THE TWELVE DISCIPLES AND THE 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.
MONG 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 people.
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!"
JESUS CALLS MATTHEW
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
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 his disciples:
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 earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
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 heaven.
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
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 little
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
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
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.