Jesus has been in the news a lot lately, from the controversy over the Gnostic Gospels and The Passion of the Christ, to the books Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code and now with the documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus on the Discovery Channel, Jesus has surpassed Britney Spears in the number of results in a Google News search. Although I am not a churchgoer and have never felt comfortable or understood the costumes, ceremonies and rituals involved in church worship, I’ve always felt secure with the knowledge of a higher power and I sense rhyme and reason with the workings of the natural world that are too orchestrated to be mere happenstance.
I have always resonated with Jesus, a man who walked his own path, was kind, wise and considered his connection with God above all else, but I also felt a disconnect with how he was portrayed by mainstream Christianity. But when I discovered the Gospel of Thomas, it opened doors in my perception of the man whose existence changed time. The Gospel of Thomas (link) was discovered, along with other Gnostic text, around 1946 in a three-foot tall clay urn in a cave near Nag Hammadi, Egypt.
The Gnostics were named after the term “Gnosis”, a Greek word for knowledge and the Gnostic Christians believed that the connection with God could be found through their own intuition and experience, instead of following the traditional roles of the church. The Gnostic gospels include the Gospel of Thomas, Phillip and Mary Magdalene, among others, and although these disciples walked with Jesus, their words were not included in the Bible. Some even believe that the Gospel of John, is a direct rebuttle to Thomas’ gospel.
Although many of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas are reflected in the other gospels included in the Bible, especially Matthew, most are new to us, but the church still considers the Gnostic gospels to be heresy. There is a lot of confusion as to when the text were written, some claim as early as 50 CE and others claim as late as 400 CE. It is said that when Constantine accepted Christainity he ordered that the Gnostic text should be burned and the monks, fearing the loss of valuable information, buried them in a cave overlooking the monastery. Some scholars claim that the Thomas gospel, which consists only of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus, is not a true gospel because it does not give a historial perspective and does not focus on the crucifixion and resurrection, but others believe it is the most valuable find of our time.
I’ve pondered the Second Coming of Jesus, wondering how it may occur, I know the church tells us of trumpets and glory, but when I look back on history and see how it reflects the last time Jesus came to call, it concerns me. I’ve often wondered if he came back, would history repeat, as it so often does and he would be crucified again. Are we any more in tune with our God connection now, as opposed to 2000 years ago? Or would his return be more subtle? And I don’t understand why church leaders and Biblical scholars react so strongly when new information about Jesus is unearthed, shouldn’t we be open to new ideas, to seek, as Jesus instructed. In his own words, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.” (Thomas #2)
And I’ve often thought, what if the Second Coming is different from what we have been taught to expect? Could the movies, books and documentaries questioning history and putting Jesus’ name in the news, again and again in recent years, be the subtle way he is attempting to reach us? Have we been misdirected? I don’t have the answers, but perhaps Jesus did, “The pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of knowledge (gnosis) and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.” (Thomas #39)
by Victoria Hardy