Summary: What God has to say to parents in relation to their responsibilities to their children
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
This morning in our study of the Sermon on the Mount we come to consider the third of the Beatitudes – Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
I have already pointed out that what we have in these Beatitudes are not qualities that we are to strive to have in order to become a Christian but rather qualities of character that are the hallmarks of the person who is a Christian.
We have seen that a Christian is someone who has come to the sober realisation that they are spiritually bankrupt before God. They are ‘poor in spirit’. That is they recognise that they have nothing in and of themselves to commend themselves to God or to earn God’s favour and forgiveness. If forgiveness and salvation could be purchased they know that they haven’t so much as a single penny that they can offer in order to obtain it.
Consequently the realisation of ones spiritual bankruptcy leads to spiritual mourning, a spiritual mourning that leads to personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who is recognised accepted as the only way of forgiveness and salvation. This spiritual mourning which is characteristic of every true Christian, being a pre-requisite to entrance into the kingdom of God, is something which like the poverty of spirit which precedes it, remains in them and is characteristic of them after they become members of God’s Kingdom. These are marks of kingdom life. Marks of a life which is under the rule of and willingly submissive to the Kingship of Christ.
Having spoken about poverty of spirit and spiritual mourning the Lord then moves on to identify a third distinguishing mark of someone who belongs to God’s kingdom; a third hallmark of a genuine Christian, such a person will possess and will manifest a spirit of “meekness” – “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”
Now as we look at this beatitude this morning we need to realise that like the other two personal qualities that Jesus has already mentioned, the commendation of this third characteristic, meekness, would have raised a few eyebrows, especially so in view of the blessing he associates with it – “blessed are the meek for they (emphasis) shall inherit the earth” You have to remember that the Jews at this time were very earthly minded in their concepts of the Kingdom of God thinking that the coming of the Kingdom would involve the overthrow off all their enemies, particularly the Romans and that the fruit of such a great victory over their enemies would be their regaining of their political autonomy once again and possession not only of their own land, but also in time, possession of the whole world which would be brought under their rule as a result of the conquering exploits of their great Messiah. They saw the kingdom in political and material terms. Now in order to inherit the earth, the last thing quality that one would have thought was necessary was meekness. How could one overthrow the Roman government and Roman army by a spirit of meekness? What was needed was aggressiveness. What was needed was brute force and strength. What was needed was ruthlessness. So when Jesus said that the ‘MEEK shall inherit the earth’ this would have sounded very strange, it would have sounded foolish, to those who were listening to him.
And of course, like the people of Jesus’ day, the world today cannot understand how meekness can be an asset and how anyone could extol it as a virtue, a character trait that ought to be coveted. How many points do you think an interviewing panel would give to the man on whose C.V. meekness was stated as one of his personal qualities or whose referee described him as a very meek person. Not too many I am sure. The world doesn’t see meekness as a valuable character trait, a valuable asset. Quite the opposite in fact. In the dog eat dog, every man for himself atmosphere of modern business, especially in the realm of company product promotion and sales it is not meekness that employers are looking for it is the aggressive, pushy, the go getter type of person that they are wanting to employ and who ends up getting on well in such firms.
When was the last time you heard anyone at a careers talk saying “right now folks, if you want to get on well in life, you have got to be meek.” “If you want to climb to the top of the ladder in this field or that field of employment, then you will have to be meek.”
Once again the Lord shatters the conventional of wisdom both of His day and ours with this third beatitude when he says ‘blessed are the MEEK for they shall inherit the earth.’