Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Focus of the Month: Jesus Teaches: The Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes
Graduating college in the late 80s and launching into career mode, the messaging about getting it all surely had little to do with this idea of being humble, being meek. In fact, it was quite the opposite message of “me first”. We heard, “Be strong. Be independent. Just do it.” I never once heard a commercial, read a book or received advice to be meek and you will be blessed big time. No wonder the idea of being meek was one of those biblical challenges I stuck a bookmark in when I read it. I thought right away that meek meant weak, in a bad way. I certainly did not want to pursue becoming weak when I had worked so hard at being strong.
Admittedly it has taken me many times to read this sermon and commentaries from other authors as well as prayer, to realize that Jesus is doing more than teaching here. Jesus is evangelizing on the hill to the masses. Our Redeemer is sharing the way our conversion to a Christ follower takes place. There is an order. First we are brought down and out (“we are poor” verse 3), then we are sad once we realize the mess we are (“we mourn” verse 4). Next, we see His glory in light of our sin, causing us to get low and humble, surrendering our old unbridled life (“meekness” verse 5) leading to a hunger for our new life (righteousness, verse 6).
So while meekness seems like weakness, it is much more. It is a complete awareness of how incredible God is, and in that wakefulness of meeting all He is (to the extent our limited minds can grasp), we are overwhelmed and surrender. The Greek translation of the word meek means a strong spirit brought under control. Like a wild mare tamed. Quieted. When we understand His greatness, we become acutely aware of our fallen state. This realization renders a profound, quiet surrender that comes from the most inner place of our soul. It renders us meek. As David pleads, “Who am I that you are mindful of me?“ As Moses bargained to be spared His radiant face, “I am not worthy”. This is the meekness Jesus meant here: in light of who God is, we give in and stop doing it our way.
Are we willing to be vulnerable with God? Removing all barriers between us? Choosing meekness? Yes He knows it all anyway. But the fragility and love between God and us when we are wide open with Him, seeing Him and truly responding in awe, is the intimate relationship He is seeking. I believe we are the most beautiful to God in these moments. It is in the honest, authentic, raw interaction with God where our Jesus waits to redeem us and we find absolute freedom. When we are weak, He is – you know it – strong. He lifts us up and cleans us. He restores our dirty souls and makes them white as snow. We are found. We are His heirs and we inherit the earth, His kingdom.
I’d encourage you my sisters, in fact, I would love to shout from every mountain top and text it to every phone, to all women of our time, “Be meek and He will be strong in you, be free in Him and have it all.”
Scripture References: Matthew 5:2-6; Psalm 8:4; Exodus 33-34; Isaiah 1:18; James 2:5; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 8:2