Thomas, Sayings 73 through 77

Saturday, July 6, 2019

4:10 a.m. Saying 73, 74, 75, paragraphed together, oddly. I see no reason for it. But let’s consider them.

73 Jesus said: The harvest is great, but there are only a few workers. Ask the master to send more workers for the harvest. 74 He said: Master, there are many around the drinking barrel, but there is nobody in the well. 75 Jesus said: There are many standing by the door, but only the single will enter the bridal suite.

Friends?

The first is familiar to any who read the narrative gospels.

Yes. I take it there is more to be found than the accepted idea that the world is full of people needing converting and the disciples are outnumbered as those who are to do the converting.

Yes, very good. It is always about the internal work, not merely the external work. Always it is easier to work on others – though that work must be relatively fruitless – than on oneself, which has the possibility of real results but must always appear frustratingly inadequate and ineffective.

So in this context, asking for more workers means asking for greater assistance in working on ourselves?

That is certainly at least one meaning. It is not about conducting a campaign to bring the world to one way of seeing things.

Saying 74 says, “He said,” without explaining who “he” is. It appears to be someone other than Jesus – for who does Jesus ever call master? – but it doesn’t quite make sense as a question to Jesus, either.

Yes, and 75 doesn’t make obvious sense either. By this you can see that you have entered closer into esoteric material that never was shared beyond the original community and its followers. That is, the meaning was lost once it was no longer conveyed orally by those who knew to those who came to know. There is no form of coercion able to take such meanings, because those at a level that would employ coercion are never able to comprehend what would require  a higher level of being to comprehend it.

All right, lost sayings – but does that mean you can’t tell what they say? Or does it mean that you can’t tell it to us?

We are always willing to provide the waters of truth. Can we make anyone drink? Or, rather, can we make anyone able to drink, if they are not able in themselves? This is always a problem, for anybody. No one can teach what those who would be taught are unable to learn.

So does that mean that I am unable to understand 74, or that you don’t have the key to it? “Nobody in the well” sounds like a bad translation, to me. It doesn’t make sense. In general, until you look at it clearly, the sentence seems to say there are a lot more people ready to consume than there are people able and willing to provide. But “in the well” stumps me.

Perhaps better to acknowledge your bafflement and proceed. No need to [either] know everything or admit to knowing nothing: There are always blank spots in one’s learning.

All right. And 75 isn’t much more understandable. The only sense I can make of it is that when we make ourselves into a unity – if we are able to do that – we are able to move to new possibilities that are not open to those who cannot.

That’s good enough. and in context of 74?

I suppose it’s still a contrast between the many and the few, as in 73 as well.

So even if we are unable to pursue the secret beyond a certain point, we can get that far, can we not? Three cryptic sayings that amount to Many are called but few are chosen, or, It is as hard to enter as for a camel to maneuver through the place known as the Eye of the Needle. In short, this is not only not automatic, it isn’t easy and in fact for most it is not even possible. But it is necessary to say this in so disguised a fashion as not to discourage those who may be able to accomplish the task, for one cannot succeed without making the effort.

Now, there is a distinction to be made. The achievement of an advanced state of being (call it) is not the same as attaining what he is calling the Kingdom of Heaven. They are two entirely different things, as should be obvious if you look at it. Could Jesus be preaching “the Kingdom of God is within you” to one and all if in fact it were available only to a few?

I see the point.

Well, if you do, you see what many have missed. Saying 76 a is the commonly accepted goal familiar from the narrative gospels. It is not at all the same as the preceding three.

76 a. Jesus said: The Kingdom of the Father is like a merchant with goods to sell who found a pearl. The merchant was thoughtful. He sold the merchandise and bought himself the pearl.

But then 76 b is a little ambiguous.

76 b. You too should seek for long-lasting treasures that do not decay, where moths do not come to eat them or grubs to destroy them.

It may seem to apply to either the rigorous effort to attain what very few will be able to attain, or to the state of being that is attainable to those who set their intent on non-perishable goods – that is, internal achievement – rather than external goods.

And ambiguity is a common feature of esoteric teachings: It allows you, it forces you, to do some work to puzzle out meanings.

Work such as we’re doing here.

Yes. Work without definite closure.

Speaking of which, the following two sayings, 77 a and b, are far from self-evident.

77 a. Jesus said: I am the light above everything. I am everything. Everything came forth from me, and everything reached me.

77 b. Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there.

Well, what do you make of them?

Jesus seems to be identifying with all that is. If it weren’t Jesus, we’d be tempted to say he is suffering from psychic inflation.

But assuming that he is not?

You tell us. All I get is that he is saying that he is coterminous – or should we say co-non-terminous – with all creation and, in fact, with the underpinnings of creation. If this were one of the gospels that was subject to political manipulation over the centuries, rather than one that was preserved by its being hidden until our times, I would have suspected interpolation to put words into his mouth to support the church’s claim that he was the unique son of God. Since it cannot be interpolation, what are we to make of it?

Say the words mean what they appear to mean. What then?

Well then, Jesus is saying his consciousness is no longer merely human, no longer 3D-bound.

Is that all it says? “Everything reached me”?

It’s a puzzle. Hoping for your assistance here.

Who is the “I” Jesus refers to? The 3D man? The greater 3D/non-3D consciousness behind the merely 3D consciousness? Something greater than that?

I don’t see how it can be the 3D human. I don’t see how it can be even the 3D human in full stretch. It seems to be the creator of everything, and you can see why people would say Jesus was claiming to be the creator. But we have been proceeding from the assumption that this is an inadequate explanation.

Every so often, you see, the exploration of scripture with serious intent presents you with a forced choice: Continue from your previous assumptions, or lay them down as inadequate to your new understanding.

And is that where we are here?

You tell us. Does your understanding of Jesus aa a man of superlative understanding and self-awareness, with a mission to awaken whoever can be awakened – does it stand up to his Saying, assuming the Saying is authentic?

I’m not sure that it does. But I’m not ready to abandon it either.

A state of suspense will do. What is an obstacle for you is likely to be an obstacle for others no less.

I think I understand 77 b, if it means that – well, no, perhaps I don’t.

And perhaps this is a good place to pause, and perhaps we can resume with 77 rather than proceeding to 78. Bear in mind, the meanings grow less obvious to the unprepared, and you have had only us, and your own prior reading and thought, where the early community had oral teachings and discussions to help them over the difficult bits.

So, don’t be discouraged.

It is better to know you don’t know than to think you do when you do not, or to know what is not so.

Okay. Till next time, then. Thanks as always.

 

7 thoughts on “Thomas, Sayings 73 through 77

  1. Thank you for posting, Frank. I am not at all familiar with the Gospel of Thomas—or any other gospel for that matter—so I am enjoying hearing these for the first time.

    73 Jesus said: The harvest is great, but there are only a few workers. Ask the master to send more workers for the harvest.

    “The harvest is great” seems to refer to the harvest within: the Kingdom of Heaven. There are few workers willing to do the work necessary to access this Kingdom of Heaven, which is here now, regardless of circumstance, when we recognize our essential nature as free and one with All That Is. “Ask the master to send more workers for the harvest” sounds like a request for people who are ready to harvest the inner gifts.

    74 He said: Master, there are many around the drinking barrel, but there is nobody in the well.

    In other words, there are many gathered round, listening to what I say, but no one has made the leap in consciousness into the well, into the wellspring of peace, love and joy that exists within as the Kingdom of Heaven.

    77 a. Jesus said: I am the light above everything. I am everything. Everything came forth from me, and everything reached me.
    77 b. Split wood, I am there. Lift up a rock, you will find me there.

    Jesus is identifying “as” All That Is. Jesus is in the well.

    “Now, there is a distinction to be made. The achievement of an advanced state of being (call it) is not the same as attaining what he is calling the Kingdom of Heaven. They are two entirely different things, as should be obvious if you look at it.”

    The distinction I make is that regardless of how advanced a state of being may be, states come and go.They are temporary. The Kingdom of Heaven, however, does not come and go. It is within and always here now.

    Once again, I thank you for posting.

  2. “It is better to know you don’t know than to think you do when you do not, or to know what is not so.”

    The door may have hit me on the way out. lol

    Tee-kwa-ota

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