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What Came Before
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; and 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 also called 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.
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The Sermon on the Mount
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 5 – 8
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.
Sermon on the Mount
Copenhagen Church Altar Painting
Jesus Preaching the
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount
with the Healing of the Leper
Cosimo Rosselli, 1481
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 comforted.
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 you 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.
You 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.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp stand; and it gives 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 sermon.
"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. 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 your heavenly Father feeds them. Are ye not much better than they?
"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 today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
"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, and your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
"Take therefore no anxious thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow 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 Father:
"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asks receives: and he that seeks finds: and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
"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 you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him!
Therefore all things whatsoever you 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 hears these sayings of mine, and does 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 hears these sayings of mine, and does 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."
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