The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
Matthew ix: 9 to
13; v to viii;
Mark ii: 13 to 17;
Luke v: 27 to 32;
vi: 12 to 49.
Among the Jews there was
one class of men hated and despised by the people
more than any other. That was "the publicans." These
were the men who took from the people the tax which
the Roman rulers had laid upon the land. Many of
these publicans were selfish, grasping, and cruel.
They robbed the people, taking more than was right.
Some of them were honest men, dealing fairly, and
taking no more for the tax than was needful; but
because so many were wicked, all the publicans were
hated alike; and they were called "sinners" by the
One day, when Jesus was going out of Capernaum to
the sea-side, followed by a great crowd of people,
he passed a publican or tax-gatherer, who was seated
at his table taking money from the people who came
to pay their taxes. This man was named Matthew or
Levi, for many Jews had two names. Jesus could look
into the hearts of men, and he saw that Matthew was
one who might help him as one of his disciples. He
looked upon Matthew, and said, "Follow me!"
At once the publican rose up from his table, and
left it to go with Jesus. All the people wondered as
they saw one of the hated publicans among the
disciples, with Peter, and John, and the rest. But
Jesus knew that Matthew would long afterward do a
work that would bless the world forever. It was this
same Matthew the publican, who many years after this
wrote "The Gospel according to Matthew," the book
which tells us so much about Jesus, and more than
any other book gives us the words that Jesus spoke
to the people. Jesus chose Matthew, knowing that he
would write this  book. A little while after
Jesus called him Matthew made a great feast for
Jesus at his house; and to the feast he invited many
publicans, and others whom the Jews called sinners.
The Pharisees saw Jesus sitting among these people,
and they said with scorn to his disciples, "Why does
your Master sit at the table with publicans and
Jesus heard of what these men had said, and he said,
"Those that are well do not need a doctor to cure
them, but those that are sick do need one. I go to
these people because they know that they are sinners
and need to be saved. I came not to call those who
think themselves to be good, but those who wish to
be made better."
One evening Jesus went alone to a mountain not far
from Capernaum. A crowd of people and his disciples
followed him; but Jesus left them all, and went up
to the top of the mountain, where he could be alone.
There he stayed all night, praying to God, his
Father and our Father. In the morning, out of all
his followers, he chose twelve men who should walk
with him, and listen to his words, so that they
might be able to teach others in turn. Some of these
men he had called before; but now he called them
again, and others with them. They were called "The
Twelve," or "the disciples;" and after Jesus went to
heaven they were called "The Apostles," a word which
means "those who were sent out," because Jesus sent
them out to preach the gospel to the world.
The names of the twelve disciples, or apostles were
these: Simon Peter, and his brother Andrew; James
and John, the two sons of Zebedee; Philip of
Bethsaida, and Nathanael, who was also called
Bartholomew, a name which means "the son of Tholmai;"
Thomas, who was also called Didymus, a name which
means "a twin," and Matthew, the publican or
tax-gatherer; another James, the son of Alphaeus,
who was called "James the Less," to keep his name
apart from the first James, the brother of John, and
Lebbeus, who was also called Thaddeus. Lebbeus was
called also Judas, but he was a different man from
another Judas, whose name is always given last. The
eleventh name was another Simon, who was called "the
Cananaen" or "Simon Zelotes;" and the last name was
Judas Iscariot, who was afterward the traitor. We
know very little about most of these men, but some
of them in later days did a great work. Simon Peter
was a leader among them, and John, long after those
times, when he was a very old man, wrote one of the
most wonderful books in all the world, "The Gospel
according to John," the fourth among the gospels.
In the sight of all the people who had come to hear
Jesus, Jesus called these twelve men to stand by his
side. Then, on the mountain, he preached to these
disciples and to the great company of people. Jesus
sat down, the disciples stood beside him, and the
great crowd of people stood in front, while Jesus
spoke. What he said on that day is called "The
Sermon on the Mount." Matthew wrote it down, and you
can read it in his gospel, in the fifth, sixth, and
seventh chapters. Jesus began with these words to
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be
called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil
against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your
reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the
prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have
lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is
thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out,
and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on
a hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a
bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light
unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may
see your good works, and glorify your Father which
is in heaven.
Here are some more of the words of Jesus in this
I say unto you, Do not be anxious for your life what
ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for
your body, what ye shall put on you. Is not the life
more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the birds of the air: for they sow not,
neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet our
heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better
Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit
unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not,
neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his
glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,
which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the
oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we
eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall
we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)
for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need
of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added
Take therefore no anxious thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of
itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
This is what Jesus said about prayer to our heavenly
Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall
find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth: and he that
seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask
bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children, how much more shall your Father
which is in heaven give good things to them that ask
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is
the Law and the Prophets.
And this was the end of the sermon:
Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the
winds blew, and beat upon that house: and it fell
not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish
man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the
winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell:
and great was the fall of it.
Sermon on the Mount