Soul Health Checklist: Blessed are the Meek

This past Monday, when Susan and I and most of our family were coming home from holidays, we were east of Hope when, all of a sudden, there was a loud noise and I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a piece of metal come flying out from underneath the trailer that I was towing with our van. Now that was a pretty good indication to me that there was something wrong with our van. So I pulled over and stopped, and then walked back to retrieve the piece of metal. And after doing a brief check for any other damage, we drove to Hope where we stopped at a gas station and checked again for damage. And finding none we drove the rest of the way home without any further problems. That piece of metal that fell off was a heat shield for the muffler on the van and that heat shield is very important because the gas tank on this type of van is made of plastic, and it is only about a foot away from the muffler.

It is often easy to tell when there is something wrong with your car. A piece of metal might come flying out from underneath your vehicle, or it might make a strange noise, or steam might come from underneath the hood, or a red light might come on your dashboard. But what about your soul? How do you know when something is wrong with your soul?

Now I invite you to think about another question, “How do you know when things are right with your soul?” We began reflecting about this question three weeks ago when we started looking at Matthew 5, verses 1 – 12. And we thought about how the poor in spirit, those who have nothing left to hang onto but God, are blessed because there is nothing coming between them and God and they already have the kingdom of heaven, in other words, they already have God. And then we considered those who mourn and grieve, not just for the loss of loved ones, but also for the consequences of sin throughout the world, and how they are blessed because they will be comforted by the redemption and restoration of all things that Jesus is going to finalize when he comes on the Day of our Resurrection.

Today we continue with verse 5 where Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Now why in the world would the meek be blessed? I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “meek,” I think of the word “weak” and I think that those two words mean the same sort of thing.

But that is a gross misunderstanding of the work “meek.” A fictional example of someone who is meek would Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent. Clark Kent could easily overwhelm those who mock and tease him, but he keeps his superhuman strength hidden so that he can continue living among the human beings that he has dedicated himself to protecting. You see, the biblical understanding of being meek is having great strength under great control for a great purpose.

The best definition of the biblical understanding of meekness that I have seen is found is this footnote from the ESV Study Bible: “The meek are the “gentle” …, those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength, but who will nonetheless inherit the earth because they trust in God to direct the outcome of events.”[1] I invite you to read that quote a second time because it is so unlike how we usually think.

The ultimate example of biblical meekness is Jesus Christ. As the Son of God, he had infinite power, wisdom and strength, and yet Jesus willingly harnessed his strengths to the will of his Father. Jesus did not assert himself over others to further his own agenda in his own strength. Jesus allowed his Father’s will to be done in his life, even though that led Jesus to Gethsemane, where he agonized over the suffering that lay before him. Jesus could have asserted himself, taken control of the situation and refused to be a doormat for those who were about to walk all over him. But in doing so, Jesus would have stepped outside of his Father’s will for him, and you, I and the whole world would still be left in our sin.

Jesus allowed his Father’s will to be done in his life, even though that led Jesus to Golgotha, that bloody hill outside of ancient Jerusalem where criminals went to die. As a Roman soldier was about to drive the first nail into Jesus’ wrist, Jesus could have commanded “Stop!” just like he commanded the wind and the waves to “Stop!” during a storm on the Sea of Galilee. And that Roman soldier would have dropped his hammer just as quickly as the water and the air became calm at Jesus command. Jesus could have stood up then and said, “There is a big mistake that has been made here. I am innocent of the crime for which I am being condemned. I do not deserve to die. Jesus could have done and said that. And all of those things were true. But Jesus did not do that.

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, had great strength under great control for a much greater purpose, the redemption and restoration of all things, and that includes you. Jesus was obedient to death, even death on a cross because the prize on the other side of the cross was worth it to him, and that prize was you with him. On the third day that followed his death, Jesus rose from the dead, and the living, resurrected Jesus loves you with a pure, infinite and unconditional love. And it was his love for you that moved Jesus to let his Father decide what was best for him. And because of his meekness, Jesus has totally saved you from spending eternity apart from God, Jesus has more than paid for the forgiveness of all your sins, and Jesus has given you a new life with him that begins right now and continues forward into eternity. Jesus has already made you good and holy and right and true and one day the tattered, old wrapping paper around you is going to come off and everyone will see you for who you really are in Christ.

Because of Jesus’ meekness, you are totally forgiven right now, you are totally loved and accepted by God right now, and you have all the fulfillment and meaning and purpose that you will ever need right now, in Jesus. You have inherited the earth, in Jesus. Every inner hunger and every soul craving is satisfied in full by Jesus, for you, and only by Jesus.

So my encouragement to you is to let that Good News seep into your soul until it is fully saturated with Jesus’ love. You are greatly blessed because of the meekness of Jesus. Remember that you are loved, that you are forgiven and that you have life in Jesus. Remind yourself daily of who you are in Christ, what you have in Christ and how things will be in Christ. Allow the Gospel to soak your soul and transform your heart and mind.

Jesus has already saved you. And because you are saved, Jesus is inviting you to follow him. You see, Jesus has a greater purpose in mind for you, than the purpose you may have in mind for yourself. But Jesus can only carry out that purpose if you are willing to let his will be done in your life. And that takes meekness. God has given you great power. He has given you the ability to make decisions about how you relate to others, what you say and do, and what you do with the gifts and resources that God has entrusted to you. And Jesus is inviting you to keep your great power under great control for a greater purpose. And that greater purpose is to allow Jesus to live his life through you so that he can continue his work of redeeming and restoring all things, including your friends, your neighbours, your co-workers, and your family members.

And today the all-powerful, all-knowing, Most High God, the King of the Universe has come to us in the meekness of ordinary bread and wine to assure us that he is with us, that he loves us and that we are forever safe with him. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Amen.

(This message was presented on Aug 23, 2015 at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church in Langley BC.)

[1] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1828). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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