"No one is to copy this book...we consider that it deserves to be consigned to the fire," said the Nicene Council of 787. Much of this book survives in several languages and is dated by scholars as early as the fourth century.
The Acts of John
(a partial reprint of the whole)
Jesus revealed the mystery of the cross:
"One ready man must hear what I have to say, John.... For your sakes I sometimes call this mysterious Cross of Light by various names, among them, the Logos, the Son, the Father, the Spirit, Jesus, the Christ, the Mind, the Door, the Way, the Bread, the Seed, the Resurrection, the Faith, and Grace. All these are part of the mystery, but given names for the sake of mankind.
But the true identity of the Cross of Light, as it is known to itself and spoken to us, is the discernment of the nature of all things, the strengthening bulwark of stability from instability, and the harmonious application of wisdom, being wisdom in harmony. For unstable and transient things proceed from other convenient entities, such as principalities, powers, authorities, and demons with the accompanying demonic activities, the like of threats, inflamed passions, and devilish intentions.
All these sprout from the inferior root of Satan and his nature.
This cross has united all things through the Logos, then dispatched that which is unstable and inferior. But I do not speak of the cross made of wood that you will see when you descend from here; nor am I that man you see on the cross, I who you can hear but not see. I was recognized for what I am not. That which I was recognized for was the subject of mean insults, the likes of them I did not deserve. I am the Lord of this place, and as my place of rest is not seen nor rightly spoken of, all the more will I not be seen or rightly spoken of.
Since the crowd around the cross is not united, then we perceive its inferior nature. Those who you saw on the cross are not united in him, for they had not yet been gathered together.
When human nature is humbled and the masses come to me and obey me, the one who hears me will be united with me. That one will be changed, and become superior to the rest even as I am now superior.
For as long as you do not say that you belong to me, I am not what I am. If you listen to me, you will be like me, and I will be what I was, and we will be united - from me you become what I am!
So ignore what the rest say, and despise the talk of those outside the mystery. Know only that I am with the Father entirely, and he is with me.
They will say I have suffered grievously, but I have not suffered at all. What you and the others perceived as suffering is to be called a mystery that has been revealed to you in my dance. For I have shown you that which you are; but what I am is known only to me. Allow me to be what I am and let me have that which is mine. What is yours you must see through me. Now you must see me not as I appear to your natural mind, but rather through your knowledge as my brother.
You have heard that I did suffer, but I did not. You heard that I did not suffer, yet I did. You have heard that I was pierced, yet I was not wounded; that I was hanged, yet I wasn't; that my blood flowed, yet it didn't. Those things that they say that I endured, I did not. But those things that they did not say I endured. I did!
Now I will show you the mystery of what I really suffered, for I know that you will understand. Know me, then, as the torment of the Logos, the piercing of the Logos, the blood of the Logos, the wounding of the Logos, the nailing of the Logos, and the death of the Logos. I have thus discarded my manhood. In order to fully know the Deity, you must first know the Logos. Finally, know the man, and what he has suffered."