Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Saying 62


Jesus said, ‘I tell my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries.’

‘Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’


Saying 62 comprises two teachings. Similarities with other early texts suggest both parts belong to the oldest version of the Gospel of Thomas, and were placed in sequence because of their thematic similarities. While esoterism is most often associated with ‘gnostic’ Christians, its roots are in the apocalyptic stream within Second Temple Judaism, of which the Jesus Movement was one such group. The simple mention of ‘mysteries’ in the first part is not enough to qualify it as ‘gnostic’. The term comes from the Greek word ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ (apokalypsis), which refers to an ‘unveiling’, ‘discloure’, or ‘revelation’. This word often referred a revelation of divine mysteries to a prophetic figure, and of those same mysteries from by the prophet to people he considered wise enough to listen. The two teachings were arranged together in Saying 62 because the author used the first part to interpret the second, so that the ‘right hand’ represented the ‘people who are worthy’. Matthew incorporates the second part into a vastly different context: good works should be done without having attention drawn to them, because once a person does those works for the purpose of receiving praise, they are no longer doing them for selfless reasons, and God will judge the person accordingly.


1 Corinthians

2.7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.


16.25–26 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus, the Anointed One, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed.


4.11 And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.’


6.2–4 ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.’


1.26 The mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his holy ones.

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