Jesus’ Revolutionary Vision

“Unlike the Buddha, or Krishna, or any of the Eastern sages whose wisdom of transcendental knowledge left fundamentally intact the status quo of a world often characterized as illusory, the Jesus we see in the Gospel of Thomas saw and knew this world as the constant epiphany of the divine kingdom and knew too that a wholly new world could be created by divine beings, once they had seen this and allowed themselves to be transformed and empowered as he was, by divine wisdom, ecstasy, and energy. What Jesus woke up to and proceeded to enact with the fiercest and most gloriously imaginable intensity was this new life of “Kingdom-consciousness,” not as a guru claiming unique status and truth—the Gospel of Thomas makes this very clear—but as a sign of what is possible for all human beings who dare to awaken to the potential splendor of their inner truth and the responsibilities for total transformation of the world that it then inspires within them.” Stevan L. Davies

The Gospel of Thomas
Stevan L. Davies (Author)

“The Gospel of Thomas really is, I believe, the clearest guide we have to the vision of the world’s supreme mystical revolutionary, the teacher known as Jesus. To those who learn to unpack its sometimes cryptic sayings, the Gospel of Thomas offers a naked and dazzlingly subversive representation of Jesus’ defining and most radical discovery: that the living Kingdom of God burns is us and surrounds us in the glory at all moments, and the vast and passionate love-consciousness—what you might call ‘Kingdom-consciousness’—can help birth it into reality. This discovery is the spiritual equivalent of Albert Einstein’s and J. Robert Oppenheimer’s uncovering of the potential of nuclear fission; it makes available to all humanity a wholly new level of sacred power. By fusing together a vision of God’s divine world with a knowledge of how this divine world could emerge into and transfigure the human one, the Gospel of Thomas makes clear that Jesus discovered the alchemical secret of transformation that could have permanently altered world history, had it been implemented with the passion and on the scale that Jesus knew was possible. Its betrayal by the churches erected in Jesus’ name has been an unmitigated disaster, one major reason for our contemporary disaster.

Unlike the Buddha, or Krishna, or any of the Eastern sages whose wisdom of transcendental knowledge left fundamentally intact the status quo of a world often characterized as illusory, the Jesus we see in the Gospel of Thomas saw and knew this world as the constant epiphany of the divine kingdom and knew too that a wholly new world could be created by divine beings, once they had seen this and allowed themselves to be transformed and empowered as he was, by divine wisdom, ecstasy, and energy. What Jesus woke up to and proceeded to enact with the fiercest and most gloriously imaginable intensity was this new life of ‘Kingdom-consciousness,’ not as a guru claiming unique status and truth—the Gospel of Thomas makes this very clear—but as a sign of what is possible for all human beings who dare to awaken to the potential splendor of their inner truth and the responsibilities for total transformation of the world that it then inspires within them.

Jesus’ full revolutionary vision in all its outrageousness, grandeur, and radical passion is to be discovered in a close reading of the Gospel of Thomas. The greatest of the sayings are like the equations of physicists Werner Heisenberg or Niels Bohr—complex but intensely lucid expositions in mystical and yogic terms of the laws and potential of a new reality, an endlessly dynamic and fecund reality created by our illusory perceptions and their sterile hunger for separation, division, and stasis.

What I have discovered on my own journey into the increasingly challenging understanding of ‘Kingdom-consciousness’ is that as I continue to uncover and develop in my own depths the ‘fire’ that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel of Thomas, reading the sayings by the brilliant light of this ‘fire’ becomes even more astonishing. The sayings expand in radiance, significance, and reach as I expand my own awareness of divinity and of the powers available to all those who dare to risk transformation.

What I have to offer here is a linked reading of seven of the sayings that have most inspired me. Through this linked reading, I hope to open up to seekers everywhere the full glory, as far as I understand it now, of what Jesus is trying to communicate through the Gospel of Thomas, not just to Christians but to the whole of humanity. Let us begin with saying 2:

Jesus said: The seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everything.

This saying suggests that the Jesus who is speaking in the Gospel if Thomas is not presenting himself as a Messiah with a unique realization and a unique status of mediator. This Jesus—for me, the authentic Jesus—is like the Buddha, a human being who was awakened to the full glory of his inner divinity and so knows the secret of every human being and hungers to reveal it to change the world. The life to which Jesus is inviting everyone is not one of endless seeking, but of finding—finding the truth and power of human divinity by risking everything to uncover them.

From his own harrowing experience, Jesus knows that finding cannot be without suffering; to find out the truth and power of your inner divinity is to be ‘disturbed’; disturbed by the gap between your human shadow and its dark games, the abyss of light within; disturbed by the price that any authentic transformation cannot help but demand; disturbed by the grandeur you are beginning to glimpse of your real royal nature with all its burden of responsibility and solitude. Jesus knows too, however, that if you risk this disturbance and surrender to the unfolding of your divine nature, extraordinary visions will be awoken in you—visions that will astound you and drag you into what the Sufi mystics call the ‘kingdom of bewilderment’ that ‘placeless place’ where everything you have imagined to be true about yourself or about humanity is rubbed by the splendor of what you discover. And from this increasingly astonishing self-discovery, tremendous powers to influence and transform reality will be born in you. Just as unprecedented energy is unleashed by the splitting of an atom, so through the ‘splitting’ of human identity to reveal the divine identity within it, a huge new transforming power is born, a ruling power, the power that great saints and sages have displayed through gifts of healing, miracles, and undaunted stamina of sacred passion and sacrifice. The seeker who becomes a finder and ruler makes a leap in evolutionary development from human being, unconscious of the Divine hidden within him or her, to an empowered divine being, capable in and under the Divine of flooding reality with the glory of the Kingdom. To reveal this secret, live it out, and release it in all its radical power, to make ‘finders’ and rulers of us all, is why the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas lived and preached and died.

This empowering vision of saying 2 leads naturally, as in the text itself, to the challenge of saying 3.

Jesus said: If your leaders say to you ‘Look! The Kingdom is in the sky!’ Then the birds will be there before you are. If they say that the Kingdom is in the sea, then the fish will be there before you are. Rather the Kingdom is within you and it is outside of you. When you understand yourselves you will be understood…. If you do not know yourselves, then you exist in poverty and you are that poverty.

The savage, gorgeous radicalism of this saying should not be underestimated: Jesus is, consciously and with the most subversive imaginable scorn, mocking all versions of the spiritual journey that place the ultimate experience beyond this world, in some transcendent ‘otherwhere.’ All the patriarchal religions and mystical transmission systems—including those conceived in Jesus’ honor—subtly devalue the immanent in favor of the transcendent. This addition to transcendence with its rhetoric of ‘the world as an illusion’ keeps intact the status quo in all its misery, horror, and injustice.

In saying 8, Jesus makes fiercely clear what daring to know the truth of yourself will demand and cost: nothing less than a total commitment to the Divine and a total reversal of the ordinary values of the untransformed world.

And he said: The man is like a thoughtful fisherman who threw his net into the sea and pulled it out full of little fish. Among all the little fish, that thoughtful fisherman found one fine large fish that would be beneficial to him and, throwing all the little fish back into the sea, he easily chose to keep the large one. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.

Superficially heard, that saying seems fairly obvious. It seems to be saying that ‘Kingdom-consciousness’ is life’s ultimate treasure and all lesser things should be given up for it. Dig deeper and you will see that the saying reveals just what this giving up of lesser things will entail. It is, after all, crazy for a fisherman trying to earn a living to throw back all the ‘little fish’: it reverses all comfortable laws of commerce or livelihood. And this is precisely Jesus’ point—one he makes relentlessly throughout the Gospel of Thomas. If you really want to become a mystical revolutionary, dedicating your life to seeing and enacting ‘Kingdom-consciousness,’ you are going to have to surrender all conventional ways of being, acting, or living, and all conventional games of status or power. You are going to have to risk the divine madness that is the true sanity of the fisherman, who so clearly sees and knows the ultimate value of ‘the large fine fish’ that he is willing to throw back all the ‘little fish’ and risk poverty and the contempt of his world to stay true to that divine reality that overturns and potentially transforms all worldly realities. The way of life that Jesus advocates throughout the Gospel of Thomas is in the starkest imaginable contrast to the conservative, prosperity-conscious, family-centered, rule-ridden ethos so often promulgated in his name. For the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas, only a life of wandering poverty, abandonment to the winds of God, and resolute refusal of the false securities of dogma, authority, or worldly or conventional religious rules of conduct and purity can bring you to the state of utter authenticity and surrender that birth to the Kingdom in you and make you a revolutionary agent of its birth in reality.

From what I have said, it should now be clear why in saying 10 Jesus announces, ‘I have thrown fire on the world. Look! I watch it until it blazes.’ The ‘fire’ that Jesus has thrown—and is constantly throwing on the world—is the fire of a revolutionary transcendent and immanent knowledge and love that menaces all the world’s political, social, economic, and religious hierarchies and elite, and all their self-serving justifications for keeping a vicious and unjust set of structures in place. The Jesus of Thomas is not the tender, often ethereal victim, or the suffering servant; he is the most fiery-eyed of revolutionaries, a being who knows he has discovered the nuclear secret of a new, potentially all-transforming power of love-in-action, and he is committed to seeing that its unleashing upon the world and transfiguration of the fire of its truth and laws take place. In saying 71, he announces cryptically, ‘I will destroy this house’; scholars have taken him to mean that either he will bring down the Temple with all its elite and hierarchy and business policies throughout a revelation of a direct egalitarian vision of human divinity, or that he is pledged to destroying the House of Herod that is currently ‘defiling’ the house of David. These are entirely too limiting and local interpretations of the enterprise of Jesus. The Jesus of Thomas is not a peacemaker; he is an incendiary of love, a pyromaniac of divine passion, announcing the laws of a transformed world and of the enormous struggles, sacrifices, and sufferings, both internal and external, necessary to engender it. As he proclaims in saying 16,’ People think, perhaps, that I have come to throw peace upon the world. They don’t know that I have come to throw disagreement upon the world, and fire, and sword, and struggle.’

Jesus has far too mordant an understanding of ruthlessness and corruption not to realize that only divine violence can end human violence—only a sacred violence of utter abandon to God and utter commitment to transformation can dissolve the human violence that keeps the world sunk in degradation. Not only does Jesus know this, but he faces its necessity and lives it out in the extremity of his own life; he is fully aware that his knowledge of the laws of the birth of the Kingdom threatened all previous human accommodations to the way of the world; after his very first public sermon, the Gospel of Matthew tells us, occasional attempts on his life were made. Unlike many of the gurus and so-called teachers of our time, whose vague transcendental waffling further drugs an already comatose culture and leaves every aspect of the status quo intact, Jesus’ vision of the new way was rooted not only in visionary ecstasy but in an utterly illusionless and ruthless analysis of power in all its aspects. This is what made him—and makes him—dangerous, perpetually scandalous, and what makes the Gospel of Thomas a fiery challenge, not only to less incendiary versions of his own message, but to all philosophers who do not propose a complex mystical revolution on every level.

Jesus risked such an almost alienating fervor and uncompromising urgency of address not merely because he understood that the Kingdom could not be birthed by any less absolute passion, but because he knew too, from the majesty and astonishment of his own experience, that empowerment on a scale as yet undreamt of awaited any being radical enough to accept and risk the terms of transformation he was proposing. Anyone who reads the Gospel of Thomas with an open mind and awakened heart will realize that what Jesus was trying to create was not an ethical or sophisticated revolution alone; he was attempting to birth a fully divine human race, a race of beings as radically alive and aware as he was himself. In saying 108, he makes this clear: ‘Jesus said: He who drinks from my mouth will become like I am, and I will become he. And the hidden things will be revealed to him.'”

The Gospel of Thomas
Stevan L. Davies, Shambhala Library (December 2004) pp. ix-xx

June 15, 2017
Yahoo forum post # 18470

Note: The Paraclete Shri Mataji spoke about the Gospel of Thomas on 49 different public programs and pujas. No one guru, preacher or pope has done so ………….. combined …………… far from it. On the contrary, all Christian denominations have collectively spurned that book and asked their congregation to shun it. The WCASY team did so too, and their bleating sheep did the same without losing a single grey cell.

A few minutes ago I searched Shri Adi Shakti: The Kingdom of God to check for The Gospel of Thomas. It is mentioned 55 times.

i then checked for Shri Mataji’s quotes on The Gospel of Thomas in the book. When I found none I did another check. Again, there were none.

Apparently, I added The Gospel of Thomas even though I never heard Shri Mataji talking about it. Whatever tapes I heard between 1994-1999 were from a small collection of the Montreal ‘leader’ – there were no tapes on the Gospel of Thomas.

So when I began compiling the book from 1995(?) onwards somehow The Gospel of Thomas made its way into it too. That I never came across any quote of Shri Mataji regarding it is by itself remarkable as I always searched for Her quotes on each and every topic. It had to be so because I wanted to give evidence to the message of Shri Mataji. If there were no quotes from Her I would discard the subject.

But The Gospel of Thomas still made its way …………………… and in a prolific way! That it is mentioned so many times in Shri Adi Shakti: The Kingdom of God without any endorsement from Shri Mataji is indeed remarkable.

And am I glad that is so, and that it took me so many years to realize this ‘mistake’? YES!

Since that is the case, and knowing that Shri Mataji mentions it numerous times over the years and decades, I will now definitely pay extra attention and love. Now I am convinced even more that understanding and living with the interpretations of The Gospel of Thomas grants one exactly what is promised at the very beginning:

Logion 1: Whoever lives the interpretation of these words will no longer taste death. (CF. JOHN 5:24, 8:51-52; MATT 13;10-15.)



“it’s not only that I would say Hindus are like that, or the Christians are like that, or Muslims are like that. All of them have been I would say in a way lured into something that is extremely false. Religion is within ourselves. We are human beings and that is our Religion. Of course great people like Christ, like Rama, like Krishna, Mohammed Sahib, Nanaka, all these great people came on this earth to teach us this inner religion. But what we find today that in the name of all these great prophets we are all separated, divided, fighting each other.

So this innate inner religion within us is like our valency, as carbon has four valencies human beings have ten valencies. Now whatever I am telling to you, you must listen to Me like scientist with open mind. Think that this is a hypothesis I am putting before you. But the time has come to prove this hypothesis, that this religion is within ourselves. It is within everyone of us. You may belong to any country, you may belong to any ideology, any race — this religion exists within us. It has to be awakened.

Once it is awakened you’ll be surprised that we are all part and parcel of the Whole. Those who are identified with all these falsehood have to know that it is not going to do any good to you, nor to your children, nor to the progeny, but it will destroy this world. We can see the destruction coming to us through various conditionings of these horrible ideas of religion.

Take the idea now about Christianity, because here I think I should talk about Christianity rather then about Hinduism. Recently I saw a film called “Gnostic”. And “Gn” in Sanskrit language means “to know “. And Saint Thomas on his way to India had written lots of things about Christ and had put them in a big jar in Egypt. And this jar was opened only about 48 years back. And some scientists have worked on it and have brought it to the English language. Also this book “Gnostic” which anybody can read.

I was Myself born in a Christian religion and I used to wonder, “What sort of a Christianity is this? ” And this book really has challenged all that.”

The Paraclete Shri Mataji
Public Program, We Are All Part And Parcel Of The Whole
Vienna, Austria—8 June 1988

“The kind of sinful life people are leading in the western countries has to be absolutely condemned and has to be thrown out, and nobody should explain it. Nobody should say that it is something, it is just a sin, and all right, Mother will forgive, all this kind of nonsense. It is the greatest wrong you are doing to yourself and to Christ. The abandonment of your character, which is just the opposite of the golden character of Christ. He burnt Himself like chandan, sandalwood. Like gold He came out of that fire of hell to burn away all that is sinful.

So the first attention of anybody who wants to cross the Agnya has to be a sinless life, and that is what one has to realize that how, in the west, they have become all anti-Christ. On this day of His birth, one has to say that a great life, a great personality, was not only wasted, but perverted, misused. Just can’t believe, how can you use the life of Christ for doing all kinds of nonsensical things?

We have one instance where Christ converted water into wine. I can do it also very easily. Wine is not the alcohol. Alcohol is the rotten wine. You have to rot it for days together and the more rotten it is, the more old it is, then it is regarded as something very expensive. The whole idea is so ridiculous, so repulsive, absolutely below the dignity of human level to bring down Christ into all this social life that you are leading there. For you it is important now, all the Sahaja Yogis from the west, to stand up and make your life pure. Make yourself pure, and hate all that is created in the name of Christianity.

Actually, thank God they have found out now the book written by Thomas who has described Gnostic way of life, where gnya means “to know.” In Sanskrit language, gnya means “to know,” gnya. So he has described very nicely the gnostic life. This was the Gnostic Bible, or whatever we call it, saying about a personal experience of achieving God realization, self realization. It talks about Sahaja Yoga out and out. Thomas on his way to India, went to Egypt and there he has put this in a big vessel of some metal. Thank God it was done in Egypt, otherwise in any other place they would have used it for some other purpose. And already it would have been perverted.”

The Paraclete Shri Mataji
Reach Completion Of Your Realization, Christmas Puja, Pune, India—25 December 1987

Elaine Pagels
“The Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas”

Program #3608 First broadcast November 22, 1992

Scholar and religious historian, Dr. Elaine Pagels, is Professor of Religion at Princeton University. Educated at Stanford and Harvard, Elaine has done extensive research on the early Christians and has written widely on the subject. In 1979, Dr. Pagels won the National Book Critics “Circle Award” for her book, The Gnostic Gospels. [Biographical information is correct as of the broadcast date noted above.]

The Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas

“What I want to share with you is my excitement about an extraordinary archaeological discovery that currently is transforming our understanding of early Christianity and its mysterious founder. The discovery occurred unexpectedly in December of 1945 (the same year that the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the desert caves of Qumran, in Israel). An Arab peasant, Muhammad Ali al-Samman, digging for fertilizer under a cliff near the town of Naj Hammadi in Upper Egypt, struck something underground. There, to his astonishment, he unearthed a large earthenware jar, about six feet high.

Inside he found thirteen ancient papyrus volumes, bound in tooled gazelle leather. Muhammad Ali could not read his own language, Arabic, much less the peculiar script of these texts. But he took them home and dumped them on the ground near the stove. Later, his mother admitted that she threw some of the papyrus into the fire for kindling while she was baking bread.

A few weeks later, Muhammad Ali and his brothers, having killed the man who had killed their father in a blood feud, were indicted for murder. Fearing that the police investigating the murder would search his house, find the ancient books, and charge him not only with murder but with illegal possession of antiquities, Muhammad Ali asked a local Coptic priest to keep them for him. While Muhammad Ali and his brothers served six months in prison, a village teacher took one of the books to sell on the black market for antiquities in Cairo.

There, a French historian, Jean Doresse, saw the text and recognized the language as Coptic — the language of Egypt nearly 2,000 years ago. Doresse realized that one of the texts was a Coptic translation from Greek — the original language of the New Testament. Further, he identified the opening lines with fragments of a Greek Gospel of Thomas, discovered in Egypt not long before.

The Gospel opens with the words, “These are the secret words which the Living Jesus spoke, and which the twin, Judas Thomas, wrote down.” Those who first read the text were amazed: Did Jesus have a twin brother, as this text implies? Could it be an authentic record of Jesus’ sayings? According to its title, it contained the Gospel According to Thomas. Yet unlike the gospels of the New Testament, this text identified itself as a secret gospel. This gospel contains many sayings that parallel those in the New Testament; yet others were strikingly different, — sayings as strange and compelling as Zen koans.

Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

Muhammad Ali later admitted that some of the texts were lost — burned up or thrown away. But what remains is astonishing: some fifty-two texts from the early centuries of the Christian era, including a collection of Christian gospels previously unknown, except by title, including the Gospel to the Egyptians, the Gospel of Truth, and the Gospel of Philip, along with the Gospel of Thomas. Although scholars sharply debate their dating, Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University, along with many others, believes that the Gospel of Thomas contains a collection of sayings that predates the gospels of the New Testament. This newly discovered gospel, in fact, resembles the kind of source that the authors of Matthew and Luke used to compose their own gospels.

Why were the texts buried, and why have they remained virtually unknown for nearly 2,000 years? They were buried, apparently, around 370 A.D., after the Archbishop of Alexandria sent out an order to Christians all over Egypt banning such books as “heresy” and demanding their destruction.

Yet we know that the collection of books we call the “New Testament” — with its four gospels — was formed as late as 200 A.D. And the church fathers tell us that before that time, many more gospels circulated throughout Christian communities scattered from Asia Minor to Greece, Rome, Gaul, Spain, and Africa. But by the late second century, bishops who called themselves “orthodox” rejected all but four of these gospels and denounced all the rest as “an abyss of madness, and blasphemy against Christ.”

Yet, those who circulated and revered these other gospels did not think of themselves as heretics, but as Christians who had received, in addition to Christ’s public preaching, other, secret teaching which, they say, he reserved only for a select few. The New Testament gospel of Mark, indeed, indicates that Jesus taught certain things in public, and others in private, to his disciples alone: “To you is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to those outside all things are in parables, so that seeing, they may not perceive, and hearing, they may not understand.”

The Gospel of Thomas and other writings discovered at Naj Hammadi claim to offer such secret teaching. Those who receive it are called gnostics, literally, “those who know,” from the Greek word gnosis, usually translated “knowledge” — but perhaps better translated “insight,” since it connotes an intuitive type of knowledge — knowledge which communicates wisdom, or spiritual enlightenment.

I first encountered these texts as a graduate student at Harvard, where I had gone to study the history of Christianity. I was amazed to find out that my professors had file folders full of ancient Christians gospels of which I had never heard. I wanted to know, how do these newly discovered texts compare with the gospels of the New Testament?

They differ, in fact, in many ways: Yet of all the remarkable differences between the New Testament gospels and those discovered at Naj Hammadi, I find most striking the different view they offer of Jesus himself — and of his message.

According to the gospels of the New Testament — let us take, for example, the one that most scholars agree is the earliest, the gospel of Mark — Jesus first appears and proclaims, “The good news of the kingdom of God.” (Mark 1:15) What is that “good news”?

According to Mark, Jesus announced that “The time is at hand; the kingdom of God is drawing near.” As Mark describes it, Jesus declared that the end of time is at hand; the world is about to undergo cataclysmic transformation. Jesus predicted war, strife, conflict, and suffering, in Chapter 13, followed by a world-shattering event — the coming of the kingdom of God. According to Mark 9:1, Jesus expected that event to happen during the life of his own disciples. He said to Peter and James and John, “There are some of you standing here who shall not taste death until you see the kingdom of God come with power.”

The gnostic Gospel of Thomas, on the contrary, says something very different. Here the “kingdom of God” is not an event expected to happen in history, nor is it a “place.” In fact, the author of Thomas seems to almost ridicule such ideas as if they were naive.

According to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, “If those who lead you say to you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you.”

The Gospel of Thomas, instead says that the kingdom of God represents a kind of state of self-discovery. Jesus goes on to say, “Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourself, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the children of the living Father.” But the disciples, mistaking that “kingdom” for a future event, just as they do in the Gospel of Mark persist in naive questioning. They ask, “When will the kingdom come?”

Jesus said: “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the Father is spread out on the earth already, and people do not see it.”

According to the Gospel of Thomas, then, the “kingdom of God” seems to symbolize a state of transformed consciousness. One enters that “kingdom” when one comes to know oneself. For the secret of gnosis is that when one comes to know oneself, at the deepest level, simultaneously one comes to know God as the source of one’s being.

If we ask, then, “Who is Jesus?” the Gospel of Thomas gives a quite different answer from the gospels of the New Testament. Mark, for example, depicts Jesus as an utterly unique being — the Messiah, God’s anointed king. As Mark tells it, it was Peter who discovered the secret of Jesus’ identity. You may remember the words in Mark 8 which read like this: “And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Cesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they said, ‘John the Baptist; and others said, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.’ And he asked them, ‘but who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.'”

Matthew tells the same story and adds that Jesus blessed Peter for the accuracy of this recognition and says, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.” But the Gospel of Thomas tells the same story rather differently: “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Compare Me to someone, and tell Me whom I am like.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘You are like a righteous messenger.’ Matthew said to him, ‘You are like a wise philosopher.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom You are like.'”

Here the author of the Gospel of Thomas is interpreting, for Greek-speaking readers, Matthew’s portrait of Jesus as rabbinic teacher (“wise philosopher”), and Peter’s confession of Jesus as Messiah (“righteous messenger”). Jesus does not deny either title or either role, at least in relation to Matthew or Peter. But in the Gospel of Thomas they — and their answers — represent a lesser level of understanding.

Thomas, who recognizes that he cannot assign any specific role to Jesus transcends, at that moment, the relation of disciple to master. At this moment of recognition, Jesus says that Thomas has become like Himself: “I am not your Master, for you have drunk, and become drunk from the bubbling stream I measured out…Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am, and I myself will become that person, and things that are hidden will be revealed to him.”

The New Testamentgospel of John, like Mark, emphasizes Jesus’ uniqueness even more strongly than does Mark. According to John, Jesus is not a human being at all; rather, he is the divine and eternal Word of God, God’s “only begotten son,” who descends to earth in human form, to rescue the human race from eternal damnation. You probably remember the words John 3:16: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life….Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Now, if we recall the saying we noted before from the Gospel of Thomas, we can see that Thomas offers a quite different message. Far from regarding himself as the “only begotten” son of God, Jesus here says to his disciples, “when you come to know yourselves” (and discover the divine within you) “then you will recognize that it is you who are the children of the living Father” — just like Jesus!

The gnostic Gospel of Truth, also discovered at Naj Hammadi, says something similar. It says, “You are the children of inner-knowledge…Say, then, from the heart that you are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does not fail.” Another of these texts, the Gospel of Philip, makes the same point more succinctly: “Don’t seek to become a Christian, but a Christ.”

This, I suggest, is the symbolic meaning of attributing the Gospel of Thomas to Jesus’ “twin brother.” I don’t think the statement was meant to be taken literally, as if Jesus actually had a twin brother. I think it is meant to say, in effect, that “You, the reader, are the twin brother of Christ,” when you recognize the divine within you, then you come to see, as Thomas does, in this gospel, that you and Jesus are at a deep level, so to speak, identical twins.

Now, a person who seeks to “become not a Christian, but a Christ” no longer looks to Jesus, as orthodox believers do, as the source of all truth. So, while the Jesus of the Gospel of John declares, “I am the door; whoever enters through me shall be saved,” the gnostic teacher Silvanus points through Christ toward one’s self in a different direction: “Knock upon yourself as upon a door, and walk upon yourself as on a straight road. For if you walk upon that road, it is impossible for you to go astray…Open the door for yourself, that you may know what is….Whatever you open for yourself, you will open.”

Or, to take one more example: according to John, when Thomas says to Jesus, “We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus replies, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, except through me.”

Yet according to the gnostic Dialogue of the Savior, when the disciples ask Jesus the same question (“What is the place to which we shall go?”) he directs each disciple toward his or her own way: “The way which you find, go that way. The place which you reach, stand there!” Or to take another example, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the disciples say, “How should we fast? How should we give alms? How should we pray?” Jesus, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke gives answers to those questions. He says, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father who art in heaven.’ When you give alms say this, ‘Don’t do it the way the hypocrites do.’ When you fast, ‘wash your face.'” In other words, in those gospels, he answers all the questions.

But in the Gospel of Thomas when the disciples ask the same questions, What shall we eat; How shall we give alms; How shall we pray, he says simply, “Do not tell lies and do not do what you hate, for all things are known before your Father in heaven.” In other words, He throws the disciples back on their own resources and says that they must find their own way and discover for themselves what the truth is.

What does it mean that we have found such an unexpected collection of Gospels? The question is too large to answer here. I believe that we owe the survival of Christianity as we know it to the early Christian leaders who chose the gospels we find in the New Testament, but the gospels discovered at Naj Hammadi give us some fascinating glimpses of what was lost in the process, some alternate visions of Jesus and his message.

Interview with Elaine Pagels
Interviewed by David Hardin

David Hardin: Elaine, to what extent do these gospels conflict with what we already believe or do they enhance? How do you feel about that?

Elaine Pagels: Well, at first people thought that because they had been denounced by the bishops as heresy that they were antithetical. In fact, they overlap in many ways. There is much of the Gospel of Thomas that is absolutely identical with parts of Matthew and Luke, sayings that you see in Matthew and Luke that are the same, word for word. That is why many people think it may be either a source of those gospels or have used the same source that those authors used.

Hardin: So, they are not challenging; they are enhancing.

Pagels: Well, the people who loved these gospels certainly thought it was a secret gospel, that is, they thought the others were Jesus’ public teaching but this is what he taught secretly.

Hardin: It has been swell having you with us. Thanks.

Pagels: Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi

“Even in Christian religion we have Thomas, who came down to India and he wrote a lot of treatise, were kept in a cave in Egypt, which were found out. Now there’s a book about him, after forty-eight years of research. it’s amazing how he is describing Sahaja Yoga throughout, that you have to have the experience of reality.

Of course, every book, every scripture says “Know thyself “. Who am I, I must find out what am I. When it is said so, our effort should be to find out that Self that is within us. We say, “My body, my voice, my nose, my country, my, my …. who is this “I” to whom all these things belong? From where does this inspiration comes in? This “I” is within us, reflected in our heart. For you I have to make request that you shouldn’t accept Me blindly. Blindness is not of any help. But I am offering you a hypothesis as in the science about how this happens and all that. If it is proved, and if you find that you have felt as experienced what I am saying, then as honest people you have to accept it..

This knowledge was known to us since long. We had three types of movements towards Divine. One was the Vedas. Even the “vidya” means “to know”, what Thomas has called the people who know as “gnostics”, as “gn”. I don’t know in the south what do you say to “”gnana” or “gyana“, but in Marathi we say “gn”. Gnostic word comes from the same thing as person who is knowledgeable; not outward knowledge, not by your mental efforts or by emotional feelings, but something much beyond. And the same path they tried, but in the Vedas they have said, in the first, first sloka is said if you do not know it, no use reading this book. But “knowledge” means what? — to know it on your central nervous system; not on your mental or physical plane, but on a much higher level.”

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Public Program, Madras, India—December 6, 1991

“But in the West we still are very much attached to the nonsense of Christianity. It has nothing to do with Christ, believe Me, and this fanaticism which is lingering still in your mind must be given up, otherwise you do not do any justice to Christ. That by no chance means you take to another religion like Hinduism or any other nonsensical Jainism, or anything. The essence, the Tattwa, of Christianity is Christ. And it is so thickly clouded by all these nonsensical things that you really have to drop this word ‘Christianity’ from your vocabulary completely, and from your mind. Otherwise you can never go to the essence. It is a fact; take it from Me.

And even now the attention of all the people is on what Christ said, or Mother Mary has said it, and which has come through these horrible people to us. So to learn about other Deities and other great Incarnations, we neutralize. We must try to neutralize too much attention by learning about other Deities, say, Shri Ganesha. If you talk about Shri Ganesha, He is the essence of Christ, and Christ is the manifestation of Shri Ganesha’s Powers. So, if you go to the essence of most things, you see, that is better. Then, of course, Christ is there but we must see in Him, as He is, which very few people has seen before. But now in Sahaja Yoga you should see Him as He was. He was the holiest of the Holy. You accept that position.”

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Christmas Eve Talk, Pune, India — December 24, 1982

The fulfillment of eschatological instruction promised by Jesus

“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’, derived from the Greek apokalypsis, is in fact not the cataclysmic end of the world, but an ‘unveiling’, or ‘revelation’, a means whereby one gains insight into the present.” (Kovacs, 2013, 2)
An apocalypse (Greek: apokalypsis meaning “an uncovering”) is in religious contexts knowledge or revelation, a disclosure of something hidden, “a vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities.” (Ehrman 2014, 59)
“An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: apokalypsis … literally meaning “an uncovering”) is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, “A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities”. Historically, the term has a heavy religious connotation as commonly seen in the prophetic revelations of eschatology obtained through dreams or spiritual visions.” Wikipedia 2021-01-09

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (1923-2011) was Christian by birth, Hindu by marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
Total number of recorded talks 3058: Public Programs 1178, Pujas 651, and other (private conversations) 1249

“The Paraclete will come (15:26; 16:7, 8, 13) as Jesus has come into the world (5:43; 16:28; 18:37)… The Paraclete will take the things of Christ (the things that are mine, ek tou emou) and declare them (16:14-15). Bishop Fison describes the humility of the Spirit, ‘The true Holy Spirit of God does not advertise Herself: She effaces Herself and advertises Jesus.’ …
It is by the outgoing activity of the Spirit that the divine life communicates itself in and to the creation. The Spirit is God-in-relations. The Paraclete is the divine self-expression which will be and abide with you, and be in you (14:16-17). The Spirit’s work is described in terms of utterance: teach you, didasko (14:26), remind you, hypomimnesko (14:26), testify, martyro (15:26), prove wrong, elencho (16:8), guide into truth, hodego (16:13), speak, laleo (16:13, twice), declare, anangello (16:13, 14, 15). The johannine terms describe verbal actions which intend a response in others who will receive (lambano), see (theoreo), or know (ginosko) the Spirit. Such speech-terms link the Spirit with the divine Word. The Spirit’s initiatives imply God’s personal engagement with humanity. The Spirit comes to be with others; the teaching Spirit implies a community of learners; forgetful persons need a prompter to remind them; one testifies expecting heed to be paid; one speaks and declares in order to be heard. The articulate Spirit is the correlative of the listening, Spirit-informed community.
The final Paraclete passage closes with a threefold repetition of the verb she will declare (anangello), 16:13-15. The Spirit will declare the things that are to come (v.13), and she will declare what is Christ’s (vv. 14, 15). The things of Christ are a message that must be heralded…
The intention of the Spirit of truth is the restoration of an alienated, deceived humanity… The teaching role of the Paraclete tends to be remembered as a major emphasis of the Farewell Discourses, yet only 14:26 says She will teach you all things. (Teaching is, however, implied when 16:13-15 says that the Spirit will guide you into all truth, and will speak and declare.) Franz Mussner remarks that the word used in 14:26, didaskeinmeans literally ‘teach, instruct,’ but in John it nearly always means to reveal.” (Stevick 2011, 292-7)
The Holy Spirit as feminine: Early Christian testimonies and their interpretation,
Johannes van Oort, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Paraclete, as the continuation of Jesus’ teaching, must also be understood as the fulfillment of the promise of eschatological divine instruction.”
Stephen E. Witmer, Divine instruction in Early Christianity

“Jesus therefore predicts that God will later send a human being to Earth to take up the role defined by John .i.e. to be a prophet who hears God’s words and repeats his message to man.”
M. Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur’n, and Science

“And when Jesus foreannounced another Comforter, He must have intended a Person as distinct and helpful as He had been.”
F. B. Meyer, Love to the Utmost

“The Paraclete has a twofold function: to communicate Christ to believers and, to put the world on trial.”
Robert Kysar, John The Meverick Gospel

“But She—the Spirit, the Paraclete…—will teach you everything.”
Danny Mahar, Aramaic Made EZ)

“Grammatical nonsense but evidence of the theological desire to defeminize the Divine.”
Lucy Reid, She Changes Everything

“The functions of the Paraclete spelled out in verses 13-15… are all acts of open and bold speaking in the highest degree.”
David Fleer, Preaching John’s Gospel

“The reaction of the world to the Paraclete will be much the same as the world’s reaction was to Jesus.”
Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology

Bultmann calls the “coming of the Redeemer an ‘eschatological event,’ ‘the turning-point of the ages.”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament

“The Paraclete equated with the Holy Spirit, is the only mediator of the word of the exalted Christ.”
Benny Thettayil, In Spirit and Truth

“The divine Paraclete, and no lessor agency, must show the world how wrong it was about him who was in the right.”
Daniel B. Stevick , Jesus and His Own: A Commentary on John 13-17

Stephen Smalley asserts that “The Spirit-Paraclete … in John’s Gospel is understood as personal, indeed, as a person.”
Marianne Thompson, The God of the Gospel of John

“The Messiah will come and the great age of salvation will dawn (for the pious).”
Eric Eve, The Jewish context of Jesus’ Miracles

“The remembrance is to relive and re-enact the Christ event, to bring about new eschatological decision in time and space.”
Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, The Johannine Exegesis of God

“The Spirit acts in such an international situation as the revealer of ‘judgment’ on the powers that rule the world.”
Michael Welker, God the Spirit

The Paraclete’s “Appearance means that sin, righteousness, and judgment will be revealed.”
Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament

“While the Spirit-Paraclete is the true broker, the brokers they rely on are impostors.”
T. G. Brown, Spirit in the writings of John

“The pneumatological activity … of the Paraclete … may most helpfully be considered in terms of the salvific working of the hidden Spirit.”
Michael Welker, The work of the Spirit

“The pneuma is the peculiar power by which the word becomes the words of eternal life.”
Robert Kysar, Voyages with John

“The gift of peace, therefore, is intimately associated with the gift of the Spirit-Paraclete.”
Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John

“This utopian hope, even when modestly expressed, links Jesus and the prophets to a much wider history of human longing.”
Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith

“Because of the presence of the Paraclete in the life of the believer, the blessings of the end-times—the eschaton—are already present.”
Robert Kysar, John

“They are going, by the Holy Spirit’s power, to be part of the greatest miracle of all, bringing men to salvation.”
R. Picirilli, The Randall House Bible Commentary

“The Kingdom of God stands as a comprehensive term for all that the messianic salvation included… is something to be sought here and now (Mt. 6:33) and to be received as children receive a gift (Mk. 10:15 = Lk. 18:16-17).”
G. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament