Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 17

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

Leo Tolstoy

Once Jesus heard people telling that Pilate had killed the Galileans, and also that a tower has collapsed and crushed 18 people. In regards to that, Jesus told people: “What do you think, were those people especially guilty in something? We all know that those people were not worse than then we are. And what happened to them can at any moment happen to us. We all can die today or tomorrow. We cannot avoid death, so we should not treasure our carnal life, because we know that it will end soon anyway. We must preserve what never dies – the life of the spirit. And to that Jesus told this parable. A master had an apple tree in his garden. And the master says to his gardener: ‘I watch it for three years already, but this apple tree is still without fruit. You need to cut it down, because it only needlessly takes place.’ And the gardener says: ‘Wait some more time, master, let me till around it, add manure, and we’ll see it this summer. Maybe it will give fruit. And if it won’t give any fruit this summer, well, then we’ll cut it down.’ It is the same with us. While we live by the flesh alone and do not bring the fruit of the life of the spirit, our master does not chop us down, does not put us to death because he expects from us the fruit – the life of the spirit. And if we won’t bring the fruit, then we won’t escape death. To understand this, do not need any wisdom; each of us knows this himself. Indeed, it is not only about our household matters but also about what happens in the whole wold that we can judge and predict. If wind blows from the west, we say it’s to the rain - and so it happens. And if south wind blows, we say it’ll be heat, and it comes true. Then how come we are able to recognize the weather but we can’t see ahead that we will all die and that we need to treasure not the dying life of flesh but the undying life of the spirit. (Luke 13, 1-9; 12, 54-57)

1) What did Christ tell about Galileans and about death?
2) What was the parable about the apple tree about?
3) What does the parable relate to?
4) We're smart in everything, but what we do not understand?