Saying One of the Gospel of Thomas emphasizes embodied knowledge or knowing the pathway of learning, such that it becomes fully imparted unto the person: “Whoever finds the meaning of these sayings will not experience death.”
Thomas is always depicted as young, perhaps innocent.
The final teaching discipline of the Way is knowledge-wisdom, which tempers and gives substance to both love and forgiveness, as well as faith. For the acolyte, the final phase of Nazarene priestly training dealt with parable understanding. The teacher would provide instruction as to the meaning and applied wisdom contained within the parable.* These parable teachings later became one staple of Jesus’ ministry.
*Astronomical and astrological teaching also occurred, the threads of which might be viewed in the Book of Enoch. See, Matt. 2.2, “…his star in the east.” Mark 14.51,52, refers to the young man clothed in linen. Linen is worn during certain teaching, instruction, or ceremonies. The nakedness is a reference to being open to God and the instruction being received. This form of ceremony and teaching was common throughout the middle-east. Astrological instruction would occur at night, for obvious reasons.
Saying 1. “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience (spiritual) death (remain asleep).”
Saying One gives witness toward such gospel statements as “God is within you”, “the kingdom is inside of you.” From Thomas 3, “Rather the (Father’s) kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you”—all lend themselves to the eternality of the soul. Similarly, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” from chapter 3 of John. Awakening and Eternality are consistent themes of Jesus. Jesus proselytizes a basic awakening to these higher truths.
As some configure intellectually but realize little, and others bend toward emotional confirmation, but in understanding have far yet to travel— either approach may leave the awakening to wither. Although thoughts and feelings form soul nature, and interpreting these sayings makes for a welcome start, meaningful interpretation establishes these sayings within a person’s experience. It is the mind that sees the vision but relies upon spiritual interpretation. The Way is active teaching, one that is realized and practiced. Sowing good seed, speaking from the spirit (the Word), and prayer, form the main body of the practice of the Way, for that may lead us to realization and confirm that realization into our lives.
James 1.22-27, gives the jist of Jesus’ true intent, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (22).” But further, Jesus expects us to become familiar with the kingdom within, he points to it often. In short, Jesus walked in this relationship, and bringing the Father into the life experience seems more like Jesus’ full intent.
Of course, both knowing and doing are the intent behind sowing good seeds.
Sow seed for the spirit to assist in revealing knowledge.
WALKING in the WAY
Matthew 10.39-40, shares the essence of the enlightenment teaching, and perhaps provides the whole of the enlightenment journey. “He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it. (40) He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives Him that sent me.”
Saying One and Matt. 10.39 share a similar direction. Saying One promotes the understanding of the Matthew scripture. ‘Finding the interpretation’ (Saying One), now the Matthew scripture becomes clear—that the old self must be discarded (“shall lose it”; “that loses his life”) so that real life (“finds his life”; “my sake shall find it”) can be found. Secondly, the identity of Jesus is partially revealed: those that receive Jesus’ ministers are Jesus’ own and thus receive the Father who sent Jesus.
The first sentence, “He that finds his life shall lose it,” means that finding life with the spirit is to lay aside the old self and operate more closely with the spirit. Attributes such as self-centeredness, false pride, and blaming others, disempower the spirit from moving through you. Deeply embedded attributes may need to be seen from more than one perspective. But as the revelation is received, all begin to function in better order—once released (loses his life), he shall then find the Spirit (his true life) within and without. Many people will discover that Mystic secrets are often revealed within the intercourse of daily life, and many secrets will pertain to the person himself.
Whether sowing for knowing, tolerance, or other matters, a person can sow for better performance as well as sow for knowledge. Do not remain within understanding alone, but put understanding into performance. Teaching interpreted into Pathway becomes the goal, interpreted into the world with actions (Jm. 2.17). Remember, the Way is a pathway that infers one step at a time, one day at a time. To a great extent, this direct lesson became the teaching of the early Nazarenes; not only the gospel of the too-good-to-be-true-news but the walk which must then daily follow.
So, how do we do this? Jesus tells us to plant these good seeds and nourish them. This ‘how’ question brings us to the light and life-bringer, Jesus; as he himself says so, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jn. 14.6; “I am the light of the world,” Jn. 8.12, both scriptures provide person and teaching. True believers may abound, but conversion onto the new life pathway really becomes the commitment.
Sow seed for the spirit to move through you in daily life.
Saying 3. “When you come to know yourselves,” seems to be the crux of the situation for everyone. How indeed do you come to know yourself? What is this process? How does this happen, and what is important?
Walking in the Way orders the process of knowing by planting good seeds in fertile soil, nourishing the seed (giving attention), and being willing to accept the harvest when it arrives. By natural consequence, enlightenment in the spirit moves forward one day at a time. Sowing the good seed, sowing by prayer, speaking the Word, and even positive speech can lead to a better application as well as further revelation. These three basic elements foster the daily work which yields the best sort of progress. The daily pathway remains cognitively continual. Pathway forms a natural continuity from day to day, which provides natural velocity or impetus to the spiritual walk.
It should be mentioned again that walking in the Way emphasizes positive attributes. These attributes might focus on productive daily life within a business, speaking a good word within relationships, focusing on fatherhood or motherhood, and many other positive examples might be given. Walking in the Way is not intended to be a walk of drudgery always revealing but another problem. Its intent is resolution oriented toward the overall message of joy, love, and forgiveness which sets free.
Sow for application as well as a revelation;
Sow for joy and continuity within daily life.