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The Blessings of Persecution

Chapter 68 and 69 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted. Wherever you have been persecuted they will find no place. (68)

Patterson and Maeyer: No place will be found, wherever you have been persecuted.

Nancy Johnson: They shall find no place still standing where they have tormented you.

It is well known to historians that the triumph of Christianity occurred because of the martyrdom of so many that “loved not their lives unto the death.” In the book of Revelation we read: “I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them” (Revelation 12:10-12).

Christianity is the only major world religion that from the beginning held out to its prospective converts the fact of their likely persecution and martyrdom. The enemies of Christianity have often remarked that they dared not create martyrs. No matter how greatly he wanted to kill Saint Tikhon, the Patriarch of Moscow, Lenin said: “We cannot afford a martyr.” And today we see that the new martyrs of Russia have triumphed over their Communist persecutors. It is true that the blood of martyrs eventually annihilates those who have tormented them and often expunges the places of their suffering from the earth.

Jesus said, Blessed are they who have been persecuted within themselves. It is they who have truly come to know the father. Blessed are the hungry, for the belly of him who desires will be filled. (69)

Now Jesus expounds the martyrdom of the heart and spirit. Those that suffered inwardly and showed themselves willing to lay down their life for the faith are honored by the Eastern Christians especially, for they are considered martyrs of the spirit. Those who have offered their lives willingly, joyfully, have done more than conquer their enemies: they have drawn near to the Father and won a place in the holy kingdom. Those who hungered to sacrifice themselves because of love, and yearned for martyrdom have been glorified by what the Eastern Church calls “green martyrdom”–martyrdom without the shedding of blood (at least unto death). I have known several such martyrs in the Russian Orthodox Church and they were remarkable, possessing a spiritual power and quality that I saw in no one else. When they prayed, heaven heard and responded. Truly, whatever they asked they received because they only asked according to the highest will of God. May they pray for us all in that imperishable kingdom.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Life or Death Lie Within

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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