas.  He ordered a basin and some water, and before the multitude, he washed his hands, saying:  “I am innocent of the blood of this man.  You are determined that he shall die, but I have found no guilt in him. See you to it.  The soldiers will lead him forth.”

And the mob cheered, shouting, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Jesus Carries The Crossbeam to Golgatha

THE CRUCIFIXION

Approximately 200 onlookers, consisting mostly of enemies of Jesus, curious idlers, and a few supporters, follow along with the Roman soldiers who take Jesus up to Golgatha shortly after nine o’clock this Friday morning, April 7, 30 A.D.  With the crossbeam on his shoulders according to custom, Jesus is led by the captain of the guard, who carries the white boards with the names of the criminals and the nature of their crimes.  Two of the boards carry the word “brigand,” but the board for the cross of Jesus has been written by Pilate himself— in Latin, Greek, and Aramaic— and reads: “Jesus of Nazareth— the King of the Jews.”

The customary route to Golgatha is not followed, the captain instead choosing the more direct route via the Damascus gate north out of the city.  Still, many women who had known of Jesus’ life of loving ministry dare to follow the procession, weeping and lamenting, in bold disregard of the law prohibiting such displays of sympathy for the condemned.  Jesus takes notice of the women and speaks briefly to them saying,

“Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but rather weep for yourselves and for your children.  My work is about done— soon I go to my Father— but the times of terrible trouble for Jerusalem are just beginning.  Behold, the days are coming in which you shall say:  Blessed are the barren and those whose breasts have never suckled their young.  In those days will you pray the rocks of the hills to fall on you in order that you may be delivered from the terrors of your troubles.”

Observers marvel at the stamina of the prophet, having had no food or water— and certainly no sleep— since his arrest at Gethsemane park Thursday night. Not surprisingly, he appears near exhaustion, and shortly after passing through the Damascus gate, he falls.  Despite several severe kicks to his body by the soldiers, he cannot rise;  the captain seeing this, commands the soldiers to stop, and orders a passerby, one Simon from Cyrene, to assume the burden of the crossbeam.

Shortly after nine o’clock the procession reaches Golgatha, and the grim task of nailing the three to their crosses begins.  Jesus is quickly garbed with the customary lion cloth provided by the Romans after his clothes are removed, accommodating the Jewish people’s great objection to public exposure of the naked human form.

The soldiers first bind the Teacher’s arms with cords to the crossbeam, then nail his hands to the wood.  It is said that the ideas, motives, and longings of a lifetime are openly revealed in a crisis.  As they nail him to the crossbeam, he is heard to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Jesus is hoisted up

When they have hoisted this crossbeam up on the post, and after they nail it securely to the upright timber of the cross, they bind and nail his feet to the wood, using one long nail which penetrates both feet. The upright timber has a large peg inserted at the proper height, which serves to support the body weight. As is customary at Golgatha, the cross is not high; the prophet’s feet are but three feet from the ground.

The Title is Nailed above his head

After the Galilean is hoisted on the cross, the captain nails the title up above his head, which reads in three languages, “Jesus of Nazareth— the King of the Jews.”  Many who stand under the cross are infuriated by this perceived insult.  Pilate, who surely felt he had been intimidated and humiliated, now takes this method of obtaining his petty revenge.  He knows too, how the Jerusalem Jews detest the very name of Nazareth, and now he humiliates them.  He knows that they will also be cut to the very quick by seeing this executed Galilean called “The King of the Jews.”

When the Jewish leaders learn how Pilate is deriding them with this inscription on the cross of Jesus, they hasten to Golgotha, but they dare not attempt to remove the board, as the Roman soldiers are standing guard.  These leaders then mingled with the crowd to incite derision and ridicule, lest anyone give serious regard to the inscription.

Just as the captain is nailing the title above his head, the Apostle John, with Mary the mother of Jesus, Ruth, a sister of Jesus, and Jude, his brother, arrive.  Apparently this apostle is the only one of the eleven apostles to witness the crucifixion of their “Master.” As Jesus sees his mother, with John and his brother and sister, he gives them a brief but silent smile.

Meanwhile the four soldiers, as is the custom, divide his clothes among them.  One takes the sandals, one the turban, one the girdle, and the fourth his cloak.  This leaves his tunic, a seamless vestment reaching down to near the knees, to be cut up into four pieces. But when the soldiers see what an unusual garment it is, they cast lots for it.  Jesus looks down on them as they divided his garments, and as the crowd jeers at him.

Before eleven o’clock, upward of one thousand persons are witnessing this spectacle of the crucifixion of the so-called “Son of Man.”  If we are to believe him, we are all witnessing the death of the Son of God;  we must also assume that a watching universe of angels stands by in silent horror, as they witness God dying the death of the creature, even this, the most ignoble death of a condemned criminal.

The World of the Cross

Many who pass by wag their heads and, railing at him, say: “You who would destroy the temple and build it again in three days, save yourself!  If you are the Son of God, why do you not come down from your cross?”

Some of the rulers of the Jews mock him, saying, “He saved others, but himself he cannot save!”

Others say, “If you are the king of the Jews, come down from the cross, and we will believe in you.”  And later on, they mocked him the more, saying: “He trusted in God to deliver him. He even claimed to be the Son of God— look at him now— crucified between two thieves.”  Even the two thieves rail at him and cast reproach upon him.  But Jesus makes no reply to their taunts.

By half past eleven o’clock most of the jesting and jeering crowd have gone their way;  less than fifty remain on the scene as it nears noontime of this special preparation day.  The soldiers now prepare to eat lunch and drink their cheap, sour wine as they settled down for the deathwatch.  As they drink their wine, they derisively offer a toast to Jesus, saying, “Hail and good fortune! to the king of the Jews!”  And they are astonished at his tolerant regard of their ridicule and mocking.

When Jesus sees them eat and drink, he looks down upon them and says, “I thirst.”  When the captain of the guard hears Jesus say “I thirst,” he takes some of the wine from his bottle and, putting the saturated sponge stopper upon the end of a javelin, raises it to Jesus so that he can moisten his parched lips.

One of the brigands rails at Jesus:  “If you are the Son of God, why do you not save yourself and us?”  The other thief says to him,  “Do you have no fear even of God?  Do you not see that we are suffering justly for our deeds, but that this man suffers unjustly?  Better that we should seek forgiveness for our sins and salvation for our souls.”  When Jesus heard the thief say this, he turns his face toward him and smiles approvingly.  When the thief sees the face of Jesus turned toward him, he musters up his courage and says, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  And then Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say to you today, you shall sometime be with me in Paradise.”

It’s now after twelve o’clock and the sky darkens from the fine sand in the air.  The people of Jerusalem know this means a hot-wind sandstorm from the Arabian desert is coming.  By one o’clock the sky is so dark the sun is hidden, and the remainder of the crowd hastens back to the city.  The Teacher is near death, but seems to be uttering passages from the scriptures.  One of the women says they are the twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second Psalm, which begins with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  This is to be one of his last utterances.

“It is finished!  Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

The sandstorm grows in intensity, and the heavens increasingly darken.  The soldiers crouch near the cross, huddled together to protect themselves from the cutting sand.  Others watch from a distance, where they are somewhat sheltered by an overhanging rock.  When the Galilean, called “Master” unbidden by those who followed him, gives up his life shortly after this hour, less than thirty people are present;  the thirteen Roman soldiers and a group of about fifteen believers.

Just before three o’clock, Jesus, with a loud voice, cries out, “It is finished! Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”  And when he had thus spoken, he bowed his head, and moved no more.  When the Roman centurion saw how Jesus died, to our astonishment he smote his breast and said: “This was indeed a righteous man; truly he must have been a Son of God.”

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ


To read more, go to The Burial And Resurrection Of Jesus, or go to THE URANTIA BOOK to read the entire Life And Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

IT’S QUIVERING TIME

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Quivering Time: Hands Away

“…where two or three believers are gathered together, there am I in the midst of them.”
—Jesus

 

 

December 3rd marks my discovery of The Urantia Book 45 years ago.  I still take a chunk of the day to reflect on what has happened in my life, since that momentous discovery.  It was the beginning of Christmas break at the university I was attending.  A friend of my roommate, a total stranger, was in our apartment when I returned from class;  we were listening to a radio blurb about some “born-again Christians” who were evangelizing on a San Francisco street corner, and were assaulted for their efforts.  I rudely and thoughtlessly expressed my disdain for the Christians.  She studied me a moment, and asked me if I had ever heard of The Urantia Book.  I had not;  she gave me a slight smile and said, “I think you’ll like it.”  She said she had a copy down in their van.  A moment later I was reading the white paper jacket on a seriously hefty blue book, and not prepared for what happened next.

Spiritual experiences are, for lack of a better word, ineffable.
It took me many months of reflection on just what happened in that moment; how it was possible to hear that spiritual alarm that went off in my . . . head? . . . a foreign sound that was not a sound.  A tap on the shoulder of my soul.

December 3rd, 2015 also marks the day my uncle Benny graduated this life to eventually reawaken in a higher plane of existence.  But in this life, he was very much an atheist, with an easily aroused and loathing and even anger towards the very idea of a God.  Yet I tell you he’ll be overwhelmingly surprised someday— not to mention eternally grateful— when he wakes in the next world, to know, and be known, with the very same unique personality housed in a marvelously new and non-material body;  to take up life anew in a startling and unimaginable universe of eternal progress and adventure.

Unfortunately, it was simply impossible to even talk to him about such ideas here, in this life, because for whatever reason(s), he was closed to the very notion of eternal life.  I point this out because even that sort of intellectual error won’t prevent his re-awakening, and one day, we’ll have the talk we couldn’t have here.

And it’s true:  it’s very difficult to adequately explain to anyone, and for numerous reasons, just how important the personal discovery of The Urantia Book can be.  At one level, it is the difference between being Woke in reality, or being virtually asleep in an automatic dream world.  At another, and higher level, it’s the fundamental and genuine awareness of knowing who you are, what you are, where you are, and why you are here; as opposed to not really thinking about any of those questions, let alone the answer to them.

The majority of people on this planet go through their entire lives assuming that the answers to those vital questions can never truly be known, so no reason to labor over them. Their lives are filled with more or less systemic confusion, which manifests itself in every major decision they must make, in every single relationship they have.  Death remains a great and increasingly ominous mystery to those who even dare to reflect on their own mortality, and often merely a glib ignorance of the basic nature of reality to those who do not.

But life and death are common daily experiences on our world;  new souls coming into it every day, while other souls are constantly leaving their mortal coil behind them as they head into the vast unknown.  It’s safe to say that even young adults have experienced a funeral of someone near or dear to them, and likely have been introduced to a newborn child of friends or family.  And it is this very commonness of these profound events that often allows us to overlook their cosmic significance in the real experiential wonder of living life as a sentient, spiritual, and potentially eternal being.

So. If you’re open-minded enough to wonder and investigate unknown realities, if you crave to understand the mystery of living and possess genuine intellectual integrity— then this annual plea is for you:  read The Urantia Book while you are still on Urantia.

Someday you will be glad— joyful— far beyond words that you did.

 

 

7 Things You’re Actually Dying to Know

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Flippin’ Monkey Bosy

You only think you’re free.

Fact #1.  I don’t belong here— I’m innocent.

I’m only sort of kidding. Our planet Urantia is, in a peculiar sense, a prison/playpen for self-conscious monkey men. Granted, it’s a large, spectacularly beautiful and complex prison, and it would seem, a prison very poorly run, for the most part, by the most unqualified inmates; but there’s way more to it than that. There are no traditional bipedal guards, just a couple inventive things like gravity and an atmosphere that keeps us all mostly on the surface, involuntarily breathing away, taking care of business, or fucking things up;  that freewill thing, you know.

 

Generally, the only practical way off the planet is with a toe-tag.  But it’s a shame so few inmates realize they’re doing time here, or why, and a bigger disappointment that even fewer actively seek the answer to that question;  not to mention a shitload of other essential truths. They mostly just wander around the prison, occasionally shivving others, occasionally getting shivved themselves, accidentally, or on purpose. When they’ve done their time, most of them will wake up on the next world all slack-jawed, where they’ll spend upwards of a 100 years or so learning all the shit they should’ve learned here.  So:  Live to Learn, Learn to Live.

 

 

Cha cha cheetos

Cheetos are not your friend.

Fact #2. I eat Cheetos.


It’s more than just the power of cheese, or the exquisite crunchiness; now they have jalapeño cheddar flavoring. Cheetos have always been my road trip snack of choice, despite yellow-sticky-fingers. It’s no surprise that a dick like Joe Scarborough thinks he’s ridiculing bloggers who eat Cheetos in their underoos while we write;  but the part about us wiping the cheesey goodness on our bare skin is Joe’s sick peccadillo, you can be sure; only he’s doing it while watching internet teletubbie porn:

Phosphenes

This is not even remotely like the phosphenes I’m talking about.

Fact #3. My phosphenes have gotten nasty lately.

Not talking optical migraine here; but those little white critters that pop into your vision and swim a few strokes, then disappear, or sometimes they trigger an optical migraine. Maybe I should call them blog-fiends;  they mostly always happen when I’m staring at my visual editor.

 

 

seratoninMolecule

Serotonin Molecule

Fact #4. I make my own serotonin.

Yeh, yeh, we all do;  but I make mine in the bathtub— twenty or thirty gallons at a time— two or three times a year, depending on the severity of the winter;  bulk chemicals, the whole nine yards.  It keeps pretty fresh in an air-tight container in a dark cool place;  I use recycled wine bottles.  Drink chilled.

 

Fact #5. I don’t wear a hat.

But I’m into guided self-observation, (see the clip) and have been whittling down the distractions that delay evolving my soul.  If you don’t know how to self-observe, find yourself a copy of Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood and read it. Or better yet, The Urantia Book. You’ll see why.  Just be prepared to give up your hats.

Fact #6.  I. love. water.
Living Water

Living Water

In Robert Heinlein‘s Stranger In A Strange Land, Michael Valentine Smith introduces earthlings to the concept of “water brothers.”  When I read the book in 1971, it seemed like a cool way to define a relationship with prospective young females, since sex was what water bros most often shared besides the water.

But after sharing a lot of water, eventually I realized the sheer beauty of water spoke volumes about its Creator;  from the contemplation of eternity inspired by the endless crashing of waves, to the infinite variety of form created on it’s surface, to its divine power to keep all living things alive.

So.
Treasure Water.

Share Water.

 

 

Fact #7. I’m enlightened, and you can be too!
No, Really.

Relatively speaking, of course.  It simply means you know what you am, where you are, why you’re here, and where you’re going.  All of these things are freely available to anyone;  again:  read The Urantia Book.

But enlightenment doesn’t turn you into Gandhi, or the Dalai Lama.  It’s kind of a perfunctory awareness, when you think it through.  We can have a genuine personal religious experience with our Indwelling Spirit.  We are still imperfect flesh and blood creatures, albeit with one fabulously amazing potential aspect:  we can choose to live forever.
So put down the cake and get after it, you clowns!

OMFG!

Yes, they’re shoving wedding cake into their pie holes.

 

SERVE SOMEBODY

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SERVE SOMEBODY
Bob Dylan

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be thee heavyweight champion of the world
You might be a socialite with a lonnng string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well  it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
Money, drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
May be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
May be livin’ in another country under another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

May be a construction worker working on a home
Might be livin’ in a mansion, ya might live in a dome
You may own guns and you may even own tanks
You may be somebody’s landlord, you may even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well it may be the devil it ah, might be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher preachin’ spiritual pride
May be a city councilman takin’ bribes on the side
May be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
Might like to eat caviar, ya might like to eat bread
May be sleepin’ on the floor, sleepin’ in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody 
Yes indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

A you may call me Terry, a you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, a you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything, no matter what you say

Still gonna have to serve somebody
Yes, you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil an it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

 

 

 

 

Serve Somebody BOB DYLAN

 

“GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY” Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music

 

The Rainbow Roots of Racism

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The Rainbow Roots Of Racism: New Yorker Cover

Important stuff you should know about the origins of race.

 

The 2008 NEW YORKER cover of Barack and Michelle Obama as Muslim terrorists rekindled an old debate about satire, humor, racism, and fear.  It was spun around a satirical cartoon which illustrated the lengths some human minds are willing, and able to go, to mask— rather than transcend— the racism inherent in our human nature.

Yes.  Racism is inherent in human nature.  We don’t necessarily hate “others” by an act of will, we do it quite naturally.  What’s up with that? 

Just like our mammalian ancestors, all humans beings are bellicose— exceedingly pugnacious as a rule, and with fiery tempers.  Originally it served a useful evolutionary purpose when it came to survival;  the more motivated monkey of the day did not hesitate to take his sundry weapons to the neighbors’ skulls and exterminate them.  The species that won these battles most often progressively improved and therefore multiplied, and survived to wax fat on the land.

Soon they fanned out over the Mesopotamian peninsula, and with just seventy generations of evolution at work, one particular pair spawned a singularly remarkable pair of twins, one male, one female.  They had almost perfectly opposable thumbs;  they walked upright.  Their brains were smaller than yours and mine, but their improved intelligence propelled them into the leadership of their tribe, and their family grew to become the nucleus of the mid-mammals.

The mid-mammals begat the Primates.    After almost nine hundred generations of development, covering about twenty-one thousand years from the origin of the dawn mammals, the Primates suddenly gave birth to two more remarkable creatures, the first true human beings.*

The Rainbow Roots Of Racism: Urantian Aborigine

Urantian Aborigine; the “Eskimo.”

These first human beings were not Caucasians. They were not black;  they were not yellow;  they were not red, orange, green, or blue.  They were brown.  Their melanin most nearly resembled the Eskimo of today;  they had hardly more hair on their bodies than the average person of today.  They were our racial aborigines, and the progenitors of the entire human race.

But 500,000 years ago, among the human tribes of the northwestern highlands of India, there was a new and strange occurrence.  A human man and woman living in the northeastern part of this inhabited highland region began to produce a family of unusually intelligent children.  This was the “Sangikfamily, and their children were the ancestors of all of the six colored races of our world, Urantia.

Their nineteen children were not only more intelligent than their fellow tribesmen, but their skin manifested a unique tendency to turn various colors upon exposure to sunlight.  Of the nineteen children, five were red, two were orange, four were yellow, two were green, four were blue, and two indigo.  Their skin colors became even more pronounced as they grew older, and when they mated with their fellow tribesmen, all of their offspring tended toward the skin color of the Sangik parent.

For almost a hundred thousand years these Sangik peoples spread out around the foothills and mingled together— more or less— notwithstanding the peculiar, but natural antipathy, which manifested early between the different races.  Those were ages of intense struggles between the various developing races.  And, surprise, their eventual and gradual dispersion to the four corners of the globe did very little to alter their deep-seated animosity towards each other.  They just didn’t like each other.  And they still don’t.

The evolutionary plan of race amalgamation on an evolving world like ours entails a long, slow, gradual blending of all six colored races into a blended single race, that is destined to become up-stepped by a celestial infusion of a higher life plasm, an advanced evolutionary step in the ongoing plans of creature perfection.  This age is generally inaugurated by the arrival of the planetary “Adams and Eves,”  visible super-material beings, who are destined to function as physical uplifters on the various evolutionary worlds of time and space.

However, before this racial blending project could happen on our world, the normal plan of racial amalgamation went into the toilet a long time ago, as a consequence of yet another, even more insane catastrophe, commonly referred to as the Lucifer Rebellion.

[ Note:  If you have personal problems suspending your preconceived notions of reality, well, it’s time to get over them.  Frankly, there’s no time left to pussyfoot around various archaic prejudices regarding the existence of the celestial realm.  Those who can’t— or won’t— adjust to the expanding horizon of universe knowledge will become increasingly anachronistic and irrelevant, and a serious part of our problem.]

Lucifer wasn’t some cosmic evil duality equivalent to God’s supreme cosmic goodness.  He was a local “chief executive” in charge of an inhabited creation segment potentially encompassing ten thousand worlds known as a “System.”  He was a “system sovereign”— a lower level celestial universe administrator— who got a bee in his brain about who was really in charge of the universe;  as he understood it, that is.  And Lucifer had the personal freedom to ultimately initiate a system-wide rebellion based on his notion that the “Creator Sons” (or, the “MichaelSons) were pretending there was a “God” above them whom they loved and served;  that they had created that fiction to maintain control of the universe for themselves.

The Rebellion, shorter:

Lucifer was allowed to promulgate the rebellion within his system, but it had been immediately quarantined to prevent its spread outside of his system.  On younger evolutionary worlds like ours, great confusion was sown in the minds of the inhabitants about the true nature of the universe and, well, everything else.  Thus when Adam and Eve arrived, they faced a multitude of intractable problems, not the least of which was the already mentioned innate hostility of the races towards each other.

By the end of the Adamic dispensation on a normal planet the races are practically blended, so that it is literally true that “God has made of one blood all the nations,” and that his Son “has made of one color all peoples.”  (Fun fact:  The skin color of such an amalgamated race is somewhat of an olive shade of the violet hue.)

On the normal worlds, worlds that have not experienced the default or rebellion of celestial administration, the brotherhood¹ of man is always the goal of human society.  World-wide peace— the cessation of race conflict and national animosity— is the eventual fruit of the long struggle of racial amalgamation and uplift.

Unfortunately, that path is no longer an option for us.  To overcome our systemic racism, we must discover new ways of transcending our natural animosity towards “others.”  In that regard, there is one giant clue which again, unfortunately, most of us continue to ignore.  The Son of God himself introduced it while he was here as one of us, when he said:  “Love one another.”

Next to the Golden Rule, that’s still the best advice anyone can ever follow.

Jesus

All factual statements in this article are derived from The Urantia Book.  Read it while you are still of Urantia.

¹ Brotherhood constitutes a fact of relationship between every personality in universal existence. No person can escape the benefits or the penalties that may come as a result of relationship to other persons. The part profits or suffers in measure with the whole. The good effort of each man benefits all men; the error or evil of each man augments the tribulation of all men. As moves the part, so moves the whole. As the progress of the whole, so the progress of the part. The relative velocities of part and whole determine whether the part is retarded by the inertia of the whole or is carried forward by the momentum of the cosmic brotherhood. —The Urantia Book, 12:7.11