I would like to explore with you some of the lesser-known teachings of Jesus. To start with we will be looking at the Gospel of Thomas one of many new gospels found in the Nag Hammadi library. This is a Gospel you may not have heard of, and there is good reason for this. Why would a Gospel not be included in the Bible? The answer isn’t all that simple; however I will try to make it as simple as possible. When the cannon of the Bible were being decided upon, many known scripture were declared heretical and were consequently left out. One of these scriptures was the Gospel of Thomas.
The Gospel of Thomas, to be referred to as GT from now on, was considered a Gnostic text, and therefore not fit for study by a true Christian, by the council. This I find strange since GT is essentially a collection of sayings believed to have come from the mouth of Jesus himself. However, the purpose of this article is not to discuss why GT is not in the Bible, but to discover the teachings within it.
There are about 114 sayings included in GT as it stands, and we will discuss many of these in this article. The purpose is to try and gain a better understanding of Jesus and his teachings. In GT (2:1-4) it says:
Jesus said, “Let one who seeks not stop seeking until one finds. When one finds, one will be troubled. When one is troubled, one will marvel and reign over all.”
So what is Jesus is telling us? Well, first we must ask ourselves what it is one must seek. We must seek knowledge of the spiritual, of oneself, and of the kingdom of heaven. So it is Jesus’ wish that we seek the knowledge of the kingdom of heaven and our father that presides over it. Wow, that is much different from the teachings of the Church which declares that it is the place, solely, of the clergy, to interpret the teachings of the scriptures, so that they may impart their knowledge to laymen. Is this the first clue as to why the Church would keep these teachings from us? Perhaps it is.
Jesus is also telling us that to seek is to be troubled. Why would one be troubled, by seeking the knowledge? Perhaps our former question is the answer. He also tells us that to be troubled is to marvel. What could he mean by this? The Church has adopted many complicated rites, rituals, and interpretations to the scriptures and teachings; so many, in fact, that one must go to a special school, seminary, for several years, just to attain the first of many levels of clergy-hood.
Maybe the marvel is that, in truth, the teachings are simple, and easy to find. Now, Jesus tells us that to marvel is to reign over all. So what is it to reign over all? Simply put what he is saying is that one seeks the truth for oneself, one is not bound by the complications, and intricacies, of organized religion, nor by the beliefs, interpretations, and agendas of the business of Church and religion no longer restrict us.
It was clear to Jesus; even in his own time that organized religion just didn’t work. Remember the hypocrites? The Pharisees, the leaders of the Synagogues that Jesus spoke so harshly to. These men were so preoccupied by laws and structure and their abuse of power that the word of God was lost among them. This is a common problem with organized religion. The term itself is an oxymoron. How can one organize a business of the mystery of God? Furthermore, what is it that puts the clergy above us?
In reality, organized religion is another form of enslavement, and Jesus, being ever wise, knew this to be true. In organized religion, one becomes a slave to the rites, rituals, and beliefs of those who are supposedly here to enlighten us. Therefore, when one seeks the truth for ones self he becomes his own master, and reigns over all, instead of being ruled over.
Jesus emphasizes that one need not seek Church to seek God in GT (77:1-3) where it is written:
Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all is come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”
This tells us that Gods’ light is not confined to a building of worship, but it is everywhere, all one needs to do is see. Seek and ye shall find!