A review of a passage from the Secret Book of James
Jesus , in response to a statement by James asking Jesus to not speak of death and the cross to them (the disciples), is quoted in the Secret Book of James (one of many documents kept out of the New Testament), as saying:
“Truly I say unto you, none will be saved unless they believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my cross, theirs is the Kingdom of God. Therefore, become seekers for death, just as the dead who seek for life, for that which they seek is revealed to them. And what is there to concern them? When you turn yourselves towards death, it will make known to you election. In truth I say to you, none of those who are afraid of death will be saved. For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who have put themselves to death. Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit.”
At several points in this statement, Jesus speaks of death. He tells the disciples to become “seekers of death”. He tells them what will happen when they turn themselves toward death. He also states that none who are afraid of death will be saved. Finally, he tells the disciples that the Kingdom of God belongs to those, “who have put themselves to death.” So, is Jesus advocating killing one’s self? Is he pushing suicide?
No. In my mind, Jesus is advocating the death of the self, the death of the Ego. He is stating that in order to reach the kingdom, one must put one’s self, that is the concept of one’s self, one’s accepted identity of who one is, to death. Unless the self, the ego, that which is of this world, is overcome, allowing for Spirit to take over and guide one’s actions, the kingdom of God, the Spiritual Realm, is not available.
Additionally, it appears that Jesus may be pointing to his death on the cross as an example of the death of the self. He tells the disciples that if one believes in his cross (in his death) then the kingdom of God is theirs. He follows that by telling the disciples to become seekers of death. And that like the dead who seek life, those that seek death will have all revealed to them. This statement is made right after reference to the cross. Not later on and not as an afterthought. It appears that Jesus is saying that those who seek death like he did, to them all will be revealed. And he ends his answer to James, after stating that only those who put themselves to death will see the kingdom of God, by saying, “Become better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit.” Here it appears that Jesus is telling his disciples to do like he did, die on the cross (kill the self) so that each of them (and us) can be like he is.