The Urantia Book
Synopsis of Papers

Previous page Home Next page

A Synopsis of Paper 144: At Gilboa and the Decapolis

Jesus and the apostles spent September and October in seclusion on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. John the Baptist was still imprisoned, and Herod was suspicious of the relationship between John and Jesus. Jesus spent this time working quietly, rehearsing the apostles, allowing opposition to die down, and awaiting the fate of John.

The theme of discussions in September centered around prayer and worship. The apostles knew that Jesus did not approve of formal prayers or public prayer, yet believers frequently asked to be taught how to pray. Jesus shared the prayer he had taught his siblings in Nazareth:

  Our Father who is in heaven,
  Hallowed be your name.
  Your kingdom come; your will be done
  On earth as it is in heaven.
  Give us this day our bread for tomorrow;
  Refresh our souls with the water of life.
  And forgive us every one our debts
  As we also have forgiven our debtors.
  Save us in temptation, deliver us from evil,
  And increasingly make us perfect like yourself.

Jesus taught that prayer should be personal, spontaneous, and persistent- "the breath of the soul." The apostles learned to pray in solitude. Prayer is a technique of detachment from the daily routine of life and often leads to worship. Effective prayer should be unselfish, believing, sincere, intelligent, and trustful. The earnest repetition of any petition sincerely uttered in faith, no matter how ill‑advised, never fails to expand the soul's capacity for spiritual receptivity.

Around the first of October, Philip met some of John's apostles at the village market. The two groups arranged a three‑week meeting at the Gilboa camp. During the first week, Jesus stayed and listened to the deliberations of the twenty-four men but refrained from advising them about the issues they grappled with.

During this conference, the twenty-four believers reached several agreements together. They decided to teach believers the new prayer that Jesus had suggested. They agreed that as long as John lived, joint meetings would be held every three months, and that only the apostles of John would baptize believers. If and when John died, the apostles of John would follow Jesus, and both groups would then use baptism as a symbol of the divine Spirit.

The apostles left the Gilboa camp early in November, working quietly in the Greek cities of Scythopolis, Gerasa, Abila, and Gadara. John the Baptist was executed in January. When messengers brought news to Jesus about the death of John, he called the twenty-four together and said, "The hour has come to proclaim the kingdom openly and with power. Tomorrow we go into Galilee."

Synopsis Titles of Papers