Thus far, we have seen that the candidate for salvation must both acknowledge his sin (be poor in spirit) and have godly sorrow for sin (mourn). These are necessary for an individual to even be aware of the need for salvation in Jesus Christ. Today, we look at a third trait required if we will receive the forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
There is a common misconception about meekness in the world today. Meek is often characterized as weak. Some modern dictionaries define "meek" as "easily imposed on"1; "docile ..overly submissive; spiritless; tame"2; "deficient in spirit and courage"3 These miss the meaning of true meekness.
Strong's defines the word praus as "mild, humble, meek". The Lord used this word to describe Himself,
...Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly (meek, KJV), and sitting on a donkey... (Matthew 21:5)
Meekness isn't spineless submission, but willing submission. James 3 gives a couple good examples of the nature of meekness. We read:
...we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. (James 3:3-4)
Who is willing to say that the horse is rendered weak, because we have put a bit in his mouth? He is not weak, but rather submits to the direction of bit and rider which controls it. Likewise, a ship doesn't cease to be a great and powerful vessel because a rudder is attached. However, the power of that vessel is brought under the control of the rudder.
To walk in subjection to the will of God is to walk in meekness, and honourable before the Lord. Those who display this Jesus-like trait (for He was subject to the Father in all things, John 5:19, 30; 12:49; 14:10) are subject to an inheritance; "...they shall inherit the earth."
Inheritance of a land was a primary promise given to the Hebrew people through Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 17:8; 28:4). The Law of Moses confirmed that God would fulfill this promise (Exodus 23:30; Deuteronomy 3:28; 16:20). God fulfilled His promise, and gave Canaan to Israel under the leadership of Joshua.
Psalm 37 references the inheritance of land. However, it would seem that the phrase is used, not to speak of the land of Canaan, as the Israelites already possessed it. Could it be that the phrase "inherit the earth" is used to refer to spiritual favour with God; not just possession of a lot of land in Canaan?
How much power did Jesus have? Matthew 20:23 and Mark 6:5 say there are some things Jesus cannot do, but Matthew 28:18 says that Jesus is all-powerful. Is there a contradiction?
Before we look at the particular details of the references provided, there is an important distinction to be made. Both Matthew 20:23 and Mark 6:5 are in the midst of Jesus' earthly ministry, while Matthew 28:18 is after His death, burial and resurrection, and just before His ascension into heaven. Why is that significant? The first two texts address a time when Jesus was a faithful servant of the Father; the third text addresses a time when Jesus was endowed with authority and glorified; about to ascend into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.
In Matthew 20, the mother of James and John had asked Jesus to grant places of authority to her sons in His kingdom. He responded, "...to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father." (v 23) At this point, it was not yet His kingdom. At this point, He was still the one who "did not come to be served, but to serve" (v 28)
When Jesus came to His hometown in Mark 6, it is not that He was powerless to do miracles in their midst, but because the people would not believe, He did not (v 6; cf. Matthew 13:58). Rather than waste His time and energy with those who would not believe, Jesus went to the surrounding villages, where the people received Him.
There is no contradiction.
A.T.A. - Should we try to please others?
A.T.A. - Should we fear or not?