Monthly Archives: September 2013

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 811

ON LOVE; PART XD

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GoodWill IS Love in Action

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The Gospel of Thomas

These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke. And Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down.

(40) Jesus says: “A grapevine was planted outside (the vineyard) of the Father. And since it is not supported, it will be pulled up by its roots (and) will perish.

(41) Jesus says: “Whoever has (something) in his hand, (something more) will be given to him. And whoever has nothing, even the little he has will be taken from him.

(42) Jesus says: “Become passers-by.

(43) His disciples said to him: “Who are you to say this to us?”….”Do you not realized from what I say to you who I am?  But you have become like the Jews! They love the tree, (but) they hate its fruit. Or they love the fruit, (but) they hate the tree.”

(44) Jesus says: “Whoever blasphemes against the Father, it will be forgiven him. And whoever blasphemes against the Son, it will be forgiven him. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither on earth nor in heaven.

(45) Jesus says: “Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs picked from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A good person brings forth good from his treasure. A bad person brings (forth) evil from the bad treasure that is in his heart, and (in fact) he speaks evil. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil.14

This is the four hundredth edition of this blog using the subtitle of On Love and we take a moment here to remind ourselves that, no matter what the actual topic is, if it is of a spiritual nature, that it MUST per force be On Love; on our relationship with our brothers, our neighbors and the stranger who qualifies as both, and as well our relationship with our God who we KNOW by Truly KNOWING ourselves. It is by our touching of that divine part of ourselves which we call under many names but which ALL mean different aspects of the same divinity and not different entities, that we can come to KNOW God. This is realized as the God Within, the Christ Within, the Soul, the Spirit, the Kingdom Within, the Inner man and whatsoever different names we have used to address this reality of the True man which IS yet another name. It IS when a man can realize this Truth of God Immanent that he can begin to make true progress and in this realization one will see that the Soul is a bystander in regards to His Life in the world until that point where this realization begins; it IS here at this time that the Soul can begin to take conscious control of the Life in the world and to wrest the consciousnesses away from the personality that is to this point firmly attached to the ways of the world in which he lives. It IS in this wresting that we find Repentance and the sometimes slow and arduous process of Transforming the personality away from its attraction and attachment to the ways of the world to which it has been conformed to whatever degree that Life has enabled it. This IS the whole of the idea behind the Apostle Paul’s words which are spoken to disciples and aspirants but which are as applicable to the ordinary man in the world; the apostle tells us: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

It is as we begin this Transformation that we begin to realize the depth of that Love that the Master teaches us and it is only as we come to True Repentance that we can begin this process of Transforming. It ALL begins with the answer of the disgruntled and dissatisfied personality to the constant prompting of the Soul, a prompting that we ALL can and do feel in those moments were we leave off or our total attention to the self and the self in the world. Here in this prompting is a glimpse of Truth, a glimpse that we can shrug off as an anomaly or one which we can embrace as something new and beneficial to our Life; unfortunately it is ever so easy to shrug it off and continue down the current path until wonderment or dissatisfaction may strike again. It is in answering this call by the Soul, this prompting to the Good, the Beautiful and the True, that one comes to realize his own Inner man, his divine self and the True existence of the Kingdom and the God Within; it is here that the man can see the Truth of his Unity with his brother, the greater Truths of Life itself and the reality of the Love of God, the Love that IS God. And, this is the purpose of our blog and the subtitle of On Love; that by our words we can help another to realize some part of this, that we can offer a glimpse of Truth and perhaps a thought of the reality of Life as the expression through form of that Love and that Power of the Soul.

In the last essay we explored the forty first saying from the Gospel of Thomas and found in this a saying that is largely the same as those from the synoptic gospels. We noted that although these words from the Master ARE recorded by Thomas without context, that they do indeed mean the same as those in the accepted gospels which ARE reported in contexts that show the varied use and understanding and, at the same time, a unity of purpose. When viewed spiritually these sayings ALL have the same purpose which is to tell the disciple and the aspirant that the greater the degree of having the greater the ability to have more and the lesser the degree, the more of the little one may have will disappear. Again, as with most ALL of the Master’s words, we should see the parabolic value here and understand that spiritually there IS ONLY  having in DOING as it is the fruit that is of importance as we see from the previous sayings. We found that two of the three uses of this idea in the synoptic gospels are in regard to the mysteries, those hidden things, and here we should be able to see our point of DOING, of being or striving to be True disciples, and that it IS as one excels as this that more revelation is given; can there really be any other meaning to these words? In the third instance we have the idea of hearing which we KNOW does not mean only what enters the ear but as the Master implies in His saying that “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:23); in this we should see that ALL men have ears but not ALL men hear as the Master is implying. This hearing IS of course perception and understanding the Truth of what enters the ear and the consciousness and the context here is to either “Take heed what ye hear” (Mark 4:24) or, as this is reported by Luke: “Take heed therefore how ye hear” (Luke 8:18). In either case the idea presented is that the greater the understanding of the revelation given the greater the revelation that one will receive and this is clear in the words preceding our subject saying “and unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24). Here our subject saying is accompanied by the admonition to take heed, to be careful of what they believe or perceive as True and we should note here that in both gospels this idea of taking heed and its relation to our subject saying that “he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath” (Mark 4:25) follows upon the Parable of the Sower which we should see is ALL about hearing and what one may do with what he hears.

In a previous post we used the idea of our subject saying as part of our understanding of another saying from Thomas’ Gospel, the fifth, which reads as: “Come to know what is in front of you, and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest” (Thomas 5). We repeat here our ideas at that time to provide a sense of the combination of these two sayings:

Here we have new meaning for the first thought above as “whosoever hath, to him shall be given” can be seen on multiple levels and as a confirmation if you will of that which Thomas says.  Come to know what is in front of you” can be seen in the same light as having and “that which is hidden from you will become clear to you” can be seen in the idea of the ability of KNOWING to bring then “more abundance“. The Master goes on to offer the converse of this which is simply to say that if you don’t see what IS in front of you, if you remain on the strictly carnal path, you will steadily lose that ability to see. Commentary takes these ideas and shows them as having or not having grace which word is for us a doctrinal catch all that has no substance in its varied meanings and IS NEVER used by the Master Himself and, if its interpretation IS as a free gift from God, then ALL have grace as ALL are divine and this then becomes more a of realization. Commentary aside, we should be able to see our premise in these words which is similar to that which we have heretofore stated but can be seen in this use in more specific terms and in close relationship to the words from Thomas’ Gospel. Here (that is Matthew 13:12-16) it IS clear that the Master IS speaking of parables and sayings and this is not always the case with these words.

Our next saying is simple and obscure at the same time. It is rendered by ALL of the translators that we use to say the same thing although there are slight differences in the presentation:  “Become passers-by.“. Taken in this fashion there is little doubt as to what this would mean from our own perspective and that is that one should not become an active part in the goings on of the world around us but rather be watcher, an observer. This of course does not mean that one does not participate in their own lives in the world but rather that one does not become so involved in worldly things that this becomes the focus of his Life; the Master lived in the world, interacted with others, taught, healed and played a part in calling out the powers that were in that day and we should expect nothing less from ourselves albeit our stage is not so broad. Let us look at some of the commentary on this saying:

  • Marvin Meyer writes: “This saying may also be translated ‘Be wanderers’; compare descriptions in early Christian literature of wandering teachers and missionaries. Another possible but less likely translation is, ‘Come into being as you pass away’; compare the use of the same word parage as ‘pass away’ in the first riddle in saying 11, and other statements similar to this translation of saying 42 (for example, 2 Corinthians 4:16; Acts of John 76: ‘Die so that you may live’). Tjitze Baarda, ‘Jesus Said: Be Passers-By,’ suggests yet another possible translation, ‘Be Hebrews,’ with the understanding of Philo of Alexandria that the word ‘Hebrews’ may be taken as ‘migrants.’ A medieval author, Petrus Alphonsi, preserves a saying much like saying 42 in his Clerical Instruction: ‘This world is, as it were, a bridge. Therefore, pass over it, only do not lodge there.’ A very similar saying attributed to Jesus is preserved in the form of an Arabic inscription at the site of a mosque at Fatehpur-Sikri, India.” (The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus, p. 87).
  • Bentley Layton writes: “participle of the Greek verb paragein, ‘to go past (something or someone).’ Epitaphs on Greek tombstones of the period often salute the ‘stranger’ or ‘passerby’ (usually called ksenos or parodites), as though in the words of the corpse buried in the tomb. Cf. no. 56. The saying may also be a recommendation of the life of a wandering ascetic, like St. Thomas in The Acts of Thomas.” (The Gnostic Scriptures, p. 387).
  • F. F. Bruce writes: “In other words, do not settle down here. These words are later ascribed to Jesus in some strands of Muslim tradition (although in other strands they are ascribed to Muhammad or to one of his companions). The most famous instance of their ascription to Jesus in Muslim tradition is on the main gateway of the mosque erected in 1601 at Fathpur-Sikri, south of Delhi, by the Moghul Akbar the Great; it bears the inscription: ‘Jesus, on whom be peace, said: “This world is a bridge. Pass over it; but do not build your dwelling there.”‘” (Jesus and Christian Origens Outside the New Testament, p. 130).
  • Funk and Hoover write: “This saying is short, pithy, aphoristic in tone, and open to plural interpretations. It coheres with other sayings attributed to Jesus in which he advocates a mendicant or counter cultural lifestyle: ‘Be passersby’ suggests to some a life spent consorting with toll collectors and sinners, in eating and drinking, in homeless itinerancy. These aspects prompted half of the Fellows to vote red or pink.” (The Five Gospels, p. 496). “The saying occurs only in Thomas. It can therefore also be understood as a creation of Thomas in which this evangelist counsels detachment from the world, one of his favorite themes (21:6; 27:1; 56:1-2; 80:1-2; 110; 111:3). On this understanding, it does not merely reflect a certain lifestyle, it dictates one. The other half of the Fellows were therefore inclined to the view that this saying represents an attempt on the part of the community to define its patterns of social behavior, as a way of distinguishing itself from the rest of the world. The Fellows who took this view voted gray or black.” (The Five Gospels, p. 496).

Assuming that this is the right translation of these words, we see ALL of these commentaries as missing the point that we make above; some attribute this to the admonition to an ascetic lifestyle and Funk and Hoover see this as the Master’s demand to His disciples. Our view IS the more real and True and we should take this simply from the Master’s own example and the way that He sends forth the Twelve and the Seventy and then in the end, as He commands His apostles. Never are they to not participate in Life but they are rather to act as disciples and this can be seen in the ideas that we discussed in the last two sayings regarding fruit:Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).

We should not here however that this may not be the only way to translate these words; we find in the Interlinear Version two translations:

  1. Said Jesus this: “become passers-by.”
  2. Said Jesus this: “come into being as you (pl) pass away.”

Another of the commentaries which we skipped over above tells us this: William R. Schoedel translates, “Jesus said: Come into being as you pass away.” Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “Presumably the saying has much the same meaning as Paul’s words (2 Corinthians 4:16): ‘If our outer man is perishing, our inner man is renewed day by day.'” (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 155). In context these words from Paul tell us:

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish , yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:15-17).

In this we can get the picture of the passing away of the carnal Life and the coming into being of the spiritual Life and in this translation of the saying from Thomas’ Gospel these go hand in hand; as the one comes into being the other fades and passes away and this is the basic idea of our understanding of focus. A similar idea can be taken from the saying above on the conforming and the Transforming of the mind, the personality of the man in the world, for as the Transformation proceeds the conformation ceases; this is the natural way of our spiritual reality. This same idea is found from another perspective in the apostles words saying “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24) where we can read this as to come into being, to be Christ’s, is to crucify the flesh, to let it pass away.

Finally there there is this from the Book of Revelation where we read “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5) spoken as the word of God which shows us that the Love and the Power of the Inner man make in him a new man and this same idea is carried for us by Paul who tells us “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Here we can easily see the ideas from Thomas as we see that for a man to be in Christ he is “come into being” and the apostle here clearly tells us that in doing this “old things are passed away“. In this rendering of this saying there IS much depth and much Truth while in the other, “become passers-by“, we find confusion if we do not tie it to the further instructions of the Master and His example to us.

We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.

Aspect of God

Potency

Aspect of Man

In Relation to the Great Invocation

In relation to the Christ

GOD, The Father

Will or Power

Spirit or Life

Center where the Will of God IS KNOWN

Life

Son, The Christ

Love and Wisdom

Soul or Christ Within

Heart of God

Truth

Holy Spirit

Light or Activity

Life Within

Mind of God

Way

Note on the Quote of the Day

This daily blog also has a Quote of the Day which may not be in any way related to the essay. Many of these will be from the Bible and some just prayers or meditations that may have an influence on you and are in line with the subject matter of this blog. As the quote will change daily and will not store with the post, it is repeated in this section with the book reference and comment.

We repeat here a Quote of the Day that we spent much time with over the course of our essays. In this affirmation we find the Truth of discipleship as we have been ever been expressing and here we can relate our themes of the last few days; “take no thought” for the things of the world and that we approach the Kingdom and discipleship in the nature of the little child, in humbleness, meekness, unashamed in any way and unassuming. The message that this imparts for us today IS that it IS the Soul that is at work in the world of men as it expresses to some degree the purpose, power and the will through Life in this world. These words are from a meditation offered to his students by our Tibetan brother and in which we find greater understanding of the message of the Master. This IS Truly the way of the disciple.

My Soul has purpose, power and will; these three are needed on the Way of Liberation.
My Soul must foster love among the sons of men; this is its major purpose.
I, therefore, will to love and tread the Way of Love.
All that hinders and obstructs the showing of the Light must disappear before the purposes of the Soul.
My will is one with the great Will of God; that Holy Will requires that all men serve.
And unto the purposes of the Plan I lend my little will.

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts!

  • 14 The Gospel of Thomas; Translated by Stephen J. Patterson and James M. Robinson; http://gnosis.org/

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