“I am gentle and humble in heart…”
(Matthew 11:29, NIV)
(Matthew 11:29, NIV)
In these words, Jesus crowned the modest grace of meekness queen of virtues. In the Lord’s time, as in our own, meekness was regarded as feminine and self-abasing. Do we not usually associate the word with someone who is insignificant and labours under an inferiority complex?
The word “meekness” was one of the great ethical words of the Greeks. Aristotle, the philosopher, viewed it as the happy mean between two extremes: between too much anger and too little anger, for example. It was also used of the breaking-in of a horse in which the animal learned to accept control and bow to the will of another. With this background, let us consider its application to the Lord.
It might be said that meekness plus lowliness equals humility. Meekness is humility toward God. Lowliness is humility toward men. Jesus claimed both qualities for Himself. For this it is clear that meekness is not the equivalent of mildness or weakness of character. His activity in cleansing the Temple (John 2; Mark 11) was anything but mild. Meekness is strong, but it is strength held in control. When the glory of God is involved, the meek person can fight with vigour.
In what ways did Jesus display this lowly grace? He demonstrated it in His boyhood when, after His experience in the Temple, He went home and was subject to His parents (Luke 2:41-52). Without complaint He was willing to perform the lowliest duties. He made ploughs and yokes for the farmers of Nazareth. What an occupation for Him who made the world! He meekly accepted the Father’s plan for His life, even though it involved exchanging the freedom of the universe for the restrictions of a village carpenter’s shop.
Jesus was meek in His dealings with fallen humanity – even His own disciples – with doubting Thomas, with traitorous Judas, with denying Peter, and with thunderous James and John. Meekness is essentially the attitude that does not insist on its own rights, but it always ready to let go of privilege in the interests of others. Is this grace prominent in our lives? Meekness is measured by what we can endure without complaint or retaliation or demanding our rights. The meek person is willingly to submit to the will of God.
How can we learn this grace of meekness?
“The fruit of the Spirit is… meekness” (Galatians 5:22-23, ASV).
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.