The Gospel of Thomas, 114 sayings of Jesus, was believed by different scholars to have been written anywhere from 40 CE to 140 CE. Its theological perspective is markedly different from the biblical gospels in that the resurrection of Jesus plays no part in it, and it emphasizes a mystical understanding of Jesus’ teachings, rather than the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. During this time, there was a wide range of theoretical beliefs in “early christianity”, but it was so diverse in its beliefs, it would be better served to be called as “early christianities”. Early believers of Jesus held a wide view of beliefs. Some believed there were two or more gods, others insisted the world was created by an evil deity, while others argued that Jesus was not really human or not really divine; many maintained that Jesus was not really divine; some maintained that Jesus death had nothing to do with salvation and others claimed that he never actually died.
By the mid-2nd century the struggle for Christianity’s self-definition continued involving a battle between two differences. On one side were those seeking a fundamentally exoteric understanding of the religion, defined in terms of a closed canon of Scripture, a creed, and institutional authority. On the other side were those
categorized or labeled as Gnostics, later called heretics; understanding Jesus and his message in terms of a saving knowledge or gnosis, through meditation and enlightened teachers, mythical narratives, and spiritual advancement.
A heretic is a person who differs in opinion from established religious dogma
Orthodox means conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true.
The Gospel of Thomas can be understood mystically such as saying 28. Jesus said, “I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent.”
Jesus may be saying he appeared in this world as human and the center of attention. But he found people asleep, blind and none were thirsty for the truth. The spiritual state of humanity, according to numerous gnostic texts, is stupefied with passion and drunkenness, blind to any spiritual understanding. Humanity came empty with their awareness and understanding of their consciousness, and who they really are. They can be saved if they seek the truth and and discover their true selves. Parallel sayings can be found in Luke 21:34-36 and John 1:14 and drunkenness is likened to ignorance of God in 1 Corinthians 15:34.
(29) Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty.”
Perhaps Jesus meant it is very difficult for us to let go of the negative and destructive nature of the physical and material world and realize our true selves. Most of us do not realize the power within and simply disregard because of the material world. Perhaps because of our programing, it is difficult to understand our true nature and believe the material world is the real world. We all have a body, mind and spirit and according to the Gnostics we are divine sparks trapped in the body. Similar sayings can be found in Rom 8:1-8 and Gal 5:16-26.
In saying (30) Jesus said, “Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him.”
This is a complex saying with a similar saying found in Matthew 18:20. Consider that when three people are discussing the ways of the world, each believe they are right, leaving no room to discuss the true meaning of life because no one is listening. When there is only one or two, the heart is more open and accepting of Christ consciousness within each of us.
In saying (31) Jesus said, “No prophet is accepted in his own village; no physician heals those who know him.”
Two metaphors that are seen in everyday life. When we know someone, grow up with them as a child, watched their actions and perhaps indiscretions in immaturity, we normally will not put any credence in them as a prophet or physician. Only someone to whom we do not know and is a a mystery can we really believe they know what they are doing much like the blind leading the blind. We tend to look at what we identify as wisdom; successful people with money and the benchmark. Similar sayings can be found in Luke 4:16-30, Matt 13:53-58, John 4:43-45, and Mark 6:1-6.
(32) Jesus said, “A city being built on a high mountain and fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden.”
Enlightened ones tell us of the ways of the world such as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu Kristina. Many more have left behind a treasure of wisdom to inform us of the physical and metaphysical world. Today the wisdom is available for anyone and cannot be hidden. A parallel saying can be found in Matt 5:14-16.
The four Gospels, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John were anonymously written and only later did Christians claim that they have been produced by the apostles. The Gospel of Mark probably dates from 66–70 CE, Matthew and Luke around 85–90 CE , and John 90–110 CE. Like the rest of the New Testament, they were written in Greek. One should consider that many of Gospels may have been taken from the Gospel of Thomas to create the New Testament and the church’s story of Jesus.