Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 11

Written: 1908
Source: From RevoltLib.com
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source: RevoltLib.com; 2021

Leo Tolstoy

More and more people went after Jesus and listened to his teaching. And the Pharisees did not like it, and they started to think how to accuse Jesus before people. One Saturday Jesus went with his disciples across a field. The disciples plucked ears of wheat along the road, crushed them with their hands, and ate the grains. And according to the teaching of Jews God established a covenant with Moses so that people should not work on Saturdays at all, but should only pray to God. The Pharisees saw that Jesus' disciples plucked the ears of wheat on Saturday, stopped his disciples, and said to them: “You are not supposed to do that on Saturday. On Saturday you are not allowed to work, but you crush the wheat ears. It is stated in the law that one should be executed to death who works on Saturday.” Jesus heard that and said: “A prophet said that God wants love, not sacrifice. If you would understand these words, you would not accuse my disciples. People are more important than Saturday.” And Pharisees did not know what to respond to those words, and went silent.

On another occasion, Pharisees saw that Jesus came into the house of a tax collector Matthew, and had lunch together with everybody in his household. And those with whom he dined, Pharisees consider infidels . The Pharisees began to accuse Jesus: they told that it is illegal to dine with infidels.

And Jesus said: “I'm teaching the truth to everyone who wants to learn the truth. You consider yourself being righteous and think that you know the truth, and therefore there is nothing else you can be taught. So, it is only possible to teach the infidels. And how will they learn the truth, if we do not get together with them?

Then the Pharisees, not knowing what to answer, began to rebuke the disciples of Jesus for eating bread with unwashed hands. Themselves they strictly followed their instructions on how to wash hands and dishes. And regarding everything from the market, if it was not washed, they did not eat. To these words Jesus said: “You blame us for not following the formalities of ablution when we eat, but what can defile a person is not what enters the human body. What defiles a person is that what comes out of his soul, because what comes out of the human soul are: evil, fornication, murder, theft, greed, malice, deceit, rudeness, envy, slander, pride, and all evil. All evil comes only from human soul, and only evil can defile a person. Let love to brothers be in your soul, and then everything else will be pure. (Matt. 12, 1-8; 9, 9-13; Ll. 7, 1-5, 14-23)

1) What did the Pharisee think about the teaching of Jesus?
2) What were his disciples blamed for at first?
3) What did Jesus answer?
4) What were the disciples blamed for the other time?
5) What did Jesus answer?
6) What were the disciples blamed for the third time?
7) What did Jesus answer?