Summary: An 8 week series on the characteristics every Christian is called to possess as citizens of God’s kingdom.
January 22, 2006
Blessed are the Meek
Note: When’s the last time you heard someone say, “If you want to succeed in life, try being meek?” Or, “If you want to rise to the top and get somewhere in life, display meekness along the way?” Unfortunately, meekness isn’t a valued quality in our day. The world’s philosophy of success says be assertive / aggressive and go for the throat! Do whatever is necessary to come out ahead, but that isn’t what Jesus said.
Trans: We’re in a series focusing on the (8) attitudes Jesus mention in the Sermon on the Mount in Mt. 5 – (4) of them relate to God and (4) relate to man. I want to remind you that Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the attitudes they’re to possess as kingdom citizens. Remember if your attitude determines our altitude then it also testifies to your disposition and determination. Now the vital item to note is that Jesus wasn’t focusing on outward performance like going to church, giving, or serving, but His concern was to mark out how a disciple should be on the inside.
Quote: Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount so that his Father would get the glory for the way the disciples lived. Piper
Note: The purpose of the Sermon on the Mount is to inform God’s disciples of the qualities they are to possess and display to a watching world.
Trans: So far we’ve come to see that a Christian is someone who is poor in spirit by recognizing their own spiritual bankruptcy and who is mournful and has a genuine sorrow over their sin and the sin of others. This AM, we’re going to look at the next attitude Jesus states is necessary to be a Christ-follower – meekness.
Insert: In considering meekness, I’ve thought about, The Passion of the Christ. In the movie, Jesus modeled meekness. At Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest him and chaos reigned – Jesus showed meekness. During the kangaroo courts of Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas, through the scourging and walk to Golgotha, up to the moment He breathe His last breathe – Jesus modeled power under control.
I The CONDITION
Trans: It is vital we clarify what meekness is b/c some people equate meekness w/ weakness, but that couldn’t be further from Jesus’ mind. In fact, if you were to tell someone they were meek, I’m not sure they’d receive your words as a compliment.
Note: I say this b/c if you were to look at a thesaurus it wouldn’t help matters as the typical synonyms for meekness include – docile, mild, tame, soft, passive and spineless. It’s no wonder we don’t want to be called meek. But when Jesus employed the term, He was speaking of something completely different. And since this characteristic is part of Jesus’ definition of a disciple, I think that it is in our best interest that we understand what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are the meek…”
A The MEANING of Meekness
Word: meek (praeis) was used (4) in completely different capacities in the N.T. that together help to demonstrate a godly attitude.
Note: In the Greek culture, meekness was considered a virtue that was balanced b/w too much and too little anger. The meek man was neither timid nor given to fits of rage.
Greek physicians used the word to describe a soothing medicine. If too little was given, it wouldn’t work; but if too much was prescribed, it could hurt instead of heal. Yet if the proper amount was offered, then it could work wonders.
Meek was also used to describe a gentle breeze blowing in from the ocean. Wind can rage and do great damage or when it blows gently, it brings soothing comfort.
The most common use of Meekness describes a wild stallion that had been tamed. The broken horse was powerful, but his power was under the control of a bridle.
Note: The common thread in these images is that meekness represents different forms of power that can be used for good. Meekness is power harnessed for good.
Trans: Yet when you put this statement into the context of Jesus setting, it’s a certainty that the people present scratched their heads. They likely thought, “Didn’t Jesus just mention that the kingdom of heaven was near?” (See Mt. 4:17) If the kingdom is coming, then don’t we need to get ready to rumble w/ the Romans?
Text: Let’s not forget, the story of Jesus falls w/in the framework of a nation in bondage to Rome. While the Jews believed Messiah was coming, most thought He was coming to deliver them from their physical oppressor and not their spiritual condition.
Insert: The kingdom the Pharisees wanted was miraculous, the Sadducees idea was materialistic, the Essenes wanted a monastic kingdom, while the Zealots were looking for a military kingdom. Thankfully, Jesus offered a meek kingdom.