Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 067
- (65) He said, "There was a good man who owned a vineyard. He leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he might collect the produce from them. He sent his servant so that the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. They seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant went back and told his master. The master said, 'Perhaps he did not recognize them.' He sent another servant. The tenants beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said, 'Perhaps they will show respect to my son.' Because the tenants knew that it was he who was the heir to the vineyard, they seized him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear."
It is easy to see that Jesus is the Son in the story and he was speaking of the Jews. What is important is to see the difference between Matthew's account and Thomas's. I have suggested previously that Thomas was recording hints on how to read the mystery in the scriptures. We expect that Matthew's account is the one Jesus actually said, and Thomas recorded notes to help him remember how to read the scriptures.
Thomas records that there were only two servants and the son, whereas Matthew records there were many servants referring to the prophets, judges, priests and kings of the Old Testament.
The two servants which were 'beaten' were Jesus as well as the Son. The word נכה 'beat' also means lame.
The riddle is "In what two ways was Jesus lame?"
The first is that he was the legitimate king of Israel through the genealogy of Joseph. But he was a 'lame' king. Unable to perform as king in the flesh.
The second is that he was a lame priest. Since he was not of the tribe of Levi he could not be a priest while alive. Only in resurrection could he become a priest like Melchizedek. So while in the flesh, he was a 'lame' priest.
These are the two servants who took the beatings before the crucifixion.