MATTHEW 5:5 04 FEBRUARY 2024
PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH
This morning, we are going to continue from last week when we began to look at the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 – in the section of Matthew that we commonly call the Sermon on the Mount.
Last week, we examined the “poor in spirit.” The next verse speaks of the blessing of those who mourn. We will skip over that one for now and proceed to verse 5.
“Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit the earth,”
Before we go further, I think it is important to know what the mindset of the people Jesus spoke to in the sermon on the mountain.
Let’s look at the context of Jewish history here.
In 63 B.C. Jewish independence ended when Pompi took over Palestine and annexed it for Rome. From that time, Palestine had been ruled by puppet kings and governors appointed by Rome.
So, this generation of Jewish people had never known anything except Roman domination and oppression.
Yet, they still held on to the hope that Messiah would come and deliver them from Rome.
And along comes Jesus preaching humility and meekness. He was not what they expected.
They expected the Messiah would come and lead Israel in a military battle, overthrow Rome, and restore the nation to the place it occupied during the days of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.
Here they are, gathered there on the mountain, waiting to hear of better days.
And Jesus says to them – “Be meek, be gentle.”
The audience had to have been shaken up a bit by what they heard from Jesus.
He challenged them with things that were foreign to their way of thinking.
They were likely expecting Him to commend them for their religious life.
Instead, He told them of the blessings that were available for those who possessed a broken and contrite heart.
Then, He brings up this meekness idea. That certainly confused them because they were expecting honors and instead came face to face with the ideas of humility, submission, and service.
In the New American Standard Bible, Verse 5 says this: “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” The New International Version of the Bible says, “Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The King James version also says: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
If you check the Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (W E Vine), you will find that the word “meek” means gentle and mild. So, either meek or gentle are both acceptable as we read and understand what Jesus is telling us here.
Meekness expresses itself in our attitude and conduct with respect to others. Someone who is truly meek will be amazed that God could think well of him or her.
Meekness is humble, considerate of others, and courteous to others; meekness exercises self-control. So, we see meekness in a person who is gentle, with a gentle spirit.
But that is not how the world sees a meek person. The world sometimes sees this person as a doormat to be trampled on. People sometimes have the attitude that only the strong survive, and a meek person can’t survive because they are weak.
In reality, it is the meek person who is the strong person, not in a worldly sense, but in a spiritual sense.
Meek and weak do not describe the same person.
Jesus was the ultimate example of meekness. We see that in Paul’s description of the attitude of Christ. READ Philippians 2:5-11
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
One of the reasons people don’t want to take on the attitude of a meek person is they have a “me first” attitude. They are afraid that someone is going to take advantage of them.
Meekness is having the attitude of Christ. That attitude is Others First. A meek person remembers the needs of the many, which, of course, outweighs the needs of the few or the one.
Those who are Meek have:
1. Confidence in Christ that He will make it right.
2. They have a form of godliness to the point that they are obedient.
3. Most of you, I am sure, are familiar with Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.”
4. And Colossians 3:12-13 as well – “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other; whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
5. Meekness is one of the marks of being a disciple of Jesus.
Some of you here this morning are old enough to remember hearing JFK’s inaugural speech, in which he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
In obeying the teaching to practice meekness, we might say, “Ask not what others can do for you, but ask, what can I do for others?”
I looked at the word “meek” in Mr. Webster’s Dictionary. He says it means: “deficient in spirit and courage.”
However, that is not the Bible's definition of meekness. The Greek word for meek is “praus.” That is pronounced as “pray us.” It is sometimes translated as gentle or humble.
From a Biblical perspective, meekness is about submission and surrender- the surrender of our will to God.
Surrender to God means that we understand who we are and who God is, and we respond accordingly.
Meekness is simply acknowledging exactly who God is and who we are in relationship to Him. It is surrendering our will to the will of God. It is living small so that we might live big.
Living small doesn’t mean living an insignificant or unimportant life.
Meekness can be defined as power under control. It is courage, strength, conviction, and sacrifice all rolled into one as we live lives under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Meekness is a passion for God demonstrated by Jesus throwing out those who desecrated the temple and pronouncing judgment on the hypocritical religious leaders of His day.
Jesus demonstrated His meekness in His heart for the people. His humble spirit caused Him to never even come to His own defense when He was mocked and criticized for claiming to be the Son of God.
His actions were anything but weakness. He demonstrated power, but a power that was never used for His own defense or for selfish purposes.
Meekness is power completely surrendered to God’s control. Meekness is living like Jesus, acting like Jesus, responding like Jesus.
I read something interesting about meekness in my preparation for this sermon.
It said that the root word for meekness was originally used to describe a horse or some other wild animal that had been broken and tamed to become useful to its owner. Prior to being tamed and trained, the animals were useless and dangerous.
Now, they are useful, productive, beneficial, and directed to a desired purpose.
That is what God wants to do with us – make us useful, productive, and beneficial toward a desired purpose.
Meekness is giving God control to rule over all the earth. It gives Him complete control over our hearts, our lives, and our actions.
So, we know that meekness is not a weakness. It is simply yielding to God’s will. It is defending His name. It is living a life of “others first,”
Meekness is humility. It does not compromise with evil. It does not place us above another person.
Meekness is knowing that without Jesus, I am nothing. It is knowing that whatever strength I have comes from God. It is knowing that I am only a vessel to be used to accomplish His purpose.
So, Jesus sat down upon that mountain and began to speak, saying. “Blessed are those who are gentle, or the meek, or the humble.” He was saying to us: “Understand that God is in control.
Have courage, strength, conviction, and sacrifice – all given to us as we recognize that our lives must be lived under the control of the Holy Spirit.