Gospel of Thomas: On The Eucharist
Thomas 108: Jesus said, ”Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.”
Human history has shown us that very few people have drunk from the mouth of Jesus. Rather, they have chosen to listen with closed hearts and minds. They have not wanted to meditate on the secret teachings Jesus gave us through Thomas, but have looked for the things that will suit their needs. The concern of the faiths sharing the Abrahamic heritage has been to focus on creating a community. These communities have particular rituals and underlying dogma, defining them apart from the others. This patriarchal trait is one that is driven by the lion we see in Thomas 7. To be fair, the general populace is not without blame, as they seek the easy option—a box to tick off. The Spirit does not inspire this focus on ritual and dogma, which is exclusive, rather than inclusive. These things are born of the flesh and its weaknesses. They are a result of humanity’s primal fears, which men have shared. They are a result of human evolution, which makes people think like men do and not like God would. They are the desires of men to control the way the community thinks and acts. This is the lion, manifest as human (Thomas 7).
At this point, it is necessary to address a contentious issue for most Christians—the Eucharist and what it means. Thomas 108 has links with the concept of partaking of Jesus, in a physical way—such as in the Eucharistic meal, (specifically) during the Catholic Mass. For most Christians, the Eucharist is not thought of as the transformed body and blood of Jesus Christ. However, the Catholics are taught that during the Mass the bread and wine are changed—in metaphysical substance, not appearance or actual material. This teaching comes from the Gospel of John, Chapter 6. We should consider, biblical scholars see the Gospel of John as being written, possibly, by three different authors, who added to the original, unfinished gospel. There are scholars who argue that it precedes all other Synoptic Gospels, because of its more accurate chronology of events and description of places. However, its obvious aim to portray Jesus (and Thomas) in a certain way brings into question its accuracy and intention. The language used and its content reveals an impassioned group of believers creating a persuasive text. The consensus among biblical scholars is that The Gospel of John was the last in the chronology of canonical texts. If one reads this gospel objectively, it becomes apparent that it is a subjective perspective and a rather romanticised one. It reflects the authors’ passion for an ideology, which is Jesus Christ, as the only Son of God. As mentioned in other commentaries, the author(s) of John are antagonistic towards the Gospel of Thomas and portray Thomas as a simpleton. This was made possible by Thomas’s response to Jesus’ question in Thomas 13, because Thomas did not have the language to say what Jesus was like. Moreover, this distinction made Thomas the new wineskin, for the new wine, which was Jesus’ message disclosed to one disciple (Thomas 47). The other disciples looked to the knowledge that was rooted in myth and legend, found in the Old Testament. The author of John could not fathom the concept of the Light, which is in Jesus, also being within all humans. Catholic apologists use the following sections of John Chapter 6 to argue their position on the Eucharist meal:
John 6:51: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’
John 6: 53-56, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him’
There is a strange irony in the attitude of the Catholic Church, as apposed to the Protestants and fundamentalists. The latter do not take these words literally, the Catholic Clergy do. A distinction is drawn here between the Clergy and parishioners, because a significant proportion of the laity either do not understand, or see the bread and wine transformation in a figurative, rather than literal sense. From the references in John 6, we see how the author introduces the notion of a ritual practice, which unifies believers with Jesus, in the only way they could imagine. This is because they did not understand the Spiritual Jesus, the one that is revealed to us in the Gospel of Thomas. They wanted to see Jesus as the god-king, entirely different to mortal humans. In the sayings of Thomas, we see that we become a part of what Jesus is—the kingdom, which is constituted of Spirits, connected through the Holy Spirit. The statements in John, attributed to Jesus, are the passionate words of men. They were drunk with knowledge they accumulated from the Old Testament, and the notion of what Jesus was (Thomas 28). For them, He was the only Son of God.
If we put Thomas 108 next to the last part of John 6:56, we begin to see how certain teachings of Jesus had been taken out of context, or extrapolated to the point where they were distorted. Thomas 108 states: ‘Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.’ In John 6:56 we have: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person. ’Notice, both are essentially saying the same thing. If we live in Jesus and Jesus in us (in John) the same is true when, in Thomas, we become like Jesus and the hidden things are revealed to us. The human can only experience the hidden things when they are like Jesus—connected through the Holy Spirit. This link is fortified from the first part of Thomas 108, where we become like Jesus, when we drink from His mouth. Again, the distinction between the two sayings is the inference, what it actually means to partake of Jesus—is it from His knowledge (mouth) or is it literally His body and blood?
It is unlikely that the author of John was thinking of this in a literal way, but rather as an attempt to bring people closer to Jesus. The author would have been encouraging Christians to see the Eucharist as Jesus’ presence with them, not in actual, physical terms. After all, if one could not fathom the teachings we see in Thomas, then how does one feel the connection to Jesus and the Father/Source? Take note of John 6:63: ‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. [emphasis added]’ Here we see the author of John being careful to affirm what we see in Thomas 108. From Jesus’ mouth we receive His teachings. This is the bread of life, which we should take part in. His blood is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, which links all Souls seeking the Light. Again, in John 6:63: ‘The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.’ Remember, when Jesus spoke of life, or to live, He was referring to the Soul coming to life, not the body. What He aimed to show us is how to resurrect the Spirit in us—this is the only circumcision of value (Thomas 53).
Through the Gospel of Thomas, we see that the bread Jesus speaks of is the knowledge He came to deliver. His blood was poured out for us, this represents the Holy Spirit—the thing linking and sustaining every human seeking the Light, it flows through all things (Thomas 77). This may sound contradictory, since we have established that the Father flows through all things, but this, again, is where we meet with the concept of the Trinity. The Trinity is an interrelationship between the three elements, which cannot be separated. Where the Father is, so too is the Son and the Holy Spirit. In destroying the flesh, through the pouring out of His blood, Jesus showed us how the lamb defeats the lion. This knowledge is food for our life, the life in Spirit, not in the physical form. People must remember that this world, and the body we live in, is the carcass; it is the poverty Jesus speaks of in Thomas 56 and 80. Jesus would not advocate the thought of eating flesh and blood, because these are things from this realm, not the Spirit realm. As mentioned above, this is made clear in John 6:63: ‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.[emphasis added]’ In the Spirit realm these physical elements are, of course, different. They are mirrored here, in our universe, in tangible ways—the words and actions of Jesus. In the realm of the Spirit, the bread is the substance of Spirit, the collective consciousness. The life and the blood, is, as it is here—the Holy Spirit, as it unifies and nourishes these links. These are the actions of the woman, adding leaven to dough, in order to make large loaves of bread(Thomas 96). The leaven is what grows in us. It is the Soul. It grows into a Spirit—the large loaves. This is made possible by ingesting what Jesus came here to give us—the spring of life, knowledge, and wisdom, which sustains spiritual life. It is the knowledge of the hidden things. Declaring that the Eucharist becomes the actual body and blood of Jesus, and that people are ingesting this, is not a healthy position to take for the growth of the Soul. The maturation of the Soul and its successful and eternal link to the Father/Source was Jesus’ purpose in this realm.
The kind of ideology and practice we see in the Catholic Church also plays into the function of the coin discussed in the commentary for Thomas 32, in reference to exorcism. It is well known that some theistic Satanist sects have been involved in the stealing of the Catholic Eucharist. This is the coin at work. These people aim to do the opposite of what humans know is good, and right. They also wish to use holy symbols for their unholy and self-indulgent intentions—they are the opposite side of this coin. When a person wishing to inflict this kind of malice steals the Catholic Eucharist, it hurts those who believe it to be the actual body and blood of Jesus. In being given the tools by which to inflict this hurt, that individual or group succeeds in their intentions. This is how the coin functions in this situation, because, as mentioned previously, it has become a symbiotic relationship. It is a relationship mortal men have created. If the physicality of the Eucharist were not literal, as in the Catholic ideology, these people would not have this (perceived) power. This is another reason why people must separate the physical/material realm from the realm of the Spirit. This universe has been inspired by, and is influenced by, the other. It is not an intentional, perfect creation (Thomas 97). If it were intentional and holistic it would not be filled with suffering and chaos. Even the Jesus in the Gospel of John reminds us ‘the flesh has nothing to offer’, so why make something sacred that is of no value?
If individuals seek to find truth, they will find it, because the path of the Spirit is true. There are many roads through the wood, the wood is one and the destination is the same. However, the question arises, what does the human soul become when it joins to that destination? (Thomas 11). In the human realising that the seed cannot exist without the tree, what then? The reality of what we are and where we will go to beyond this existence is what humans need to come to terms with. Who do we join to, to become two? It is only through the truth in Jesus’ words, recorded in the Gospel of Thomas and disclosed through 77th Pearl: The Perpetual Tree, that humans will realise who they truly are. Humanity’s profound connection to the Source, the one Jesus refers to as Father, is ratified in these secret teachings.
Thomas 108 is linked to Thomas 62, where Jesus speaks about those who are worthy of His mysteries. We find, through this link, that people are made worthy by their desire to know the truth. In this way, they may drink from Jesus’ mouth, because He is as all sentient beings are. When we look at the links, made throughout the Gospel of Thomas, we start to see there are strategic threads woven through these sayings. They reveal truths, but to find these threads one must actively seek them, as we see in Thomas 94. Through actively seeking truth people can see the threads. For example, it can be seen woven through Thomas 2, 5, 17, 19, 49, 62, 66, 68, 69, 70, 82, 85, 92, 94, 99, 101, 105, 107, and 111. These sayings make reference to the individual journey towards Divine wisdom. They reveal the intimate link humans share with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and the Father’s Light (Thomas 77). In this way, these threads are also linked to Thomas 108.
The question of worthiness is very important. It is because of religious institutions, which have made people feel unworthy, that we must focus on the truth of what it actually means to be worthy. It is not the purging and denial of the flesh that makes one worthy of the truth (Thomas 6 and 14). One is worthy if one sees the world the way it truly is. It is made of physical material, which by its nature decays (Thomas 56). This extends to humans’ mortal bodies, (Thomas 80) housing the immortal Soul. This realm makes humans inclined to violent and selfish actions, based on their primal evolution and heritage (Thomas 7). The struggle between the Spirit—seeking balance, harmony, and unity—and the flesh—manifest as the symbol of the fierce and proud lion (Thomas 7)—has created for us these institutions. They are somewhere between the two opposing states of being. In this facile place, between the two, the Soul cannot grow, because people are made to feel unworthy. The flesh becomes an obstacle—and it is a large obstacle, which has done much damage to the relationship humans should have with the Father/Source. If people drink from Jesus’ mouthand become Him, what of this life and its obstacles? How do humans navigate these things with this new understanding? The answer is to look to the logical and intuitive self. To reject the fear-based dogma generated by those consumed by the lion (Thomas 7). This then would become the dawn of the enlightened generations.
Consider how women in economically disadvantaged countries, having no access to education, do not have control over how many children they give birth to. The Christian orthodoxy removes this choice from them, because these women are led to believe that it is a sin to use birth control. Their body becomes the property of their god and not of themselves. This misguided attitude is the cause of much suffering. It is also leading to a point where the earth’s resources will not be able to sustain future populations, as we struggle to do at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This is an issue on a global scale, but the concept of worthiness comes down to the individual plight. We see this when people who are not heterosexual are made to feel like their own creator shuns them. In the Gospel of Thomas the truth is revealed. The truth is that humans are not the flesh they are wrapped in. They must look at the things it does as mechanisms of its primal evolution, not as divinely ordained. The damage incurred is because of people’s mythological vision of a Creator God, who has all things mapped out for them. This includes whom they should be partnered with, based on the notion that they should breed. This premise, rooted in primal needs for survival, must cease if this planet is to continue to be inhabitable by humans. If it does not stop, these bodies will perish and the Light within them will move to other sentient beings, which will evolve in the future. This has been the pattern in other galaxies and it will continue for a limited time in this universe (Thomas 111). This is why it is important that people see the truth and stop proliferating their own destruction. Those who are besotted by this life see benefit in making humans think they are unworthy. This keeps souls bound up in this dimension. It is entirely profitable for souls, captivated by this realm, to perpetuate suffering. What better way than religious dogma—a convincing mask. When people are free of suffering, then they can truly follow a path into the enlightened future. For this to occur they must nurture this world, so that suffering is minimised. When the body is healthy, the mind is free. Then the soul can evolve to its fullest potential.
In Thomas 108, we see something that turns most Christians’ understanding of Jesus on its head. The language Jesus uses in the Gospel of Thomas, and as recontextualised by authors in the canonical gospels, has lead most denominations to think of Jesus as God, or the only Son of God. The Gospel of Thomas supports the idea that Jesus was indeed a Son of God. Where Thomas differs is in the understanding that all beings seeking the Light are the Son of God. The definition of ‘God’ is not understood as an ethereal entity, which has created everything through a Devine Plan. It is the Source, defined as the ‘Father’, by Jesus. Also evident in the Gospel of Thomas, His divinity is as a result from the connection to this Father/Source. The distinction between this gospel and the canonical gospels, is that humanity is very much a part of the same divinity. Jesus is the one that opens eyes to the hidden, invisible Light. When Jesus says, ‘whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person’, He describes a most wondrous event for us, which destroys all misconceptions of being unworthy or inherently sinful. This also tells us that we are intimately connected to Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and the Father/Source’s Light (Thomas 77). When people drink from the knowledge and wisdom Jesus came to deliver, they are set free. They are also free from the narrow vision they may have had of Jesus. This is when they are able to become like Him. We are His kin. In this knowledge He becomes connected to us—then the hidden things are revealed.
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