Monthly Archives: November 2013

IN THE WORDS OF JESUS–Part 872

ON LOVE; PART CDLXI

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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.

(89) Jesus says: “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not understand that the one who created the inside is also the one who created the outside?

(90) Jesus says: “Come to me, for my yoke is gentle and my lordship is mild. And you will find repose for yourselves.

(91) They said to him: “Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you.” He said to them: “You examine the face of sky and earth, but the one who is before you, you have not recognized, and you do not know how to test this opportunity.

(92) Jesus says: “Seek and you will find. But the things you asked me about in past times, and what I did not tell you in that day, now I am willing to tell you, but you do not seek them.

(93) “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, lest they throw it upon the dunghill. Do not throw pearls to swine, lest they turn <them> into [mud].

(94) Jesus [says]: “The one who seeks will find. [The one who knocks], to that one will it be opened.

(95) [Jesus says:] “If you have money, do not lend (it) out at interest.  Rather, give [it] to the one from whom you will not get it (back).” 14

We ended our last essay with the commentaries on the eighty ninth saying from the Gospel of Thomas where we found that none capture the reality of this saying for us; neither from the various ways that the points are given in the synoptic gospels nor from the more simple and truncated saying by the Master recorded by Thomas. Sayings such as these are generally presumed to be against the Pharisees and this is at times True and apparent as it is here but there IS a larger lesson in the Master’s words that goes far beyond the obvious and which IS captured in the unique presentation of Thomas which is, of course, parabolic and from which one must extract the meaning. Thomas tells us that the Master says simply “Do you not understand that the one who created the inside is also the one who created the outside?” which IS a saying that can speak the same volume of teaching that we get from the totality of the ideas of the other apostles who each approach this from a different perspective. One of our commentators from yesterday, R. McL. Wilson, writes that ‘The merely external and ritual observances are worthless without purity of heart‘ as his understanding of the words offered on this from Luke’s Gospel where there IS the more direct comparison to Thomas’ version; however, he takes his idea from the following verse that is not generally seen as a part of this saying and is the first of the woes pronounced by the Master according to Luke. We read in Luke: “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Luke 11:42).

Now in our view these ideas ARE ALL connected as a seamless and timeless teaching and the realization here that the ‘ritual observances are worthless without purity of heart‘ IS indeed a part of this teaching but this IS NOT the whole of the idea as presented by Thomas who reminds us in his simplicity that ALL is of God. Here we should see that the outer is of no more importance than the inner and by the question posed itself we have the reality of the message that we should be as aware of what IS in us as we are of what is on the outside and this in ALL respects. In the washing we see but the example which must include the many ideas including the most important which is the expression of the man to the world; making the outer clean and bright is of no moment if the inner is, as the Master phrases this in one place, “full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). Thomas attempts by his phrasing of the Master’s words to incorporate the essence of this idea and the many related ones that we posted yesterday into the single thought, perhaps to disciples who would better understand, that ALL IS of God and that the bright and shiny outer appearance may fool another man but it will not fool the Truth. In the many words from the synoptics which ARE spoken to the present company we find these same ideas in bits and pieces as the Master tells them such things as:

  • Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26).
  • Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you” (Luke 11:40-41).
  • Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said , Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:15-20).
  • Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…..Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 7:6-9, 14-16).

ALL of these ideas have the same refrain as we see in Thomas’ rendering of the Master’s ideas; here in the first we see in a similar way that if one attends to the inner part that there would be no need to fuss over the outer. In the second we have the same lead thought but a different resolution which IS Love, that if one should give in Love that again there is no need to attend to the outside as it will be Truly clean. The next seems to be on a different subject but the reality IS the same as is shown by the mention of washing of cups and pots in the similar saying from Mark and, in the end this IS the overriding message of them ALL and not only in tradition and doctrine but in Truth. Here the thought IS expanded to include the eating with unwashed hands but the resolution is the same: it IS what one expresses from his heart that defines the man, it IS NOT his outer appearance no matter how clean, bright and shiny it may be. Can we see this ALL in Thomas simple saying that leads with the question of ‘why to even bother with the outside‘ and then with the reality that ALL comes from God and in the seamlessness of the Master’s instruction ALL should be able to see that it IS the the expression of the man to the world that Truly matters.

Our next saying, the ninetieth, is another that is found in the synoptic gospel of Matthew and is a theme that we discussed in some detail from a different perspective a while back. The various translations of this saying are all basically the same except for the use of the words rest and repose which here should be rendered as repose as this IS more than mere rest as we understand it and, while the word IS rest in Matthew’s Gospel as well, it is clarified in the end as “rest unto your souls” which in itself is a parabolic saying in our view. In Thomas we have the idea of repose which IS more than rest alone and stretches all the way to salvation as we see in our discussion of  the fifty first saying. Other differences are in the treatment of the idea of the nature of His yoke and His lordship were we find an assortment of ideas in easy, mild, gentle and we should note here that Doresse rendering stands out among all as very different in approach as we read: “Come to me, for my yoke is excellent and my authority is sweet, and you will find rest for yourselves!“. Doresse’s motivation for this rendering is unclear and rather confusing to the True message which we see in Matthew’s recollection as: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

The available commentary on this saying includes:

  • Funk and Hoover quote Sir 51:26-27 as the basis of this saying: “You should put your neck into the yoke, and you should accept instruction, which you will find near at hand. See for yourself how little I have labored; rather, I have found a great deal of rest for myself.” (The Five Gospels, p. 520).
  • Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: “Matthew 11:28-30, has a different order and some different implications. ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened [Thomas omits the italicized words], and I will give you rest [Thomas changes this to ‘you will find rest for yourselves’]. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart [omitted], and you will find rest for your souls [selves]; for my yoke is easy and my burden [Thomas substitutes ‘rule’] is light.’ Thomas wants the invitation to be addressed to Gnostics, not to those burdened by the world (he twice omits ‘burden’) and he wants the emphasis to be placed on the reward of rest, not on the yoke of Christ.” (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 184).
  • J. D. Crossan writes: “Thomas’s version is not dependent on that of Matthew (Sieber:139, as against Schrage, 1964:173). Instead, ‘both go back to wisdom traditions which have been subjected to gnosticizing transformations’ (Betz, 1967:20). Koester has suggested that ‘except for “lordship” instead of “burden” (Matt. 11:30) this shorter version could be more original than Matthew’s’ (1980b:246). Bauer would agree and even consider that ‘lordship’ could be more original (1961:105). I prefer to follow Koester rather than Bauer primarily because ‘burden’ reappears in Pist. Soph. 95 and Dial. Sav. 141:3-6. Indeed, the force of the aphorism seems intensified if there is some comparison made between heavy or difficult burdens (from elsewhere) and light or easy burdens (from Jesus). I propose, therefore, that, while Thomas’s version is more original than that of Matt. 11:28-30, it is not more original than Matt. 11:28 + 30 since Thomas lacks any equivalent to Q’s ‘all who labor and are heavy laden (burdened).'” (In Fragments, pp. 257-258).

Here these commentaries offer no insight into the Truth of this saying which should be seen as an invitation by the Master to follow him an to find that repose or that “rest unto your souls“. The Funk and Hoover idea is absurd as while the ideas from the Book of Sirac may be similar, these were intended for the Jews as proverb and instruction. Grant and Freedman seem more concerned with the nature of the words than the effect of the saying and Mr. Crossan, along with Grant and Freedman, approaches this from the perspective that this is a Gnostic teaching. In Truth however we have a poignant approach to the reality of discipleship that tells us that if we can look away from the things of the world and toward the things of God, that the way IS easy and the burden IS light.

Here in this saying from Thomas we should again see a truncated version of Matthew’s rendering of the Master’s teaching. Again we should try to see that Thomas, in his recollection and his style, sees no need to offer the expanded ideas we find in Matthew as the invitation and the reason are both given in the simplicity of the words “Come to me, for my yoke is gentle and my lordship is mild. And you will find repose for yourselves“. Speaking to any and all who may be struggling in the world and in any way the Master invites us to His fold. We should try here to look past the struggling from the carnal perspective alone as although this may move a man to follow the Master, it is more the spiritual dissatisfaction that will do so and this especially in the arena of duality. In the Life of the aspirant who is struggling to make sense of the spiritual promptings from within and trying to balance these against the perceived responsibilities of his Life in the world along with the carnal urges and desires to ‘fulfill’ one’s role as a man is expected to perform in the world. And so the invitation to come to Him, to release oneself into the easy yoke of spiritual living and the mild lordship of keeping His words as one’s expression to the world.

It is easy to think that in keeping His words that one is missing out on something and we find this in the end of this saying as the Master tells such a man who has this thought that instead of missing out on those things that have no meaning, that one will find his repose. This IS as we have said in previous post and which we repeat here saying: Our ideas on repose include the Truer understanding of resurrection and its freedom as well as the peace, stillness, tranquility and harmony for the Soul that no longer has to endure this cycle of Life, death and rebirth? Can we understand this idea, that to accept His invitation IS to keep his word and that for our comfort He tells us of the ease of His True burden and the mildness of the reality of His lordship as one’s focus changes to the Christ and the Christ Within. In these words from Thomas we get the fullness of the message that we get from Matthew. Again, we can try to see here that Thomas speech IS oriented toward the disciple and the aspirant who are already somewhat in tune with His words while Matthew offers a much broader appeal which is directed to the ALL who are struggling or disillusioned and dissatisfied with what they may see in Life and we see this in the way that Matthew also invites ALL to learn of Him. And we should not see this invitation as in a doctrinal way, not even today, as the message that the Master gives goes on to what ideas the one who comes to him should see; this the Master frames for us as “for I am meek and lowly in heart” which sets the tone for the Kingdom and for following Him.

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.

Today we repeat the Mantram of Unification as our Quote of the Day and we should note the very Christian ideals that are embraced by these words; not the doctrinal Christian ideals but rather the ideals annunciated in the words of the Master and of His apostles. This idea of ONENESS IS a component part of the Love that the Master teaches as He tells us that we should Love ALL and this ideal is repeated by His apostles who clarify it and expand upon it in their pronouncement that we should NOT show respect to persons that we should not prefer one above another, and this of course includes groups of persons who may differ from us in color, in nationality, in religion….in any way. We are told this by the apostles who tells us that God DOES NOT show such favor to individuals nor to groups as we read that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11) which IS here offered in the context that ALL are treated equally. There are several instances of this saying interweaved with the idea that we should Love our brother, our neighbor and one another as these ideas are framed and, with this stated concept of this respect, we should be able to glimpse what we have been preaching here in this blog and which is the Truer nature of this Love. We should understand that in our zeal to be among His disciples that we must pay keen attention to the totality of the Master’s words which tell us that we should “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) and it is in this reality that we should understand this idea of respect, that if this is the Way of God that it should be the way of man as well. And, if this were not clear enough, the straightforward words of the Apostle James helps us saying “if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors” (James 2:9).

This IS the greater Truth of this Mantram of Unification; that we understand the reality of our ONENESS, our essential Unity, that we Love as the Master teaches, that we allow the Inner man, the Soul, to be the controlling force in our lives; that we come to see the Truth, that we break down the walls of illusion and glamour and eliminate ALL things that separate us from the Truth and from each other. And that we Love and encourage that Universal Love which is our essential destiny by our own example and in ALL that we say and do.

Mantram of Unification

The sons of men are one and I am one with them.
I seek to love, not hate;
I seek to serve and not exact due service;
I seek to heal, not hurt.

Let pain bring due reward of light and love.
Let the Soul control the outer form, and life and all events,
And bring to light the love that underlies the happenings of the time.

Let vision come and insight.
Let the future stand revealed.
Let inner union demonstrate and outer cleavages be gone.
Let love prevail.
Let all men love.

The Mantram of Unification is a meditation and a prayer that at first affirms the unity of all men and the Brotherhood of Man based on the Fatherhood of God. The first stanza sets forth several truly Christian ideals in Unity, Love, Service and Healing. The second stanza is a invocation to the Lord and to our own Souls asking that from the pain (if there can truly be any) incurred in focusing on the Spirit and not the world will come Light and Love into our lives and that we begin to function as Souls through our conscious personalities. We ask that the spiritual control of our lives will bring to light for us the Love that underlies world events; a Love that the world oriented man will not see working out behind the scenes and also that the Love that we bring forth, individually and as a world group, can be seen by all and ultimately in all. Finally, in the last stanza we ask for those things that are needed for Love to abound. Vision and insight so that we can direct our attention properly; revelation of the future in the sense that all can see the Power of Love in the world; inner union so that we do not fall back into the world’s ways, that we faint not; and that a sense of separation, the antithesis of brotherhood, ends as we know it today. Let Love Prevail, Let All Men Love. Spiritual control of our lives will bring to light for us the Love that underlies world events; a Love that the world oriented man will not see working out behind the scenes.

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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