Today, we look at the third Beatitude, found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5–7. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” Have you ever known someone you would consider “meek”? Do they inspire you to emulate them? Or, do you think they’re weak? Do you ever think of them as blessed? What did Jesus mean when He talked about meekness? Why does He say they’re blessed?
Blessed are the Meek
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Jesus says that we will have God’s approval when we are meek. The word meek is the Greek word praus. It conveys the idea of gentleness or being soft. It suggests humility because we realize who we are in relation to God. Well-known author, John Stott summarized and quoted Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones this way:
I believe Dr. Lloyd-Jones is right to emphasize that this meekness denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves. He points out that it is comparatively easy to be honest with ourselves before God and acknowledge ourselves to be sinners in his sight.
…The man who is truly meek is the one who is truly amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do.” This makes him gentle, humble, sensitive, patient in all his dealings with others. (Christian Counter-Culture—The Message of the Sermon on the Mount Pg. 43)
But meekness should not be equated with weakness. In the Greek world, at Jesus time, this word was associated with horses. Horses are large, powerful animals. However, the power of a horse can be tamed. The horse can be broken so that it is under the control of its master. This is the meekness that Jesus is talking about. Meekness is power under control. It refers to a person who realizes who they are in relation to God. They don’t push their own agenda but pursue the will of their Master.
For those of us who are in Christ Jesus, we don’t do what we want, but what Christ wants. We don’t worry about what the world thinks, but what our Savior thinks. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 KJV).
Christ is Our Model
In his sermon called Majestic Meekness, Steve Lawson points out that, “The model of meekness is Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is the one we emulate. He is God, who created the universe, and yet He humbled Himself. He took the form of a servant (a better translation would be “slave”) and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus told His disciples that He didn’t come to earth to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Jesus is the ultimate example of power under control. He could have called down legions of angels to help him during His trial and crucifixion (Matthew 26:53), but He proclaimed that He came to do the Father’s will and to fulfill the purpose for which He came (John 17).
He calls us to be like Him, who knew no sin but took our sin upon Himself. Because of this we, along with Paul, endure afflictions and hardships, calamities, and all other types of trials with patience and kindness by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:21 & 6:1-9). That is what it means to be meek.
We Inherit the Earth
For those of us who have been found in Christ (Philippians 3:9), who realize we are poor in spirit, who are mourners of sin, and who are meek, we are blessed for we shall inherit the earth. When Christ is our all in all, we possess full assurance that His presence is with us wherever we go. We aren’t new owners with titles for the entire earth, but we have Christ’s spiritual blessings that remain with us always.
Besides this, He guarantees our future inheritance that we will enjoy forever in the fullness of God’s presence. D.A. Carson describes our inheritance this way:
Moreover, one day he [the Christian] will come into the fullness of his inheritance when he will find the beatitude fulfilled most literally. Fifty billion trillion years into eternity (if I may speak in terms of time) God’s people will still be rejoicing that this beatitude is literally true. In a new heaven and earth, they will be grateful that by grace they learned to be meek during their initial threescore years and ten. (Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—And His Confrontation with the World, Carson, pg. 22)
What an encouragement to think that we will share the earth with our Lord and be satisfied in His presence for eternity. Let us follow after Him in His meekness, for then we will be truly blessed.