Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 29

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

Leo Tolstoy

And Jesus added: “You cannot serve two masters at once: God and wealth, the will of the Father and your own volition. It must be one of two: serve one or the other.” And the Pharisees heard that, - and the Pharisees loved the wealth and laughed at these words of Jesus. And Jesus said to them: “You think because people revere you for your wealth, that you are indeed honorable. No, God does not look at what is outside, but He looks at the heart. That what is high before people, an abomination before God. There are not the rich who enter the kingdom of God but the poor.”

Jesus knew that the Pharisees believed that after death some people go to hell, the others - in heaven, and told them this parable about the riches. He said: “There was one man, who was very rich; he showed off every day, dressed in nice dresses, and entertained himself. And at the same place lived a beggar, a man full of sores, named Lazarus. And Lazarus used to come to the rich man’s yard, hoping to get some leftovers from the rich man’s table; but there were not even scraps left for Lazarus, as rich man’s dogs ate everything up, they even licked Lazarus’ sores. And then both men died: Lazarus, and the rich man. And in the hell, the rich man saw Abraham from far away, and saw that Lazarus was sitting with him. So the rich man says: ‘Abraham, father, I don't dare to bother you, but I see Lazarus is sitting next to you, the one that rolled under the fence. Send him to me, let him dip his finger in water and give me to moisten my throat, because I’m burning on fire.’ But Abraham says: ‘For what would I send Lazarus to you in the fire? You had everything you wanted in that world, but Lazarus only saw grief. And I would not mind doing what you ask, but it is impossible. There is no communication between you and us.’ Then the rich man says: ‘If so, then at least, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my home. I have five brothers left, I feel so sorry for them. Let him tell them what wealth causes, so that they would not get in the same torment as I have.’ But Abraham said: ‘They know that by themselves. Moses and all the prophets have told that.’ And the rich man said: ‘Still, it would be better if someone from the dead resurrected and come to them, they'd sooner change their minds.’ But Abraham said: ‘If they didn’t listen to Moses and the prophets, even if the dead is resurrected, they wouldn’t listen.’ (Luke 16: 13-15, 19-31)

1) What did Jesus say?
2) What did Jesus respond to the ridicules of the Pharisees?
3) What is the parable of the rich and Lazarus about?