Meek is NOT Weak
We turn our attention to the third beatitude found in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” It is impossible to understand these verses without understanding the context in which they were given. After being “on the public scene” for about a year, there were those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah; at least their concept of a Messiah or deliverer. They wanted more than anything to be delivered from the rule of the Romans. Their whole land lay under the rule of the Romans. They longed to be “free”. They wanted a Messiah who would crush Rome under his foot. And in this “opening act” of an extended sermon they are getting things like “Blessed are the poor in spirit” and “Blessed are those who mourn”. This is NOT what they wanted to hear. But it is what they needed to hear. Jesus is the Messiah but He did not come for political deliverance but for spiritual deliverance. He did not come to slaughter Romans. He came to save Romans. He did not come to kill the enemy of the Jews, rather He came to lay down His life for the enemy of the Jews.
So what does the word “meek” mean? It doesn’t mean weak; though that’s how some want to interpret the word. A better phrase for the word meek would be “strength under control”. Right now my friend Jason Hoover is training my daughter’s horse. Horses are extremely powerful animals. You just don’t appreciate how big they are until you stand next to one. They can be dangerous animals. But a trained horse is meek, under control. The horse that has been broken to the rider is not any less strong than an unbroken horse. However, the broken horse submits its power and strength to the control of the rider.
That is what Jesus is saying. If you are meek you are not weak. You have great strength in the power of God that resides in you. But you are under submission to God. Your strength and your ability rests under His control. And you will inherit the earth. You will have a life that is filled with great blessing and honor. Perhaps you will not have the applause and acclaim of man, but you will have the blessing of God.
If you think that followers of Jesus Christ are weak you are mistaken. It is followers of Jesus Christ that championed equal rights for women. It is followers of Jesus Christ who began hospitals. It is followers of Jesus Christ who led the fight against slavery. And it is the followers of Jesus Christ who are on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking today. Yes, there are those who are not followers of Jesus who have served these causes as well, but history shows clearly that these right causes were almost always begun and headed by “meek” followers of Jesus, some of whom paid with their lives and/or their livelihood. That doesn’t sound weak to me.
Take the words of Jesus seriously here. Meek is not weak. Meek is strength under control.