Day by day, up in the hills, Jesus formulated the plans for the remainder of his Urantia bestowal. He first decided not to teach contemporaneously with John. He planned to remain in comparative retirement until the work of John achieved its purpose, or until John was suddenly stopped by imprisonment. Jesus well knew that John’s fearless and tactless preaching would presently arouse the fears and enmity of the civil rulers. In view of John’s precarious situation, Jesus began definitely to plan his program of public labors in behalf of his people and the world, in behalf of every inhabited world throughout his vast universe. Michael’s mortal bestowal was on Urantia but for all worlds of Nebadon.
The first thing Jesus did, after thinking through the general plan of co-ordinating his program with John’s movement, was to review in his mind the instructions of Immanuel. Carefully he thought over the advice given him concerning his methods of labor, and that he was to leave no permanent writing on the planet. Never again did Jesus write on anything except sand. On his next visit to Nazareth, much to the sorrow of his brother Joseph, Jesus destroyed all of his writing that was preserved on the boards about the carpenter shop, and which hung upon the walls of the old home. And Jesus pondered well over Immanuel’s advice pertaining to his economic, social, and political attitude toward the world as he should find it.
Jesus did not fast during this forty days’ isolation. The longest period he went without food was his first two days in the hills when he was so engrossed with his thinking that he forgot all about eating. But on the third day he went in search of food. Neither was he tempted during this time by any evil spirits or rebel personalities of station on this world or from any other world.
These forty days were the occasion of the final conference between the human and the divine minds, or rather the first real functioning of these two minds as now made one. The results of this momentous season of meditation demonstrated conclusively that the divine mind has triumphantly and spiritually dominated the human intellect. The mind of man has become the mind of God from this time on, and though the selfhood of the mind of man is ever present, always does this spiritualized human mind say, “Not my will but yours be done.”
The transactions of this eventful time were not the fantastic visions of a starved and weakened mind, neither were they the confused and puerile symbolisms which afterward gained record as the “temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.” Rather was this a season for thinking over the whole eventful and varied career of the Urantia bestowal and for the careful laying of those plans for further ministry which would best serve this world while also contributing something to the betterment of all other rebellion-isolated spheres. Jesus thought over the whole span of human life on Urantia, from the days of Andon and Fonta, down through Adam’s default, and on to the ministry of the Melchizedek of Salem.
Gabriel had reminded Jesus that there were two ways in which he might manifest himself to the world in case he should choose to tarry on Urantia for a time. And it was made clear to Jesus that his choice in this matter would have nothing to do with either his universe sovereignty or the termination of the Lucifer rebellion. These two ways of world ministry were:
1. His own way—the way that might seem most pleasant and profitable from the standpoint of the immediate needs of this world and the present edification of his own universe.
2. The Father’s way—the exemplification of a farseeing ideal of creature life visualized by the high personalities of the Paradise administration of the universe of universes.
It was thus made clear to Jesus that there were two ways in which he could order the remainder of his earth life. Each of these ways had something to be said in its favor as it might be regarded in the light of the immediate situation. The Son of Man clearly saw that his choice between these two modes of conduct would have nothing to do with his reception of universe sovereignty; that was a matter already settled and sealed on the records of the universe of universes and only awaited his demand in person. But it was indicated to Jesus that it would afford his Paradise brother, Immanuel, great satisfaction if he, Jesus, should see fit to finish up his earth career of incarnation as he had so nobly begun it, always subject to the Father’s will. On the third day of this isolation Jesus promised himself he would go back to the world to finish his earth career, and that in a situation involving any two ways he would always choose the Father’s will. And he lived out the remainder of his earth life always true to that resolve. Even to the bitter end he invariably subordinated his sovereign will to that of his heavenly Father.
The forty days in the mountain wilderness were not a period of great temptation but rather the period of the Master’s great decisions. During these days of lone communion with himself and his Father’s immediate presence—the Personalized Adjuster (he no longer had a personal seraphic guardian)—he arrived, one by one, at the great decisions which were to control his policies and conduct for the remainder of his earth career. Subsequently the tradition of a great temptation became attached to this period of isolation through confusion with the fragmentary narratives of the Mount Hermon struggles, and further because it was the custom to have all great prophets and human leaders begin their public careers by undergoing these supposed seasons of fasting and prayer. It had always been Jesus’ practice, when facing any new or serious decisions, to withdraw for communion with his own spirit that he might seek to know the will of God.
In all this planning for the remainder of his earth life, Jesus was always torn in his human heart by two opposing courses of conduct:
1. He entertained a strong desire to win his people—and the whole world—to believe in him and to accept his new spiritual kingdom. And he well knew their ideas concerning the coming Messiah.
2. To live and work as he knew his Father would approve, to conduct his work in behalf of other worlds in need, and to continue, in the establishment of the kingdom, to reveal the Father and show forth his divine character of love.
Throughout these eventful days Jesus lived in an ancient rock cavern, a shelter in the side of the hills near a village sometime called Beit Adis. He drank from the small spring which came from the side of the hill near this rock shelter.