The Sermon on the Mount is considered by many to be Jesus' most well-known message. It was given by him right after he choose his innermost twelve disciples. The words he spoke begin to define more fully, for the first time, the New Covenant (agreement) God offers to all mankind. Unlike the Old Covenant, which offered only physical blessings, the New Covenant makes possible eternal spiritual blessings. Jesus likely choose to give his message from a hill so that as many people as possible could hear what he had to say.
Although the Bible is silent in regard to the exact location of the Sermon on the Mount, it has been historically believed to have been given on Mt. Eremos. This location has been commemorated as the place of the message for more than 1,500 years. It is positioned on Galilee's northwest shore between the cities of Gennesaret and Capernaum. The Mount itself overlooks the plain of Gennesaret, an area known for its fertility. The New Testament records several times that Jesus was in this area, including when he healed the multitudes and faced condemnation from the Pharisees for ritual impurity.
In the 4th century A.D. a Byzantine church structure was placed near the mount. Today, the only things that remain from this building are pieces of a cistern and monastery. During the third Crusade in 1187 A.D., the great military leader Saladin and his Moslem forces completely defeated the crusaders at the sermon on the mount location. This victory compelled him to take the city of Jerusalem in October of the same year. In 1938 A.D. the Roman Catholic Church built a chapel near the famed area.
Jesus gave his well-known message about the basic principles for living life (Matthew 5 - 7, Luke 6:20 - 49). The first part of his message, Matthew 5:3 - 12, is commonly referred to as the Beatitudes. As such, the location where he gave his entire message is sometimes called the Mount of Beatitudes.
The Beatitudes or blessings Jesus pronounced in his sermon include the following (from the book of Matthew, chapter 5).
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
10. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The simple principles and profound truths Jesus discussed in his Sermon on the Mount are the foundation stones of true Christianity.