Gospel of Thomas: Thomas 39
The LGBTQI Community – Love Is Love
To understand the significance of Thomas 39, it is important that we consider what Yeshua means by the keys of knowledge. The sayings of Yeshua in the Gospel of Thomas give us knowledge about the nature of this realm and what humans are. These are the keys that were taken away. This freedom to explore the truth was initially blocked by the Pharisees, then edited by the authors of the New Testament. This obstruction continued through organised religions following the formation of the canonical texts. The Christian institutions cite the Old and New Testament Gospels as their only source of knowledge. These institutions prevent people from seeking truth outside of what they are told to believe by the leaders of these communities. The leaders of such organisations do not understand the teachings Yeshua conveys in the Gospel of Thomas. Evidently, it would seem as though they simply feared its power, its capacity to free souls from bondage. To let people know they could find God, the Source, within the self would have undermined their authority and made the institutionalised religion redundant. These leaders did not enter into this knowledge with an open heart and mind. Their concerns for building a Church community prevented them from entering, just as the building opens and closes its doors according to predetermined times. The key Jesus speaks of is the ability to search freely and to allow the intuitive self to explore the possibilities. It is only through this questioning and exploration that people may grow into a living Spirit.
Jesus’ contemporaries, and some religious leaders of the twenty-first century, use the physical as a reference point for their teachings—they are wrong to do so. When a Catholic person is encouraged to state that they are not worthy of Jesus, they harm their soul. They are denying their link to God, the Source. In the Catholic Mass, the congregation replies to the priest’s proclamation of the Communion Host (bread that has become the body of Christ—for Catholics), with the statement: ‘Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.’ This statement goes against the teachings of Jesus, who reminds us on many occasions (in the Gospel of Thomas) that we are like Him, we are His kin and intimately connected to Him. In making such a statement, these people deny this connection. This declaration comes from the belief that the flesh rules over the soul. This statement also infers that the soul is a victim of the flesh, it has been overpowered. These false perceptions stem from the notion that the God of Abraham has punished humans for Adam’s transgression. This is untrue. The flesh and this realm are of their own nature and needs, and we, the soul, are of another nature. We should appreciate that this recitation comes to us from what a centurion said about his beloved servant. We are given a new perspective when we see it in the context of what came before and after this verse. In Matthew 8 we find:
5 When he went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him.
6 ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed and in great pain.’
7 Jesus said to him, ‘I will come myself and cure him.’
8 The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured.
9 For I am under authority myself and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man, “Go,” and he goes; to another, “Come here,” and he comes; to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’
10 When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘In truth I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found faith as great as this.
[Verse 8 has emphasis added to highlight its relevance to this commentary]
Verse 8 becomes contentious when one looks at the actual event. The centurion, under great threat to his position of leadership, is clearly asking for his male servant to be cured. We may glean from this that Yeshua understood there to be a special relationship between the two men. He made this assumption because the centurion was making a perilous request. Yet Jesus would eagerly go to their house and heal this man. This redresses the orthodox Christian beliefs about gay relationships. After the centurion’s request Yeshua makes an observation, something that is very telling about His community. Yeshua states that nobody He had met up to that point had as much faith as that centurion. The centurion believed in Jesus’ words, he did not need His physical presence. There is an inference that the gentiles were more capable of understanding Jesus’ message, because His contemporaries were tainted by their belief in a stern, patriarchal god—a god that demanded sacrifices and adherence to the Law. The centurion’s faith was enough to cure his beloved servant. This is what Yeshua was trying to convey throughout His ministry—faith is an intangible force that can overcome the obstacles people meet within this realm. The belief that we are not worthy is an obstacle to being free of suffering. Yeshua told the centurion He would come to his house and cure his servant, because love and compassion have no barriers.
Humans cannot judge themselves on the measure of this realm and its weaknesses—this would be a sin. Knowledge about God’s Kingdom and what we are based on in the physical world is harmful to the soul. With a mind full of guilt, shame, and a sense of not being worthy, people are inclined to deny their intimate connection and kinship with Jesus. It is a principal crime, which religious leaders have inflicted on successive generations. Their antiquated attitude and beliefs must be left aside for the truth to light the way. The truth is that where there is knowledge, there is Light—no fear, only connectedness, peace, and love.
When one is allowed to enter upon oneself (explore what the human soul is) then one is given the keys to truth. Those who are in positions of authority and have not explored themselves lead others astray (Thomas 67). They use outdated traditions and dogma to substantiate their own position, but the reality of the Father’s Kingdom does not support their teachings. Asking which of the major religions has caused the least amount of conflict in the world gets us closer to an idea of what is at the centre of Yeshua’s message. The answer is in a system that seeks to recognise reality and abate its impact on the mind. This is Buddhism. Though there are variations within Buddhism, as there are in Christian denominations, it essentially teaches that all beings desire to end suffering and be at peace. To attain this state of contentment, we must respect each other’s lives and experiences and recognise the root cause of suffering (see commentary for Thomas 7). Evidently, some Buddhist faiths have been affected by the material world. These denominations of Buddhism have delved into mystic practices and worship of deities, to ensure a fortunate afterlife or rebirth. They have moved away from Buddha’s original teachings, allowing their desire to control what happens after death to change the primary canon. Desire is born of this world—the desire to survive, the desire to have physical comforts and pleasure, and so on. While adherents want to become enlightened this desire in itself becomes an obstacle. Desire in Buddhist teaching is seen as an obstacle to reaching the objective of enlightenment. Yeshua’s teachings are a gentle yoke (Thomas 90), they show people that they are two distinct things. Humans are first and foremost a soul that has been blinded to the truth. Secondly, they are in a physical body that has its own requirements. When people recognise what they really are and how the soul grows, they become joined to God, the Source. This is made possible through the collective consciousness we know as the Holy Spirit.
The observations regarding Catholic dogma appear to place this Church, and its parishioners, in the one basket. However, this is not the intention, nor is it an accurate picture of reality. Within all institutions there are people who are working to shift the obstacles and, indeed, there are many nuns and priests who see the schism their leaders have created. The Church has been made into an institution concerned with wealth, power, control, and longevity. Jesus said to His disciples, as He does to you: ‘be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves.’ Entering into a discourse with those who are lost in dogma, ritual, and misguided tradition, is of no value; we must be able to move around undetected, to change what must be changed. In this way, you are allowed to be ‘as simple as doves’ and as innocent as a child, untainted by dogma and the teachings that are rooted in the material world.
Read about Paul’s Letter to the Romans – Does it vilify the LGBTQI Community?
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