About twelve months ago, the BBC broadcast a documentary titled the 'Lost Gospels' which explored the findings from the Nag Hammadi library; The Gospel of Thomas was one of the first documents discussed. A leading gospel expert was on-camera quoting logion #1: And he said: "Whoever finds the inner meaning of these words will not taste death."
He turned to the presenter and commented how irrelevant was such a gospel, "it's all about immortality" he said. Then went on to discount the whole gospel based on this single logion! This was a leading 'expert', yet he seemed to be unable to grasp the significance of 'life' and 'death' in 'Thomas'.
But this 'expert' is not alone.
Life, death, and resurrection figure large in the Biblical Gospels. But look more closely and you will see they're seldom in the words of Jesus. They're ideas of the established Church, and believed by their followers to be the physical world. Hence, a life-after-death, of heaven as something to be reached later, and in the liturgy of the Church services much emphasis on the sinfulness of our mortal existence. The 'expert' and the Church take the words of Jesus literally; words understood only by the mind.
Our understanding of Jesus through the Gospel of Thomas reveals how misleading these experts are. 'Thomas' reveals a spiritual world that lies within each of us. A world where life and death exist beyond the physical world.
Spiritual death-Jesus speaks of darkness, drunkenness, poverty-refers to the loss we experience being far from the Kingdom: that state of being where we are close to or enveloped by the Divine Presence.
What can cause this spiritual death? Our own ahamkara; this robber that creeps into our sacred home and steals us away from the company of the Presence. Like the first Adam, we fall from the Garden of Eden to meet the darkness of spiritual death.
The depth of such loss can only really be felt when you have experience of the Life. But even those without experience have a sense of yearning-a hurt in their soul-and an urge to seek their own Presence.
So once again we must journey forward; to overcome the dominance of our ahamkara and be resurrected, or re-created to our Real Life. Perhaps we all live a thousand Lifetimes as we win and lose in the struggle with our ahamkara.
To Live, to be in the Presence, to be at One, is the goal of all seekers. This is the Life that Jesus describes in 'Thomas'; a Life that he wants us to have. We are urged to shake off this 'death', to awake from our slumbers, to lighten our darkness, to recover from our drunkenness, to overcome our poverty, and to LIVE.
That is what Jesus urges his followers to do in 'Thomas'; and with this promise:
He who drinks from my mouth
shall become like me;
and I myself will become him,
and the hidden things shall manifest to him. [#108]