In the gnostic Gospel of Thomas Jesus said, “I am not your master … He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.” Jesus didn’t set himself apart from his companions and he held nothing back. In The Apocryphon of James, Jesus encouraged his followers to “Become better than I.” and In the Secret Book of James Jesus emphasized that point when he told his followers, “Be eager to be saved without being urged. Rather be fervent on your own and, if possible, outdo even me.” In a gnostic text called Pseudo-Cyprian, Jesus said, “Thus you see me in yourselves, as one of you sees yourself in water or in a mirror.” Jesus had awakened to his true identity and he wanted his follower to recognize that this goal was also well within their reach.
There are several gnostic writings attributed to Thomas because the name meant “twin” In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus said:
“. . .while you are still in the world, listen to me and I shall reveal to you what you have thought about in your heart. Since it is said that you are my twin and true friend, examine yourself and understand who you are, how you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you are to be called my brother, it is not fitting for you to be ignorant of yourself.”
Some believe Jesus was addressing a literal twin, but in this case the name was used symbolically to tell us that we all share Jesus’ divine origin and can attain the Divine just as he did. Of course this was shocking information for people who were looking for a warrior to save them from their oppressors, not a brother who wanted them to put spiritual interests first.
Why are we afraid to follow Jesus’ advice and accept his challenge to “outdo even me?” The reasons are many, but in the end they all boil down to fear. We turn masters into Gods and tell ourselves we’re unworthy of duplicating their path (or arrogant to think we can). But we create this deception for quite another reason. To reach mastery (which is really only mastery over ourselves, not others) we must look inside. And there is nothing that’s more frightening to the false mind that keeps us locked in illusion than looking inside.
In The Dialogue of the Savior Jesus’ disciples asked him to reveal the source of his teaching. Knowing he differed from his disciples only in their level of understanding he answered, “Light the lamp within you … Knock on yourself as upon a door and walk upon yourself as on a straight road.” When we do, we will understand and live Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Thomas, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the all things.” The choice is ours. We can be followers and gain some second-hand knowledge. Or, we can go where most fear to tread, look inside, take responsibility and experience the Divine for ourselves. Yes, we might be troubled by what we see momentarily, but that will quickly change to astonishment, and we will, like Jesus, “conquer the world.” (John 16:33)
To learn more about Jesus’ gnostic teachings, visit http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com/blog