In his same Sermon on the Mount when Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, he also said this: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5, NIV84) Later, Jesus would describe himself with the same term: “Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29, CSB)
That word (translated differently) “meek” and “humble in heart” is the same Greek word prauees.
We hear “meek” and think of submissive passivity, spinelessness – we think of a doormat. Meekness is not something we associate with “Onward Christian Soldiers!” Nor is it something I see in Jesus chasing out the money changers from the Temple.
So the Christian is faced with a challenge: how do you balance the call to meekness with Paul’s: “Be on the alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be men of courage. Be strong,” (I Corinthians 16:13)? Are we to lay down as passive recipients of whatever comes our way or are we to develop courage and strength according to the might and power of the Lord?
The answer is found in that Greek word prauees.
Ancient armies would capture wild horses in order to train them for war. Not all these horses possessed the strength or willingness to obey and be a part of the cavalry. Some were made into pack animals, some were simply sold-off.
But those that qualified after being broken were said to be prauees. They were no longer wild and unruly; they were warhorses. They would charge into battle under control of their masters and maneuver according to his commands. A meek horse was one that had kept its strength but placed it under the authority of the one who had tamed it.
When Christ said, “Blessed are the meek,” he was using a military term.
Biblical meekness is not weakness, but is exercising God’s strength under His control. Power under authority. Determination in battle. Someone said: Meekness is carrying a sword, but knowing when to unsheathe it. Or, to restate Jesus in Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are the warhorses, for they will inherit the earth.”
I hope you’ll join us Sunday as we discuss this!