The true food of everlasting life is the fulfillment Of the Father's will.
Give Us Our Daily Bread
After that the Jews wished to condemn Jesus to death, and he went away into Galilee and lived with his relations.
The Jewish feast of tabernacles was come, and the brothers of Jesus prepared to go to the feast, and called him to go with them. They did not believe in his teaching and said to him: You say that the Jewish service of God is wrong and that you know the real way to serve God by deeds. If you really think that no one but you knows how to serve God come with us to the feast. Many people will be there and you can declare before them all that the teaching of Moses is wrong. If they all believe you, then your pupils also will see that you are right. Why hide yourself? You say that our service is wrong, and that you know the true service of God: well then, show it to everybody.
And Jesus said: You have a special time and place in which to serve God, but for me there is none. I work for God everywhere and always. That is just what I show to people. I show them that their service of God is wrong and that is why they hate me. Go you to the feast, and I will go when I am ready. And his brothers went, but he remained behind, and only went up at the middle of the feast.
The Jews were shocked that he did not honor their feast and delayed coming to it, and they disputed about his teaching. Some said that he was right, while others said that he only disturbed the people.
In the middle of the feast Jesus went into the Temple and began to teach the people that their service of God was wrong, and that God should be served not in a temple and by sacrifices, but in the spirit and by deeds.
They all listened to him and wondered that he, an unlearned man, should have such wisdom. And Jesus, knowing that all wondered at his wisdom, said to them: My teaching is not my own, but His that sent me. If any man wishes to do the will of the spirit that sent us into life, he will know that I have not invented this teaching but that it is of God. For a man who invents from himself follows his own imagination, but he who seeks to know the mind of Him that sent him is true and there is no falsehood in him.
Your law of Moses is not the Father's law, and so those who follow it do not fulfill the Father's law, but do evil and tell falsehoods. I teach you the fulfillment of the will of the Father alone. In my teaching there can be no contradictions, but your written Mosaic law is full of contradictions. Do not judge by externals, but by the spirit. And some said: They said he was a false prophet, but he condemns the law and no one says anything to him. Perhaps he is really a true prophet and even the rulers have recognized him. But there is one reason for not believing him: it is written that when God's messenger shall come no one will know whence he came, but we know where this man was born and we know his whole family.
The people still did not understand his teaching, and still sought proofs.
Then Jesus said to them: You know me, and where I came from in the body, but you do not know where I come from in the spirit. You do not know Him from whom I come in spirit, and that is the one thing it is necessary to know. If I had said: 'I am the Christ', you would have believed me, the man, but you would not have believed the Father who is in me and in you. You should believe in the Father only.
For the short space of my life I point out to you the path to that source of life from which I have come. But you ask of me proofs, and wish to condemn me. If you do not know that path, then when I am no longer here you will not be able to find it. You should not judge me but should follow me. He who does what I say will know whether what I say is true. He for whom the life of the flesh has not become merely food for the spirit, he who does not seek truth as a thirsty man seeks for water, cannot understand me. He who thirsts for truth, let him come to me and drink. And he who believes my teaching will obtain true life. He will receive the life of the spirit.
And many believed his teaching and said: What he says is true, and is of God. Others did not understand him, and were always seeking in the prophecies for proofs that he was sent from God. And many disputed with him but no one was able to controvert him. The Orthodox teachers of the law sent their assistants to contend with him, but these assistants returned to them and said: We can do nothing with him.
And the chief priest said: How is it you have not convicted him? They replied: No one ever spoke as he does.
Then the Orthodox said: It signifies nothing that you cannot refute him and that the people believe his teaching. We do not believe it and none of the rulers believe it. The people are accursed, they always were stupid and ignorant, and will believe anyone.
But Nicodemus, to whom Jesus had explained his teaching, said to the chief priests: A man should not be condemned without being heard, and without understanding what he teaches.
But they said to him: There is nothing to hear or to understand. We know that no prophet can come from Galilee.
Another time Jesus spoke to the Orthodox and said: There can be no proof of the truth of my teaching, just as you cannot have an illumination of light. My teaching is the real light by which people see what is good and what is bad, and so it is impossible to prove my teaching; everything else is proved by it. He who follows me will not be in darkness but will have life. Life and enlightenment are one and the same.
But the Orthodox said: It is only you who say this.
And he replied: If I alone say it, still I am right, for I know whence I come and whither I go. In my teaching life has a meaning, but according to yours it has none. Besides, not I alone teach this, but my Father, the spirit, teaches it too.
They said: Where is your Father?
He replied: You do not understand my teaching or you would know my Father. You do not know whence you are nor whither you go. I show you the way, but instead of following me you discuss who I am; and so you cannot reach that salvation and life to which I wish to lead you. And you will perish if you remain in this error and do not follow me.
The Jews asked: Who are you?
He said: I told you when I first began to teach: I am the son of man, acknowledging the spirit as my Father, and what I have understood from him I tell to the world. When you exalt the son of man in yourselves you will know what I am, because I do and speak not of myself as a man, but what the Father has taught me. He who sent me is always in me and will not leave me, for I do His will. He who keeps to my understanding of life and fulfills the will of the Father will be truly taught by me. To know the truth you must do good to men. He who does harm to men loves the darkness and goes towards it; he who does good to men goes to the light. So to understand my teaching you must do good. He who does good will know the truth; he will be free from evil, from death. For everyone who errs becomes the slave of his error.
And as a slave does not always live in his master's house while the master's son does, so a man if he errs in life and becomes the slave of his errors does not live always, but dies. Only he who is in the truth remains always living. To know truth is to be a son and not a slave. If you err, you will be slaves and will die: but if you are in the truth you will be free sons and will live. You say of yourselves that you are sons of Abraham, and that you know the truth. Yet you wish to kill me because you do not understand my teaching. And it comes to this, that I speak what I have understood from my Father while you wish to do what you have understood from your father.
They said: Our father is Abraham.
Jesus said to them: If you were the sons of Abraham you would do his deeds. But you wish to kill me because I have told you what I have learnt from God. Abraham did not act like that. You do not serve God, but serve another father. They said to him: We are not bastards, we are all sons of one Father, we are all God's children.
And Jesus said to them: If your father were one with me you would love me, for I came forth from the Father; I was not born of myself. You are not children of one Father with me, so you do not understand my words and my understanding of life finds no place in you. If I am of the Father and you are of the same Father, then you cannot wish to kill me. If you wish to kill me, we are not of the same Father.
I am from the Father of goodness, God: but you are from the father of evil, the devil. You wish to do the lusts of your father who always was a murderer and a liar with no truth in him. If he, the devil, says anything, he says not what is common to all, but what is his own, and he is the father of lies. So you are servants of the devil and are his children.
You see how plainly you are convicted of error. If I err, convict me; but if there is no error in me why do you not believe me.
And the Jews began to revile him and to say that he was possessed. He said: I am not possessed. I honor thy Father, and you wish to kill me, which shows that you are not my brothers but sons of another father. It is not I who affirm that I am right, but the truth that speaks for me. And so I repeat to you: he who comprehends my teaching and performs it shall not see death.
And the Jews said: Now, were we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a devil? You convict yourself!
The prophets died, so did Abraham, yet you say that he who fulfills your teaching shall not see death. Abraham died, and will you not die? Or are you greater than Abraham?
The Jews discussed what he-Jesus of Galilee-was, whether he was an important or an unimportant prophet, and forgot that he had told them that he said nothing of himself as a man but spoke of the spirit that was within him.
And Jesus said: I do not make myself out to be anything. If I spoke of myself, of what I imagine, then all I might say would be of no importance. But there is that source of all things which you call God. It is of that I speak. You have not known, and do not know, the true God. But I know Him and if I said I do not know Him I should be a liar like you. I know Him and know and fulfill His will. Your father Abraham saw and rejoiced at what I understand.
The Jews said: You are not yet thirty: how could you be alive in Abraham's day? He replied: Before Abraham existed there was the understanding of good that I tell you of.
Then the Jews picked up stones to throw at him, but he escaped. And on the road, Jesus saw a man who had no understanding from the time of his birth.
And his pupils asked him: Who is at fault that this man is without understanding since his birth? He, or his parents for not having taught him?
And Jesus replied: Neither his parents nor lie are at fault. It is God's doing, that there may be light where there was darkness. If I have a teaching, it is the light of the world.
And Jesus explained to the ignorant man that he was a son of God in the spirit, and on receiving this teaching the ignorant man was conscious of light. Those who had known him previously did not recognize him. Though resembling what he had been, he had now become another man. But he said: I am he, and Jesus has shown me that I am a son of God, and the light has reached me, so that now I see what I used not to see.
This man was taken to the Orthodox teachers; and it was on a Saturday. The Orthodox asked him how he had come to understand what he had not seen before.
He said: I do not know how; I only know that now I understand everything. They said: You do not understand in a godly way, for Jesus did this on a Saturday, and besides, a layman cannot enlighten people. And they began to dispute, and asked of the man who had been enlightened: What do you think of Jesus?
He said: I think he is a prophet.
But the Jews did not believe that he had been ignorant and was now enlightened, so they called his parents and asked them: Is this your son, who has been ignorant since his birth? How is it he has now become enlightened? His parents said: We know that he is our son and that he was ignorant from his birth, but how he has become enlightened we do not know. He is of age, you should ask him.
The Orthodox called the man a second time, and said: Pray to our God, the real God. The man who enlightened you is a layman, and is not sent by God. We are sure of that.
And the man who had been enlightened said: Whether he is from God or not I do not know. But I know that I used not to see the light and that I see it now. The Orthodox again asked: What did he do to you when he enlightened you? He replied: I have told you already, but you do not believe. If you wish to be his pupils I will tell you again.
They began to revile him and said: You are his pupil, but we are the pupils of Moses. God Himself spoke to Moses, but we do not even know whence this man is. And the man answered: It is strange that he has enlightened me and yet you do not know whence he is. God does not hear sinners but hears those who honor Him and do His will. It can never be that one who is not from God could enlighten an ignorant man. If he were not from God he could do nothing.
The Orthodox were angry at this, and said: You are altogether sunk in delusions and yet you want to teach us. And they drove him away. And Jesus said: My teaching is an awakening to life. He who believes in my teaching, though he die in the flesh, remains living, and everyone who lives and believes in me will not die.
And yet a third time Jesus taught the people. He said: Men accept my teaching not because I myself prove it. It is impossible to prove the truth. The truth itself proves all else. But men accept my teaching because there is no other that is native to them and promises life.
My teaching is to men like the familiar voice of the shepherd to the sheep, when he comes to them through the door and gathers them to lead them to pasture. No one believes your teaching, for it is foreign to them, and they see your own lusts in it. Men feel with you as sheep do at the sight of someone who does not enter by the door but climbs over the fence: the sheep do not know him, and feel that he is a robber. My teaching is the one true teaching, like the one door for the sheep. All your teachings of the law of Moses are false, as thieves and robbers are to the sheep. He who yields to my teaching will find true life-just as the sheep go forth and find food if they follow the shepherd. A thief only comes to steal, rob, and destroy...but the shepherd comes to give life. And my teaching alone promises to give true life.
There are shepherds for whom the sheep are their life and who are ready to give their life for the sheep. These are the true shepherds. But there are hirelings
who care nothing for the sheep, because they are hirelings and the sheep are not theirs. If a wolf comes they abandon the sheep and run away, and the wolf devours them. They are false shepherds. So also there are false teachers who care nothing for the life of people, but true teachers give up their lives for the life of men.
I am such a teacher. My teaching is this-to give up one's life for the life of men. No one will take my life from me, but I myself freely give it up for men to receive true life. That commandment I have received from my Father. As my Father knows me so also I know Him, and therefore I lay down my life for men. And my Father loves me because I fulfill His commandment.
And all men, not only those here and now, but all men, shall understand my voice; and they will all come together in me and all men shall be one and their teaching one.
And the Jews surrounded him and said: What you say is hard to understand and does not agree with our scriptures. Do not torment us, but tell us simply and plainly whether you are the Messiah, who according to our scriptures should come into the world.
Jesus answered them: I have already told you who I am, but you do not believe. If you do not believe my words then believe my works; by them you can understand who I am and for what I have come.
You do not believe because you do not follow me. He who follows me and does what I say will understand me. And those who understand my teaching and fulfill it, receive true life. My Father has united them with me, and no one can disunite us. I and the Father are one.
And the Jews were offended at this and took up stones to kill him. But he said to them: I have shown you many good works and have disclosed the teaching of my Father. For which of these good works do you wish to stone me? They said: Not for your good works do We wish to stone you, but because you, a man, make yourself God.
And Jesus replied to them: The same is written in your scriptures where it is said that God Himself said to the wicked rulers: 'Ye are Gods.' If He called even wicked men Gods, why do you consider it blasphemous to call what God in his love has sent into the world, 'the son of God"' Every man in the spirit is a son of', God. If I do not live in God's way, then do not believe that I am a son of God. But if I live after God's way then believe by my life that I am with the Father, and understand that the Father is in me and I in Him.
And the Jews began to dispute. Some said that he was possessed and others said: A man who is possessed cannot enlighten men.
And they did not know what to do with him and could not condemn him. And he again went beyond the Jordan and stayed there.
And many believed in his teaching and said that it was true as the teaching of John was. Therefore many believed in it.
And Jesus once asked his pupils: Tell me, how do people understand my teaching about the son of God and the son of man?
They said: Some understand it like the teaching of John: others like the prophecies of Isaiah: others again say it is like the teaching of Jeremiah. They understand that you are a prophet.
And he asked them: But how do you understand my teaching?
And Simon Peter said to him: I think your teaching is that you are the chosen son of the God of life. You teach that God is the life within man.
And Jesus said to him: Happy are you, Simon, that you have understood this. No man could disclose it to you: you have understood it because the divine spirit in you has disclosed it to you. Not human understanding and not I by my words have disclosed it to you, but God, my Father, has disclosed it to you directly. And on this is founded the society of men for whom there is no death.
- Full name: Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
- Russian novelist and philosopher
- Born September 9th, 1828 and died November 20th, 1910
- Best known for War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877)