His students said to him,
Who are you to
such things to us?
“Do you not realize who I am
from everything I have said to you?
Have you come to be like the Judeans
who either accept the tree
but reject its fruit, or welcome the fruit
and despise the tree?
Translation: Lynn Bauman in
The Gospel of Thomas: Wisdom of the Twin
The First Response:
If you were to meet
a famous movie star,
who would you really see?
What myriad and fanciful characters would you reference
in your mind,
draping them like veils
over the real human
Now imagine you met
this man called Jesus—
you knew him as
the face of God.
Before you knew he would die
on a cross.
Before the Gospels and letters were written,
crafting your “knowledge” of him,
thousands of veils thrown over his face—
watch carefully the people who flow around you
for we walk elbow to elbow with divinity
Journey through Logos:
How often do we craft, in our minds, “who” our friends should be, based on our past experiences with them? Or what happens when we “meet” people through their art, their profound thoughts, their political face? Do we think we know “who” they are? Yeshua is aware of this very human fallibility of ours—a small, shy high school friend could surely not run for state governor, nor could that famous love poet scream at his family dog. We think we can keep the tree and shake our head at the fruits, or take the fruit and deny the tree. We have more control this way. We think we possess the Truth.
If we apply the wisdom to this logion to Yeshua himself, as he is clearly asking his disciples to do, we might find ourselves shaken. The question of “who are you” is profound, in all its nuances. Through-out his teaching career, there were those who could not hear Yeshua’s message because they knew him as “Mary’s son” and other times when people could not see “Mary’s son” because of his profound teachings and healings. Either act objectifies, and either act gives us only a partial glimpse into the full personhood of Yeshua or anyone else for that matter.
The ramification of discipleship that is called into this full seeing means trouble with a capital “T”. Suddenly, we are called by this Gospel to hold the whole person before us, no matter what their face or name, and to see the fleshy divinity that is the entire majesty of any living thing. We are thrown back on our own resources again, asked to see more than this particular teacher and his words, but at the same time, more than this fallible human being who could not possibly utter or manifest anything of value. We are called to do this not just in Yeshua’s case, but for all those around us, creating sacred relationship out of our “finding”.
Hokmah’s Symphonic Note:
“Bondage and Liberation are of the mind alone.”
“God is everywhere but He is most manifest in man. So serve man as God. That is as good as worshipping God.”
When divine vision is attained, all appear equal; and there remains no distinction of good and bad, or of high and low.”
The Buddhist tradition has a lovely practice of secretly wishing each person you brush by a sense of happiness, freedom from suffering and from the causes of suffering. Make your own words today that serve as a way to connect with people in deep compassion, and as you go about your day, offer them soundlessly to whoever catches your eye. At the end of the day, evaluate how you yourself feel when you bless others.
You can find Kim's entire commentary on the Gospel of Thomas in Kindle, paperback and audio formats by clicking on this link: