Old Testament theologies dealt with sacrificial ritual and sacrificial death for the remission of sin. Saying One of the Gospel of Thomas emphasizes embodied knowledge or knowing the pathway of knowledge, such that it becomes fully imparted unto the person: “Whoever finds the meaning of these sayings will not experience death.”
Progress within the teaching of the Way begins with belief-faith. Next, the discipline of love-forgiveness works through all attributes of character, as either the constructive element (love) or as the healing element (forgiveness). Love-forgiveness prepares the substance of the soul for greater advances into the enlightened understanding. In fact, many people consider these two attributes the enlightenment itself.
Thomas is always depicted as young, perhaps innocent.
The final characteristic of the Way is knowledge-wisdom, which provides greater order and discipline within both love and forgiveness, as well as faith. As the final phase of Nazarene priestly training, parable teaching would then occur for the acolyte. The many revealed wisdom lessons are the intended outcome.* These parable teachings later become one staple of Jesus’ ministry.
*Astrological teaching also occurred. See, Matt. 2.2, “…his star in the east.” Mark 14.51,52, referring to the young man clothed in linen. Linen is worn during certain teaching instruction or ceremonies, the nakedness within the ceremony references 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 death.”
Saying One gives witness toward such gospel statements as “God is within you”, “the kingdom is inside of you,” and 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 teaches a basic awakening to these higher truths.
If we look at the teaching of The Way, however, much more becomes implied. Realization is one beginning place, but it is possible that a person realizes only intellectually. Some who are more bent in another direction may understand with emotional confirmation, but in understanding have far yet to travel. Either approach may leave the awakening to wither. Interpreting these sayings makes for a good start, but meaningful interpretation realizes the sayings into their experiencing.
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. Jesus walked in this relationship, and bringing the Father into the life experience seems more Jesus’ full intent.
Of course, both knowing and doing are the intent of sowing good seed.
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.”
The first sentence, “He that finds his life shall lose it,” means that you are not the person the spirit wants to construct, and therefore you must lose yourself as you now are to receive and to be filled with the spirit. Attributes such as self-centeredness, false-pride, blaming others, block the spirit of God 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 good order—once released (loses his life), he shall then find the spirit (his true life).
At first, the mind gains the vision, the knowing. The further interpretation, however, becomes the walk itself. Teaching interpreted into pathway becomes the goal. This walk is achieved by sowing good seed in good soil, which was Jesus’ basic message to the disciples. The word ‘interpretation’ now reaches a more substantive level and espouses greater depths to be reached. It surely does not mean to interpret words, for that could never be enough, but must be interpreted into the world.
Mystic secrets are revealed within daily life and most of them pertain to you. The sowing of good seed accomplishes this revelation. Sowing becomes the essential practice of the enlightenment teaching of The Way. The understanding is interpreted into a person’s daily life by the same method. A person can sow for better performance as well as sow for knowledge. Do not remain within understanding alone, but put understanding into performance. To a great extent, this 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. For example, he gives us the attribute of willingness through the Parable of the Two Sons. He references honor and responsibility within a current situation, something the Pharisees lacked. He suggests to them that the revealed pathway stretches before each person, will you take it?
We now go to the light and life-bringer Jesus is, as he himself says so, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jn. 14: 6, and then he himself demonstrates it many times over. This is the bringing of the light into each person’s life, “I am the light of the world,” Jn. 8: 12. Light does not come of itself, but travels on the order of understanding or knowing. Knowledge becomes consecrated as we express in daily life.
Sow seed for the spirit to move through you in daily life.
Saying 3. “When you come to know yourselves,” this 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?
Enlightenment is a process of unfolding from within. This unfolding will be your soul nature, your character, how you express your character and will reveal attitudes and motives. That may seem like a lot, and it is, but walking in The Way orders the process by the planting of good seed in fertile soil, nourishing the seed (giving attention), and be willing to accept the harvest when it arrives. By natural consequence, the enlightenment proceeds one day at a time.
Sowing by prayer, speaking the Word, even positive speech can pronounce application as well as revelation. These three 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 such 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 revelation;
Sow for joy and continuity within daily life.