(The third Beatitude)
This meditation is the third of a series on the Sermon on the Mount. The first couple of sentences of Jesus’ sermon on the mountain all start with the word “Happy” (the highest level of joy and blessing). “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them! Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them! Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!…” (Matt. 5:3-11). Moses received the Laws, the ten commandments, on Mount Sinai. On a mountain Jesus taught us in what spirit the commandments should be followed. This “explanation” of the laws exposes self-righteousness, mere appearances of piety and false obedience. It is all about the sincerity of the heart.
The first Beatitude is about those who are poor in spirit, those who realise how unworthy they are and know how dependent they are upon God. The second Beatitude is about those who mourn, people who intensely sympathise with others’ suffering, those whose hearts are broken over their own sins and the sins of the world. Meekness is the result of this attitude. The third Beatitude reads: Blessed are the meek, because they will inherit the earth. The meek are those who submit to God’s authority. The meek are those who are humble. They are people who acknowledge that they don’t have the answer to everything, people who regard other people as more important than themselves.
Meekness is not a weakness. The meek are like strong horses that are tamed and become serviceable to their master. They support God-given rights and oppose what is wrong. They treat people tenderly but are hard on wrongdoing. Jesus, the king, is meek: Look, your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey (Matt. 21:5). But He takes a stand against the misuse of the temple: There in the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, and also the moneychangers sitting at their tables. So he made a whip from cords and drove all the animals out of the Temple, both the sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins; and he ordered those who sold the pigeons, “Take them out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” (John 2:14-16).
The meek shall inherit the earth. The meek obtain joy from what they have on earth, whether they possess much or little. When someone is freed from ambition and greed, he is a contented, happy person. Contentment is the fruit of meekness. Meekness grants freedom from the pressure to excel in order to impress others. It grants freedom to enjoy everyday tasks. It brings acceptance of yourself and of what you have.
Paul describes himself and his fellow workers … as the poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything (2 Cor. 6:10).
Our heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus came to teach us what the highest form of happiness and blessedness is. Give us the spirit of meekness. Amen.