(A four minute read)
‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’. [Matthew 5:5] Be meek!
Meekness does not mean weakness, rather the strong who place themselves in a position of weakness, where they persevere without giving up. The Greek word Jesus is quoted as using, [πραυς) means “tame” when applied to animals. These animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others.
You and I have been created as powerful beings with free will. We can encourage life in others, or we can bring death. We can choose to love, or do evil. It is the taming of our urges to harm, to dominate, to lash out, to criticize that make us meek. We are like a war horse that is perfectly tame under a warrior’s hand, and yet ready to immediately exercise great power on command.
When Jesus taught ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth’ [Matthew 5:5] in His Sermon on the Mount, He was speaking to a crowd that well understood ‘meekness’ as ‘power under control’. Meekness did not equal weakness, but submission. It meant acting under proper authority.
So what was Jesus telling his disciples to do? What were they to submit to? What power was he referring to?
He was referring to His own example of power under control. Just as He submitted to His heavenly Father, members of the crowd were to submit to Jesus.
This great sermon came early in Jesus’ ministry. As context, Matthew’s account finds Jesus preaching and ‘healing all kinds of sickness and all sorts of diseases among the people’. [Matthew 4:23b] His fame spread as rapidly as a person could walk or ride from town to town, conveying the amazing news: the blind see, the deaf hear, the lepers are cleansed and the lame walk!
Soon, he was inundated with ‘great crowds’ that were hard to control. Indeed, Luke records ‘The whole crowd tried to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all’. [Luke 6:19]
How many are in a ‘great crowd?’ Hundreds certainly, thousands likely, tens of thousands possibly. considering some came from up to 50 miles away – many days on foot. And, He healed them all, with His meekness, His ‘power under control.’
The crowd came with expectation for His words, but especially for His healing power. As He always did, Jesus demonstrated to the crowd by His lifestyle how they themselves could bring the kingdom of heaven to earth:
- Be alone with God the Father and get into relationship with Him: ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel’. [Mark 1:15b-16]
- Submit to Him through prayer: ‘But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret’. [Matthew 6:6a]
- Through His presence, release the power of heaven into the earth: ‘Heal the sick who are there and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’. [Luke 10:9]
The Scripture accounts record this process. Remember, Jesus the Son could only do what God the Father was doing. He was like any other child, looking to a parent for instruction and direction. ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does’. [John 5:19]
To maintain this connection with the Father, to ‘see what the Father was doing’, Jesus would often go off by himself to pray. On one particular night, before delivering the Sermon on the Mount, he spent the night in solitary, then He named 12 of His many followers as Apostles.
After that, ‘He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples an even larger group was following Him) and a great crowd of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases’. [Luke 6:17]
What is that last bit? People came to hear Him and ‘be healed of their diseases.‘
We think of the Sermon on the Mount as being full of great teaching, but let us not forget that for his followers, in addition to being edified, ‘they were healed‘. [Luke 6:18b]
They all followed those same three steps. They got alone with God-made-flesh, Jesus, submitted to Him,and then saw the power of heaven released. Their sicknesses were healed, ‘including those who were vexed by unclean spirits’. [Luke 6:18a]
Did this happen because they were pushy or aggressive? Or because they made some special sacrifice or said some special prayer? No – it was because they were meek. They placed themselves under their Master’s authority.
Scripture emphasis mine.
Image: Ponyart, via Wikimedia Commons