Friday, January 5, 2024

Saying 97


Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of the Father is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking a long way on the road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal leaked out onto the road behind her. She did not realize it; she did not notice a problem. When she reached her house, she put the jar down and found it empty.’


This is one of a few parables in the Gospel of Thomas which has no parallels of any kind in the New Testament gospels, yet its similarity in tone and style makes it just as plausible to be an authentic saying from Jesus as most of the parables found in Mark, Matthew, or Luke. However, because Saying 97 has no parallel, interpretation becomes much more speculative. Its placement after the previous parable—it will be discovered that God’s kingdom was growing unseen even before the end times—indicates Saying 97 may have been understood by the author of Thomas as describing another surprise that will be revealed in the eschaton. The message could be that people carelessly think their reward is secure, which makes them inattentive to their circumstances, resulting in them actually missing out on their reward altogether.

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