The Urantia Book -- Part IV. The Life And
Teachings Of Jesus
PAPER 125: Section 2.
Jesus And The Passover
Five Nazareth families were guests of, or associates with, the family of Simon
of Bethany in the celebration of the Passover, Simon having purchased the paschal
lamb for the company. It was the slaughter of these lambs in such enormous numbers
that had so affected Jesus on his temple visit. It had been the plan to eat
the Passover with Mary's relatives, but Jesus persuaded his parents to accept
the invitation to go to Bethany.
That night they assembled for the Passover rites, eating the roasted flesh with
unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Jesus, being a new son of the covenant, was
asked to recount the origin of the Passover, and this he well did, but he somewhat
disconcerted his parents by the inclusion of numerous remarks mildly reflecting
the impressions made on his youthful but thoughtful mind by the things which
he had so recently seen and heard. This was the beginning of the seven-day ceremonies
of the feast of the Passover.
Even at this early date, though he said nothing about such matters to his parents,
Jesus had begun to turn over in his mind the propriety of celebrating the Passover
without the slaughtered lamb. He felt assured in his own mind that the Father
in heaven was not pleased with this spectacle of sacrificial offerings, and
as the years passed, he became increasingly determined someday to establish
the celebration of a bloodless Passover.
Jesus slept very little that night. His rest was greatly disturbed by revolting
dreams of slaughter and suffering. His mind was distraught and his heart torn
by the inconsistencies and absurdities of the theology of the whole Jewish ceremonial
system. His parents likewise slept little. They were greatly disconcerted by
the events of the day just ended. They were completely upset in their own hearts
by the lad's, to them, strange and determined attitude. Mary became
agitated during the fore part of the night, but Joseph remained calm, though
he was equally puzzled. Both of them feared to talk frankly with the lad about
these problems, though Jesus would gladly have talked with his parents if they
had dared to encourage him.
The next day's services at the temple were more acceptable to Jesus and did
much to relieve the unpleasant memories of the previous day. The following morning
young Lazarus took Jesus in hand, and they began a systematic exploration of
Jerusalem and its environs. Before the day was over, Jesus discovered the various
places about the temple where teaching and question conferences were in progress;
and aside from a few visits to the holy of holies to gaze in wonder as to what
really was behind the veil of separation, he spent most of his time about the
temple at these teaching conferences.
Throughout the Passover week, Jesus kept his place among the new sons of the
commandment, and this meant that he must seat himself outside the rail which
segregated all persons who were not full citizens of Israel. Being thus made
conscious of his youth, he refrained from asking the many questions which surged
back and forth in his mind; at least he refrained until the Passover celebration
had ended and these restrictions on the newly consecrated youths were lifted.
On Wednesday of the Passover week, Jesus was permitted to go home with Lazarus
to spend the night at Bethany. This evening, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary heard
Jesus discuss things temporal and eternal, human and divine, and from that night
on they all three loved him as if he had been their own brother.
By the end of the week, Jesus saw less of Lazarus since he was not eligible
for admission to even the outer circle of the temple discussions, though he
attended some of the public talks delivered in the outer courts. Lazarus was
the same age as Jesus, but in Jerusalem youths were seldom admitted to the consecration
of sons of the law until they were a full thirteen years of age.
Again and again, during the Passover week, his parents would find Jesus sitting
off by himself with his youthful head in his hands, profoundly thinking. They
had never seen him behave like this, and not knowing how much he was confused
in mind and troubled in spirit by the experience through which he was passing,
they were sorely perplexed; they did not know what to do. They welcomed the
passing of the days of the Passover week and longed to have their strangely
acting son safely back in Nazareth.
Day by day Jesus was thinking through his problems. By the end of the week he
had made many adjustments; but when the time came to return to Nazareth, his
youthful mind was still swarming with perplexities and beset by a host of unanswered
questions and unsolved problems.
Before Joseph and Mary left Jerusalem, in company with Jesus' Nazareth teacher
they made definite arrangements for Jesus to return when he reached the age
of fifteen to begin his long course of study in one of the
of the rabbis. Jesus accompanied his parents and teacher on their visits to
the school, but they were all distressed to observe how indifferent he seemed
to all they said and did. Mary was deeply pained at his reactions to the Jerusalem
visit, and Joseph was profoundly perplexed at the lad's strange remarks and
After all, Passover week had been a great event in Jesus' life. He had enjoyed
the opportunity of meeting scores of boys about his own age, fellow candidates
for the consecration, and he utilized such contacts as a means of learning how
people lived in Mesopotamia, Turkestan, and Parthia, as well as in the
provinces of Rome. He was already fairly conversant with the way in which the
youth of Egypt and other regions near Palestine grew up. There were thousands
of young people in Jerusalem at this time, and the Nazareth lad personally met,
and more or less extensively interviewed, more than one hundred and fifty. He
was particularly interested in those who hailed from the far-Eastern and the
remote Western countries. As a result of these contact s the lad began to entertain
a desire to travel about the world for the purpose of learning how the various
groups of his fellow men toiled for their livelihood.