In this article I would like to further explore the Gospel of Thomas (GT) and to discover more of the little known teachings of Jesus and what they mean to us. In GT (3:1-3) it reads:
Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the kingdom of heaven; then the birds of heaven will precede you.’ If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea’, then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.”
What Jesus is telling us is that religious leaders will point here and there claiming that they know where the kingdom of heaven is; but be fooled not because it is a distraction, designed to point you in the direction that they wish you to follow. However, in reality, the kingdom if heaven is all around you, as well as, inside of you, thus, do not allow yourself to be blinded by the visions of others, but find your own path.
Jesus further impresses this upon us in GT (3:45) where he says:
“When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty.”
Again, Jesus is telling us that the answers are within us and not within the mouths of others. If we look within, then the richness of the kingdom of heaven is ours. However, if we rely on the wisdom of others, we dwell in poverty because we put our faith in others, instead of in ourselves as children of God.
We find even more evidence of this in GT (5:1-2) where Jesus says:
“Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed.”
You see, all the answers are there, in front of your eyes. There are no great mysteries for us to unravel, that we can’t unravel through the opening of our eyes and ears and experiencing for ourselves. We don’t need some great preacher to study the scriptures and tell us what they mean, the answers are clear. One of the best examples of following an organized faith system is made clear in GT (34) where Jesus states:
“If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them fall into a hole.”
When one is concerned with leading, or following, one misses the point of experiencing, and therefore becomes blind to what it is Jesus is trying to tell us. I find it humorous that the canonical Gospels the apostles seem somewhat dim-witted. When Jesus teaches through allegories, he is trying to explain mystical concepts in terms that make it easy for the uneducated to understand. However, when the apostles find themselves alone with Jesus, they ask him to explain these allegories. There are times when Jesus becomes visibly irritated because the apostles just don’t get it. So why would Jesus’ chosen have such a hard time understanding what he is saying when he has made such an effort to simplify his messages for the uneducated masses?
This to is simple. It is because they are trying too hard. They are searching for complexity within the simplicity. After a while Jesus realizes that some people seem to get it, Like Mary Magdalene, and others who are dense, like Peter. (See the Gospel of Mary) This is why he says in GT (10):
“I have thrown fire upon the world, and look, I am watching it until it blazes.”
He has realized that the best he can do is spread his message to as many people as can understand, and hope it spreads through the masses like wildfire. It was obviously apparent to him, by the time of his crucifixion that this method was working well; for if the message weren’t sufficient then the religious leaders wouldn’t have been so threatened by him.
However, threatened they were. Let us put things into a perspective we can understand in today’s world. Think of the synagogue as a big box store, wholesale prices for everyone, they have cornered the market, and business is good; very good. Now imagine that the suppliers of these big box stores’ goods announce that everything for sale there can be had for free! No need to spend money, or travel to the store, or shop the sales. Simply open your eyes and ears, and ask; poof! All this provided for you. What would happen to business in this big box store? Who would shop there, and spend their money, if everything one could ever want or need could be provided to you for free? No one! That was the fear of these big box religious leaders, the fear that Jesus would reveal them for the charlatans they were. They would lose their income, power, respect, and most importantly, their control over the believing population; the monopoly would falls; and all thanks to the savior. So what the Gospel of Thomas is telling us is that the real reason Jesus was crucified was to help keep this knowledge from spreading, and thus keep the status quo.