Summary: The Kingdom that Jesus is proclaiming is not at all like what the people were anticipating. They were looking for a Messiah to overthrow the Romans and they could not identify with a Messiah who proclaimed, “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit th
“Meekness Is Not Weakness”
“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”
In verse one of Chapter five Jesus begins to set forth what a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is to look like. The listeners to this sermon have come with the expectation that Jesus is the Messiah, but they have also come with their own expectations of what the Messiah will do and what His Kingdom will look like.
The Kingdom that Jesus is proclaiming is not at all like what the people were anticipating. The Messiah’s kingdom was not to be characterized by military strength. In fact His kingdom is not for the arrogant, the proud, the strong and the confident. They were looking for a Messiah to overthrow the Romans and they could not identify with a Messiah who proclaimed, “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” The idea of a meek Messiah leading a group of meek people was far from any of the concepts of the average Jews concerning the Messiah. In fact the people as a whole will reject Jesus for the very reason that He failed to live up to their expectations for the Messiah.
In the Beatitudes He gives the definition of how one becomes a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. With eight statements Jesus set off the characteristics that set apart a Christian from the rest of the World. These are still literally counter-cultural and separate us from the world in which we live. These characteristics point to the fact that we are not Christian because of what we are on the outside but because of what you are on the inside.
We now are in our third message on the Beat-itudes. We can see the logical sequence and progression in the Beatitudes. The first, “Broken in spirit” (5:3) is negative and results in the second, “mourning” (5:4). And now the third, “Meekness” (5:5) is positive and will result in the fourth “seeking righteousness” (5:6). Being poor in spirit causes us to turn away from ourselves in mourning, and meekness causes us to turn toward God in seeking his righteousness. It seems important to note in the Beatitudes “meekness” comes between those who mourn over sin and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
So look with me as we seek the answers to five questions about meekness.
First, What is Meekness?
Our uneasiness about meekness may spring from its meaning in English. The Bible definition of meekness and the dictionary definition of meekness represent two entirely different concepts. The dictionary defines meekness as "deficient in courage," so we think it means to be weak. It is hard to imagine Jesus or anyone else for that matter saying, “Blessed are the weak.” But that is not what He said and that is not the Biblical concept of meekness.
Meekness is not, passive submission, not coward-ice, not indecisiveness, nor is it shyness. The Greek word translated meekness (praus) and is used to describe a soothing medicine, a gentle breeze, colt that has been broken and domesticated and a mild or soft word (Proverbs 15:1). A soothing medicine brings comfort; the wrong medicine can bring death. A gentle breeze cools and soothes; a tornado kills. An unbroken colt is destructive; a broken colt is useful. A soft answer brings calm; an angry answer leads to more anger.
Tied up in the word meek is the concept of power under control, the idea of being submissive to someone greater than ourselves. Perhaps the idea of power under control is best translated by the English word "gentleness."
Meekness is power under control.
Second, What Does Meekness Look Like?
As we have already seen meekness is not weak-ness, it is power under control. Moreover, meekness is power completely surrendered to the will of God.
There are a number of Biblical characters who are described as being meek but who were by no means weak. I will only take the time this morning to name a few.
First I want to look at Abraham. Abraham was living in the pagan city of Ur of the Chaldeans. God said to Abraham, “Abraham, I want you to get up and get out of this city, and go to a land that I'm going to show you.” In Genesis chapter 12, God gave Abraham a tremendous promise. God said, “You're going to have seed like the stars of heaven and the sand of the sea. Abraham, I'm going to give you a land. Abra-ham, out of your heritage I am going to bring forth a nation, of my chosen people.”
In Genesis 13 we are told that Abraham had a nephew named was Lot who went with him. Look at verse seven, “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock.” So there is an argument between Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen over who had the rights to certain pastures. And it would have been normal for Abraham to say, “Look nephew I am the one God made the promises too, You’re just along for the ride.” Abraham could have pulled rank! Abra-ham had the right. He was God's man. But Abraham had the choice.