Gospel of Thomas: Thomas 19
These Stones Will Serve You
Thomas 19: Jesus said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being. If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these stones will serve you.
For there are five trees in Paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. Whoever knows them will not taste death.”
People who come into the world aware of their spiritual nature are fortunate—they are not confused by, or enamoured of, the physical world. They enter into the world without being affected by it, as an observer or passerby (Thomas 42). As we encounter various personalities in our life’s journey, we realise that there are different types of individuals. People might categorise these types by their star sign, or genetic legacy, giving them certain characteristics accordingly. They might be defined as being pragmatic, logical, driven, or creative and spiritual, etc. Whatever the reason, it cannot be denied that there are different personality types. In the first part of Thomas 19, Yeshua congratulates those who are born with the ability to perceive abstract concepts. The concepts within His sayings, required a certain type of characteristic to comprehend or, at the very least, appreciate. This is why Jesus tells His disciples that if they can pay attention to His sayings and learn from them, the teachings will become stones, which will serve them. The knowledge we gain can be used to build a fortress around us, protecting us from this world’s distractions and allowing us to become passersby. Moreover, stones can be thrown at our adversaries, in our defence.
A tree can represent food, but it can also represent knowledge—as in the Garden of Eden myth. Thomas 19 infers there are essential truths the disciples will learn if they pay attention to Jesus’ teachings. This knowledge is something that would perpetually sustain all who come to Yeshua, like a tree fruiting all year round. In truth, there is no tree that does not change, unless it exists in the realm of the Spirit, just as there is no summer or winter, but an uninterrupted spring. This spring is the knowledge gained through the Gospel of Thomas, because it renews and sustains the life of the Spirit. It is The Perpetual Tree.
Consider the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Vitruvian Man’ c.1490 (originally conceived by Vitruvius, an ancient Greek architect). The drawing indicates the proportions of the human within two essential geometric shapes. It depicts two superimposed, full body images of the same male subject. One image is outstretched in a square, the other in a circle. We can interpret this image in the context of the Divine wisdom, which is implied in Thomas 19. The square is akin to the physical realm. It represents definitive attributes such as the four directions and the four essential, life-sustaining elements: earth, fire, water, and air. The circle, which encompasses the square, is one unbroken whole. It is of itself and has no beginning or end, which mirrors the mysteries of the Spirit realm. In the middle is a human, which represents the soul (the Son). The hands and feet can, at different times, either be in the square or in the circle, yet the head is always in the square—this is the problem. The human mind is enveloped in the physical realm. This prevents most people from entering into the circle—the sphere of the Spirit. Yeshua’s primary goal was to teach people about the disparity between the square and the circle, the physical and the spiritual. This is the kind of wisdom that sustains the growth of the soul, like a fruiting tree might sustain the body. Da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian Man’ illustrates that we have access to both the physical and spiritual, through our actions and decisions. Our experiences, represented in the feet and hands, should nourish the mind, which can then transcend the physical barriers of this realm to see into the eternal sphere. People who have come into being have access to this sphere. This wisdom is also conveyed through the sayings of Thomas 81, 85, 103, and 110
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