In both the church canon and the apostles’ canon we read how Jesus is trying to help his disciples realize who he really is. To see who he is we must look beyond his form. In verse 37 (of the Gospel of Thomas) the disciples ask him, “When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?” And Jesus said: “When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and and tread on them, then you will see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid.”
In this esoteric language, garments refers to our earthly bodies. Your spirit is like a child, and when you set it free, through enlightenment, you will see the son of man in everyone and in everything and will not be afraid.
Jesus goes further to explain in language similar to the New Testament (Matt. 18:4, Mark 10:15, Luke 18:17) in Thomas verse 46 it states: “whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted with the Kingdom and will be superior to John.”
Throughout the apostles canon Jesus speaks of the kingdom as being something that is accessible in the present moment, with him, and through him. It appears Thomas had found it already, but the others were still grasping for it at this point. So they ask the Lord in verse 51, “When will the new world come?” Christ’s answer is one of the most important secrets revealed in all biblical literature: “What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it.”
The kingdom has come. it is a state of consciousness in which you realize the living presence of God within you and around you, in everything, everywhere, all the time.This is God realization or enlightenment. We are to look within and discover our own nature to realize the kingdom of heaven on earth.
In verse 111 Jesus says, “Whoever finds himself is superior to the world.” Then Jesus explains what the kingdom of heaven or enlightenment is in what I believe to be the most profound pronouncement from any of the world’s great spiritual teachings. In verse 113 the disciples ask Jesus “When will the Kingdom come?” To which Jesus replies:
“It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is.’ Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.”
Those that have eyes let them see “it is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.” Heaven is not beyond the planet Pluto or the big bang, it is right here on earth.The kingdom of heaven is a state of consciousness in which you realize God; it is a state of enlightenment.This is Christ’s teachings on the way to enlightenment and God realization — heaven on earth.
In Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, Elaine Pagels explains the early Christian perspective of salvation as “that the divine light Jesus embodied is shared by humanity, since we are all made ‘in the image of God.’ Thus Thomas expresses what would become a central theme of Jewish — and later Christian — mysticism a thousand years later; that the ‘image of God’ is hidden within everyone, although, most people remain unaware of its presence.”
In other words, Jesus is clarifying that we are the same in consciousness, same in spirit, but not same in physical form. Moreover, we are to seek him within. Jesus is guiding us to self-reflection, contemplation, and meditation; he is helping us to realize the presence of God within us and around us.
Jesus says “It will not come by waiting for it.” It’s not going to come some day; it has come, and it is “spread out before us.” In other words, it’s here and now. The divine presence is present to all those who have the presence of mind to look for it. The more you look, the more you will see; but the looking is within according to Jesus.
~ From: Christ Enlightened: The Lost Teachings of Jesus Unveiled pp 104, by Steven S SadleIr