Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 27

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

Leo Tolstoy

Once Jesus’ mother and brothers came and they could not come close to Jesus because there was a lot of people around him. And one person saw them, came to Jesus and said: “Your family, your mother and brothers, are standing outside, wanting to see you.” And Jesus said: “My mother and my brothers are those who know the will of the Father and follow it. For every human being, the will of our Father, God, should be more important than the father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and all of the property, and the fleshly life. Because, in worldly matters, every reasonable person, when he starts anything, will count whether it is profitable what he does, and if it is profitable, he does it, and if unprofitable – drops. If someone wants to build a house, then, before starting, he will sit and consider how much money is required, how much he has, and whether it’ll be enough to finish, so that he wouldn’t begin building something that he cannot finish and would only waste both efforts and time. And every king, if he wants to go to war, first will think if he can, with 10 000, go to war against 20 000. If he finds out that he cannot, then he will send ambassadors and make peace, and will not fight anymore. In the same way, every person needs to understand that everything he considers to be his own: family, and property, and his life itself, today-tomorrow will be taken away from him. And that the only thing that is his own and can never be taken away from him is the life of his spirit, and so he can only able and must care about the life of his spirit.”

And, having heard that, one man said: “It’s good if there is the life of spirit. But what if we’ll give away everything, but there is no such life.”

To that, Jesus said: “Everyone knows that the life of spirit exists and it is the only one that never dies. You all know this, but you don't do that what you know, - not because you doubt, but because you get distracted from the true life by the false cares.”

And he said this parable about that. “A master has prepared lunch and sent his workers to call guests, but the guests began to refuse. One said: ‘I bought land, need to go see it.’ Another said: ‘I bought bulls, need to plow.’ The third said: ‘I got married, will I have a wedding.’ And the workers came back and told the master that no one comes. The master then sent to call homeless. The homeless have not refused and came, and feasted on the luncheon. The same is with people. People recognize their life of spirit only when they have no cares of the flesh.” (Luke 8, 19-21; Matthew 12, 46-50, Luke 14, 26-33, 15-24)

1) What did Jesus say, when his mother and brothers came to him?
2) What is more important – the live of the body or the life of the spirit?
3) What did one person say about the life of the spirit, and what did Jesus answer?
4) What distracts from the spiritual life?
5) What is the parable about the feast?