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A Synopsis of Paper 142: The Passover at Jerusalem

During the month of April, 27 AD, Jesus and the apostles taught daily in the temple in Jerusalem. They worked personally with people who later carried the gospel to other areas of the Roman empire and the East.

A Jewish trader, Jacob, asked Jesus to explain the difference between the angry God described by Moses and the loving God of Jesus. Jesus said, "When your children are very young and immature, and when you must chastise them, they may reflect that their father is angry and filled with resentful wrath. Their immaturity cannot penetrate beyond the punishment to discern the father's farseeing and corrective affection. But when these same children become grown-up men and women, would it not be folly for them to cling to these earlier and misconceived notions regarding their father? ...And should not mankind, as the centuries pass, come the better to understand the true nature and loving character of the Father in heaven?"

Jesus was invited to visit the home of a wealthy Greek Jew named Flavius. Flavius had collected many works of art and was nervous about inviting the Master because he feared Jesus would take offense at them. Instead, Jesus showed great interest in the art. Sensing Flavius's discomfort, Jesus said, "Why should you expect to be rebuked? Moses' children have misunderstood him, and now do they make false gods of even his prohibitions of images and the likeness of things in heaven and on earth... I declare that in the coming kingdom they shall no longer teach, 'Do not worship this and do not worship that'; no longer shall they concern themselves with commands to refrain from this and take care not to do that; but rather shall all be concerned with one supreme duty. And this duty of man is expressed in two great privileges:  sincere worship of the Infinite Creator, the Paradise Father, and loving service bestowed on one's fellow men. If you love your neighbor as you love yourself, you really know that you are a son of God."

A man from Damascus asked how he could know for certain that Jesus was sent by God; Jesus said that his message and his disciples should be judged by their fruits. Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, requested a private conference with the Master, during which Jesus said that children of God are born again, "born of the spirit." Nicodemus asked, "How can a man be born again when he is old?" Jesus spoke of entering the spiritual kingdom, saying, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit."

Jesus taught the apostles that the concept of "kingdom" was not the best way to illustrate a person's relationship with God. He employed such words because the Jewish people were expecting a new kingdom to appear. Jesus told them that the people of other ages would better understand the gospel presented in terms expressive of a true family, founded on:

1. The fact of existence.

2. Security and pleasure.

3. Education and training.

4. Discipline and restraint.

5. Companionship and loyalty.

6. Love and mercy.

7. Provision for the future.

By the end of April the opposition to Jesus in Jerusalem was so strong that he decided to go south to work in Bethlehem and Hebron. No public preaching was done. During part of this time, Jesus visited with Abner in the Nazarite colony. By the first week of June, the mood in Jerusalem had quieted down enough that the apostles returned. Jesus and the apostles lived in tents in the garden of Gethsemane for the entire month of June, never preaching publicly. They spent their weekends with Lazarus in Bethany.

The Jerusalem Jewish leaders saw that Jesus did no public preaching and decided to leave him alone. At the end of June, Simon, an influential member of the Sanhedrin, espoused Jesus' teachings publicly. A new agitation against the Master sprang up. Jesus and the apostles left Jerusalem for Samaria.

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