Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 2

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

Leo Tolstoy

Jesus was born from Maria, wife of Joseph. Until the age of 30, Jesus lived in Nazareth with his mother, father, and brothers, and, when he grew up, he helped his father with his carpentry work. When Jesus was 30, he heard that people went to listen to the sermons of a holy hermit. The hermit’s name was John. And Jesus went with people into the desert to listen to the preaching of John. John told that a time has come for the kingdom of God, a time when all people will understand that they are all equal, that there is no one higher or lower, and that everyone should live in love and harmony with one another. He said that this time is close, but it will really come only when people will stop doing untruth. When ordinary people asked John: ‘What should I do?’ - He told that the one who has two pieces of clothing, should give one to a beggar; and the one who has food should share it with those who have not. To rich people John told to stop robbing others. To soldiers he told no to mug, be satisfied with what they receive, and not to curse. To the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees he told to change their lives and repent. – ‘Do not think,’ - he told them, - ‘that you are special people. Change your life, and change so that it would be visible by your acts that you have changed. And if you won’t change, then you won’t escape that what happens with a fruit tree when it brings no fruit. If a tree does not bring fruits, it is cut down for firewood; the same will be done to you, if you won’t do good deeds. If you do not change your life, you all will perish.’

John persuaded all people to be merciful, just, and humble. And those who promised to correct their life, John, as a sign of the change in their lives, bathed in the Jordan River. And when he bathed them, he told: - ‘I cleanse you with water, but to completely cleanse you only the spirit of God in yourselves is able. And the John’s words that people should change their lives for the kingdom of God to come, and that people can be cleansed only by the spirit of God, these words have sunk down in the heart of Jesus. And in order to ponder on what he has heard from John, Jesus has not returned home, but stayed in the desert. And so he lived many days, thinking about what he had heard from John. (Matthew. 1, 18; Luke 2, 51; 3, 23; Matthew 3, 1-13; Luke. 3, 3-14; Matthew 4, 1-2)

1) Where and in what family Jesus was born?
2) What did John preach to the people, to the rich, to the soldiers, to the Pharisees, and to the Sadducees?
3) How Jesus listened to the sermon of John and what words has touched his soul?
4) Where did he go after he heard John?