The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is the first, the longest, and indisputably the most influential of Jesus’s teaching in the Gospel of Matthew. The story goes like this. Jesus has been teaching and healing the sick throughout Galilee. Seeing large crowds following him, he climbed a mountain to teach them. According to tradition, it was a place on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It’s debated if the author of Matthew placed multiple teachings into a single narrative moment, or if it was originally one sermon. Whatever the case, it contains some of the most renowned of Jesus’s teachings. Beginning with the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek,” the sermon also includes the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule. It teaches to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, “seek first the kingdom of God,” and love your enemies. If that’s not enough, it also includes, “Ask and it will be given to you,” and “Seek and you will find.”
The Sermon on the Mount has had a profound impact. Leo Tolstoy was captivated by the sermon and its nonviolent precepts. It also inspired Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance of British rule in India and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s struggle for civil rights in America. Such is the legacy of a simple story of a sermon, set on a hilltop in Galilee.