This is the true book of Thomas the Apostle as spoken unto his scribe regarding those events to which he was witness in his youth. Let none be tempted by some fleeting end to take away from the words of this book. Only a fool would drain an ocean to fill a cup.
And it came to pass that Thomas, in the fullness of age, called unto him Matthew, his servant, saying, “Surely, the time has come when I shall escape this flesh as the locust does its carapace, for it is written, ‘Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return.’ This body is but a part of the whole, an infinitesimal, as the Hindu algebraists have long known.
“You among all men I trust to record my tale faithfully, and a great charge it is, for there must need be accurate record of what I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears, for rampant as vermin in a time of pestilence, falsehoods and factions run in the streets, and the people know not whence to turn lest they be o’ertaken and consumed.
“To you, then, Matthew, I bequeath this trust, that through you the truth shall be known and shall live after me. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear. He who hath neither ears nor eyes, let him build a church. There will be converts enough.
“In the sixteenth year of the reign of the monster Tiberius there came unto Galilee a preacher, Yeshua of Nazareth, and the multitude did follow Him, even so of mine own kindred. I, scornful of their practice, did say, ‘Such is learning in our times. Verily, when an ass doth bray, the people count this wisdom, and as surely, when it doth break wind, the people count this revelation.’
“I am loathe now to admit this saying of mine, but I shall not be as one who, having lighted a lamp, doth claim he could see always.
“As day passed unto day, the preaching of this Yeshua became the very currency of my household, until not one would sneeze but another would repay this act with a parable, which so vexed me that I sought Him out to confront Him.
“And when I did come unto Him, He had a crowd of children round about and was listening unto them.
“And looking not at me, He gestured unto the children and said, ‘Would that all the saints and the prophets had been so wise,’ and I thought it blasphemy and made to speak it so to His face. But He said, ‘I have been expecting ye two.’
“And I looked about, thinking one had come up beside me, but I was alone, and He smiled at my ignorance and said, ‘Art thou not Thomas?’ [Ed. Note: The name T’oma, in Aramaic, means “twin.”]
“How knowest thou my name?” I demanded of Him.
“’How do these feral children know the will of the Most High when their parents are moles that creep about in the earth and count it flying? That is the greater mystery. I have come to learn from them, Thomas. Join us, both of you.’
“I know not why I acceded. His like I had not encountered in all my youth and early manhood, for His eyes were like unto the basilisk’s which fixeth his prey so that it moveth not, yet in them lay a gentleness. . . . I came nigh saying ‘beyond comprehension’ . . . but I must not let these habits of men’s tongues lead me astray, nay, not so far as the nearest pebble from the path. The truth is that I at once understood, for one sees this aspect, betimes, in a mother’s eyes when she doth look upon the infant at her breast. And this was the visage he showed unto Thomas, who would have cursed him as a jackal before the city gates.
“And then he did take by their hands two of the children and led the lot of them, six or seven altogether, to the temple steps. And when we arrived in that place, he sat me down beside Him on the earth so that the children were above and we below, and He questioned them, saying, ‘And which of you is king of the children?’
“And the children laughed and said that they had no king.
“But tell me, in sooth, if you have no king, who tells you what you must do when you run in the streets?
“’You mean the shopkeepers and the merchants and the moneychangers,’ saith the eldest of the children. ‘But we mind them not. We upset their carts and run away laughing.’
“’Even so?’ saith Yeshua. ‘But is this not wickedness?’
“’They are liars and thieves and of such ill humor that they but receive a portion of what they do meet out daily.’
“Even so,’ saith Yeshua, turning unto me His smile.
Copyright 2007. Robert D. Shepherd. All rights reserved.