VI. Ordination of the Twelve
22. The Sermon on the Mount
18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
21And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and John, his brother, in the boat with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
1Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciplesa came to him.b 2And he opened his mouth and taught them saying:
3“Happy are the poor in spiritc [the humble], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
6“Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
5“Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
8“Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
(Mt. 4:18–22; 5:1–3, 6, 5, 8) (continued)
a “his disciples”—Here “disciples” refers to Jesus' twelve chosen apostles. The term “disciple” means student or follower. In the gospels, it is used in two ways: in general it refers to a follower of Jesus, but it is also often used to refer specifically to Jesus' apostles as in Matthew 10:1, “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority...”
b "Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.”—In this context “his disciples” refers to the twelve apostles. (See fn. a, above.)
This verse tells us that Jesus, in order to get away from the crowds, led his apostles up a nearby mountain. Here he imparted special instructions to his chosen followers.
The “Sermon on the Mount” contains much more of Jesus' instruction, and on a wider range of subjects, than any other recorded episode. It may be viewed as a summary statement of Jesus' personal philosophy of living.
Such concentrated teaching would hardly have been comprehensible to the general public, and these words are most fittingly viewed as directed exclusively to Jesus' chosen apostles at the time of their ordination as messengers of the gospel of the kingdom. This is confirmed later in this passage when Jesus describes those who are hearing his words (the apostles) in this way: “You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.” (Mt. 5:13–14; page 29)
c “Happy are the poor in spirit”—This teaching is well illustrated by Jesus' parable of The Pharisee and the Publican (Ch. 99). The Pharisee felt rich in spirit—egotistical, while the publican felt poor in spirit—humble. The publican was approved by God.
Mt. 5:3–8 Happy are (TEV) / Blessed are (RSV)
Mt. 5:3 spirit [the humble], for (AB) / spirit, for (RSV)
Mt. 5:6 are they who (KJV) / are those who (RSV) (140:0,3/1568,70)