TGU and Thomas: Sayings 39 and 40

Saying 39

39 a Jesus said: The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys to knowledge and hidden them. They did not go in, and they did not permit those desiring to go in to enter.

39 b You should be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Sayings 39 a and b at first glance don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, the first describing the failings of the scribes and the Pharisees in neither learning nor letting others learn the truth; the second admonishing his disciples to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. But as they are coupled, presumably they are coupled for a reason. Amigos? What say you?

Previous saying?

The presence of Jesus was an opportunity for transformation that could be seized or missed, but in any case would be a limited-time window. Once he was gone, there would be no similar opportunity.

So, connecting the three, as usual – the one under consideration (in two parts, in this case) and the preceding –

The scribes and the Pharisees, literalists, did not grasp the true manning, and – by holding others to their own literal meaning – prevented others from grasping what they themselves could not. It was up to Jesus’ disciples – who would have benefited from the presence and who would henceforth be animated and transformed and sustained by the spirit, to be wise and gentle; that is, to have eyes open and heart open too.

Rough paraphrase, but a good one. So you see the progression is an easy one, but if you once go off the main line, you will continue to stray.

Easy to get lost without some kind of check.

That’s the purpose of community, and of access to the spirit. Yet entire communities may go astray, and the messages of the spirit be misconstrued. Nothing is sure-fire over time.

Every tradition decays, you mean.

Let’s say, the smart money bets that way. Look to your civilization around you.


Saying 40

Jesus said: A grapevine was planted outside of the Father but, as it did not strengthen, they will pull it up by its roots and it will die.

Saying 40 has its interesting points. Grapevine – for wine, presumably. “Outside of the Father,” and who is the “they” who will uproot it? And what does the grapevine signify to them, that it may not to us? Previous saying compares the literalists and the disciples, and cautions the disciples to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves by comparison.

You’re learning. You see what a good practice it is to automatically connect the present subject with its preceding context. What do you suppose it means, “outside of the Father?”

I suppose I was thinking that nothing not rooted in the higher self – or perhaps even more basic than that, in the non-3D – would thrive. But as I write that, I see it is a shallow understanding. (It really does pay to put full attention on things.) Jesus was in the habit of describing himself as identical to the Father, or – let’s say, indistinguishable. “I and the father are one.” People later came to think that meant Jesus was uniquely divine – “the only begotten son of God,” but I’m not aware of him making any such claim. I have taken “I and the father are one” to mean that he in 3D was in full connection with his non-3D self, not only the extension of his human self into non-3D but the source of the 3D/non-3D person, the “father” whose will he strove to do in preference to doing his own will. That certainly says he and the father were not the same thing, does it not? We are not in the habit of saying “I and my kneecap are one,” though come to think of it, if the kneecap were able to speak perhaps it would regard us in that way, I don’t know. Anyway, Jesus seemed to regard the father to whom he taught the disciples to pray, in the only prayer he is recorded to have recommended, as the loving creator of humans, in intimate connection with them, whose will could be ascertained and ought to be followed. I don’t think he ever said, “follow me” so much as “follow my example,” or “walk in my path.”

So what was the grapevine planted “outside of the Father,” and who planted it?

Well, I was sort of relying on you to tell us what the grapevine was. A tradition, perhaps? An interpolation? A proposed source of nourishment or encouragement or even of intoxication for us?

Bearing in mind that the grapevine is a symbol, it may mean any and all of those things. In any case it is clearly a living thing that was meant to flourish but did not do so.

I suppose, in context, it might be a religious tradition established by the scribes and Pharisees that was planted in logic and commandments and blind faith rather than in the living will of the non-3D Father as could be lived as Jesus was living it and was teaching those who could hear him to listen to it.

All right. So, “it did not strengthen.”

They had authority and tradition going for them – and the power of coercion, perhaps, but in any case surely the power of their position. They had scholarly logic, and they knew all the verses by heart, and the arguments over the years. They had everything that 3D conditions could provide (except, perhaps, the Inquisition, though they had a non-coercive equivalent) – and still the way of thinking and being that they promoted “did not thrive.”

Actually it was the people following this regime who did not thrive. But yes, that is the sense of it. The tradition and learning and social support – and good intentions no less, and earnest striving, for there was as much of that then as now or ever – did not suffice to provide life more abundantly, nor to lead the way toward it.

I see that, easily enough. The spirit gives life, but literalism kills, to paraphrase the scripture.

Literalism is always an interment. It may begin as earnest attempt at preservation, but if what is preserved is not used, worked, struggled with, its meaning goes dead on you. It is not enough to blindly obey nor to blindly reverence nor to blindly have faith. The blind lead the blind into a ditch, do they not? That is as true considered internally, as one’s thought processes, as between individuals.

So who is the “they” who will pull up this vine by the roots and let it die?

They who planted it, surely, or at any rate they who inherited from them one way or another.

Yes, that makes sense. So even the rationalists and the literalists will come to see the error of their ways?

They will lose hope (and faith) in that attempt. That is not the same thing as saying they will then understand where the vine ought to have been planted.

I’m getting that you mean that they, having given up on their attempts at blind faith planted in reason and traditions, may give up the attempt at meaning. Thus, today’s materialistic disbelief in even the existence, let alone the primacy, of the non-3D aspect of the world, let alone any question of human relation to any concept of divinity, or even of any relation to any intelligent non-3D inherent connection to us.

And is this not where your civilization is?

And has been for some while. I suppose we are a people who largely believe in nothing.

Nihil, nothing: Hence nihilism, acknowledged or not. And that is saying 40, and we may proceed at another time.


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