Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 36

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

Leo Tolstoy

And once Jesus asked his disciples: “Tell me, how people understand my teaching?” And they said: “Some think that you teach the same as John taught; others say that you teach the same as Isaiah taught; still others say that your teaching is like the teaching of Jeremiah, and that you are the prophet.” “Well,” Jesus said, “and how do you understand my teaching?” And Simon Peter said to him: “I think you teach that the spirit of God dwells in every human being, and that therefore every man is the son of God.” And Jesus said to him: “Happy you are, Simon, that you understood it. A human could not open that to you, but you understood it because God lives in you. It is not I, by my own words, who opened it to you, but God, my father, has opened it to you directly.”

And at that time Jesus said to his disciples that in Jerusalem he will not be able to escape attacks and insults from people who do not believe in his teaching, yet that even if they kill him, they will only kill his body, but they won’t kill the spirit of God, which lives in him. Having heard these words, Peter got sad, took Jesus’s hands, and said to him: "Do not go to Jerusalem.” Jesus said: “Don’t not say that. If you are afraid for me of the tortures and death, it means that you're not thinking about what is of God, but think about what is human’s. In this life, people have to suffer if they live for the kingdom of God, because the world loves their own, and hate godly ones. It has always been that way, that the worldly people tortured those who performed the will of the Father.”

And, having called people with students, Jesus said: “He who wants to live according to my teaching, let he abandon his carnal life, and let he be ready for any sufferings, because he who is afraid for his physical life, he would ruin the true life, and who will give his carnal life, he will save the true one. And he who wants to fulfill my teaching, let he do it not in words but in deeds.”

And to that he told this parable. “A man had two sons, and the father said to the first son: ‘Go work in my garden,’ but the son said: ‘I don't want to, but after, having repented, went.’ And then the father came to the second son and said the same. And the second son said: ‘Coming now,’ but did not go. Which one of them have fulfilled the will of the Father?” And the disciples answered: “The first one.” And Jesus said: “So and I say unto you, that debauchers and harlots will more likely enter the kingdom of God than those who talk but do not do. (Matthew 16, 13-17, 21-25; 21, 28-31)

1) What did Jesus say about what would happen to those who would fulfill his teaching?
2) What will happen with these people?
3) What did Peter say to him?
4) What did Jesus answer?
5) What parable did he tell?