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Winning the Prize of Life

Prize of LifeA Commentary on the Gospel of Thomas

Jesus said, Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life. (Gospel of Thomas 58)

Considering how consistently esoteric the viewpoint of the Gospel of Thomas is, I feel we can be assured that this is not an extension of the “suffering purifies and ennobles” cliché and the virtual obsession of conservative exoteric Christianity that exalts misery and death.

Certainly Jesus spoke of taking up the cross in the form of denying our lower self and passing from the illusory life that is really death into the true life that the deluded consider death (Matthew 16:24). There is no doubt that this involves pain to the ego and to that part of us that must be purified from ego and its errant ways. So suffering is indeed part of seeking and finding life. This Jesus implies by saying that those who mourn and hunger and thirst are blessed (Matthew 5:4, 6).

Personally I consider that struggle is meant here instead of ordinary suffering. Patterson and Maeyer perhaps agree with me, because they render it:

“Jesus said, Congratulations to the person who has toiled and has found life.”

For it does indeed involve labor to first divest ourselves of what hinders us and then put on that which will enable us to

“run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

“Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” (I Timothy 6:12).

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