Garry cotninued his study of the Beatitudes last night, looking at Matt 5:5 (“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”)

Meekness is not a quality the world values. It is perceived as being the same as weakness. Biblical meekness can look like weakness to the world, but there is a world of difference. Weakness results from impotence, from an inability to act in a given situation, from powerlessness. Meekness, on the other hand, results from choice, from the conscious decision to submit to One whose authority is total and whose love is unending.

Jesus said (Matt 11:28-30) that He wsa gentle (or meek) and humble and urged His disciples to imitate Him. Words can change their meaning over the years (eg ‘let’ in the KJV rendering of 2 Thess 2:7 meant ‘hold back’ or ‘prevent’ rather than the ‘allow’ it means nowadays). Meekness means mildness and gentleness. It’s the word used in Matt 21:5 to describe Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem. He knew what awaited Him there, but entered quietly and determinedly.

In ordinary Greek, the word was used to:
(1) describe a wild stallion that has been tamed, brought under control and rendered fit for service. When God tells us to be meek, He wants us to be harnessed to His service. Meekness is “the opposite of self-will towards God” (Matthew Henry) and allows us to do what the Father wants. Just as a tamed horse does what the rider wants (think of the dressage competitions in the Olympics), so we too need to do what our heavenly Father wants.

(2) reflect on carefully chosen words that soothe strong emotions (see Proverbs 15:1)

(3) describe an ointment that takes out the sting from a wound. Meekness acts as a ‘shock absorber’, drawing out pain from another and refusing to retaliate. It refuses to be stung into action on our behalf.

(4) describe a child who asks a doctor to be ‘meek’, not inflicting harm. It describes strength under control, a calm and purposeful spirit, tact and courtesy.

Isaiah described Jesus’s meekness in the passages on the Suffering Servant (see Is 53:7). Peter – himself tamed by Jesus – talks of submission even to masters who are not kind (1 Pet 2:18-25) as a way of imitating Christ’s submission. In Matt 26:47-54, Jesus refused to allow swords to be drawn when soldiers came to arrest Him. He knew that God’s will would only be achieved through His sacrifice. He could have called down angels to defend Himself, but He chose instead to submit to God’s plan. Moses, called the ‘meekest man’, was tamed through his time in the wilderness so that he could go back to Pharaoh, secure in God’s plan for salvation rather than trusting in his own.

The meek need great courage and great faith, and to such people God promises the earth. Do we not only have the guts to be meek, but also have the faith?