Leo Tolstoy Archive

The Teaching of Christ Narrated for Children
Chapter 39

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

Leo Tolstoy

After that, Christ came to Jerusalem again, and in the temple he began to speak to people about wrong life of the Pharisees. He said: “Beware of the teaching of scribes, the self-proclaimed teachers. Beware of them, because they took place of the true teachers, prophets. They self-willingly took the power to preach the will of God to people. They only talk, but do not do what they say. They want to be teachers, and for that they try to show off: dress, glorify themselves, yet they don’t do anything. Don't believe them. Know that no one should call himself a teacher. These self-proclaimed Orthodox teachers think they can lead to God by the superficial cremations, oaths, and they don't see that the external means nothing, that everything valuable is in human soul. They do the easiest, outer, but what is necessary and difficult - love, mercy, truth – they leave out. They only want to be superficially in law, and to bring others to the law superficially. And because of that, they are like painted coffins: clean on the outside but stink from the inside. They venerate saints and martyrs superficially, too. But in fact, they are those who tormented and killed the saints. They were before and are now the enemies of all that is kind. All the evil in the world comes from them, because they hide the good, and call evil good. And this should be feared the most, because you know yourself that any error can be corrected, but if people are mistaken in what is good, then this error cannot be corrected. And that is exactly what these self-proclaimed pastors do.

Then Jesus said: “I wanted to unite all people here, in Jerusalem, so that people would live loving each other and serving each other, but these people only know how to kill the teachers of good.”

And Jesus went away from the temple. And Jesus said: “It is true, I say to you, that all this temple and all its decorations, everything, will be destroyed and nothing will be left from it. There is one temple of God, it is the hearts of the people when they love each other.”

And they asked him: “When will be such a temple?” And Jesus said: “It will not be soon. For long time yet people will deceive others using my teaching, and because of that there would be wars and tribulations. And there will be great crime, and there will be lack of love. But when all people will understand the true teaching, there will be the end of evil and temptations.” (Luke 20, 46; Matthew 23, 1-39; Mark 3, 28-29; Matthew 24, 1-14)

1) How did Jesus reprimand the Pharisees?
2) What did he want to do in Jerusalem?
3) What did he say about the temple?
4) What did he say about the time when people will unite in truth?