10761Re: [GTh] L18
- Dec 31, 2013Now that the end of the year has come upon us, it has led me to share some thoughts on L18.
18 The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?" Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.The canonical gospels include eschatological sermons ascribed to Jesus (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21) which foretell "endtime" events. But in Thomas' Gospel we see an interesting twist. Instead of asking about apocalyptic signs in the world, the disciples are asking about "our" end. What will become of *us* they ask. It is one thing to speak of the end of the world and predict wars and natural tragedies in various places, it is another to know what will happen to *us* in the end. In other words, how will this impending end of the world affect those of us who have decided to follow Jesus?This logion looks at the end more individually and personally. The disciples may be asking: Now that I am your disciple, what will happen to me? How will I end up? How will my death be like because of my following you? Will I die in battle for you? Will I become a martyr? Will I die peacefully in my sleep? And what happens to me after death?Jesus' response in the Gospel of Thomas here takes a sharp 180 degree turn from the "end" and goes to "The Beginning", ie, the First Creation, Eden. Instead of looking forward fearfully, Thomas’ Jesus would rather his disciples look and find the hidden earlier First Creation which was good and blessed which continues to exist side by side with the Second Creation which is fallen and cursed (L56) and is where most people live.Thomasine theology appears to be anti-eschatological. Even today our "endtimes" preachers promote anxiety and fear, which is the opposite goal of Thomasine believers who seek and find rest (L2) without anxiety (L36). The "end" when the dead are raised has already come (L51). Kernals of apocalyptic texts found in Thomas tend to mute the anxiety and refocus in the present, as in L113, Thomas' Gospel makes it clear that a future kingdom is not coming, but is spread upon the earth and is invisible to those who fail to see it.This logion states: "The end will be where the beginning is" Life is circular. One year's end leads to a new year's beginning. The Beginning, for a Thomasine believer, is where one finds the end to the search and finishes the spiritual journey with rest and peace-- and the circle is then complete.Happy New Year to you all.Tim StakerIndianapolis, IN