Jesus said: “People think, perhaps, that I have come to throw peace upon the world. They don’t know that I have come to throw disagreement upon this world, and fire, and sword and struggle. ” (The Gospel of Thomas, 16a)
Isn’t this a perfect example of the difference between a direct and an indirect teaching ? I am fascinated by Jesus the teacher, and the fiery acuteness of his message. There is no doubt of what he is talking about. Think of the gentle words and mild manners of modern day’s prophets. Teachers go with their time and perhaps also with the readiness of their audience to really listen to this message, be receptive, take it in and let the seed grow. Did any of Jesus’ disciples get it ? How much clearer, immediate and more direct can anyone speak of what is true, than the Prince of Peace.
So what does he say: Follow me, look at me, trust me. Open your heart, let nothing of this world trouble you – and find the kingdom of heaven in you, the peace that is not of this world but is this world. And then, in his direct teachings, he is so clear, so immediate, relentlessly revealing that this peace requires a questioning of everything we believe to be true (disagreement), a complete transformation (fire), by the sword (cutting through the illusion of duality, standing for protection and destruction) and the personal choices of non-comformity that have to be taken every day to live by what is true.