The Sermon on The Mount – Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 5
April 20, 2007 § Leave a comment
Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Here in this verse, once again, Jesus is continuing to describe that disposition of heart and attitude that characterizes those that are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. And, again, he does so by stating another paradox of meekness possessing the earth, or having all the rights of inheritance of the earth.
To reiterate what was stated in my treatment of verses 1 & 2, here we have the “Sinai” of the new covenant, Mount Zion. Jesus is teaching the kingdom of heaven, the fulfillment of that which is promised, the substance of that which is typed and shadowed in the old covenant. So, in this text we certainly have a repetition of the promise of Psalm 37:11,
“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
The land of Canaan, was a type and foreshadowing of the inheritance found in the new covenant, the kingdom of heaven being the fulfillment of that promise. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, (i.e. being brought in to union with Christ by the Spirit, and therefore adopted in to the family of God, being children and heirs of God [Romans 8:15-17]), the meek have rights to all that is under the Lordship of Christ, for he is “the heir of all things”(Hebrews 1:2). Paul teaches us in, Romans 4:13, that the promise given to Abraham and to his offspring (i.e. the “land” promise), that he would be the heir of the world. Therefore, the meek, who have been made citizens of the kingdom of heaven, having come to sit with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob (Matt. 8:11), have that promise of inheritance of the “land”, i.e. the world.
How glorious a promise it is that the earth/world is graciously given to the meek to inherit. To the lowly, to those humbled by seeing themselves in light of the glory and holiness of God. To the meek, who have seen their utter destitution, that indeed truly mourn over their own sin and the sin and wickedness in the world around them.
The following portion of the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary I found very helpful. I don’t think I could say the following any better, so I want to quote it here for your benefit as well. In this quote we have a biblical description of the meek, along with the scriptural admonitions of cultivating a meek and humble attitude as exampled by our Lord.
“It is impossible, indeed, that “the poor in spirit” and “the mourners” in Zion should not at the same time be “meek”; that is to say, persons of a lowly and gentle carriage. How fitting, at least, it is that they should be so, may be seen by the following touching appeal: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men: For We Ourselves Were Once Foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures … But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared: … according to His mercy He saved us,” etc. (Tit_3:1-7). But He who had no such affecting reasons for manifesting this beautiful carriage, said, nevertheless, of Himself, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Mat_11:29); and the apostle besought one of the churches by “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2Co_10:1). In what esteem this is held by Him who seeth not as man seeth, we may learn from 1Pe_3:4, where the true adorning is said to be that of “a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” Towards men this disposition is the opposite of high-mindedness, and a quarrelsome and revengeful spirit; it “rather takes wrong, and suffers itself to be defrauded” (1Co_6:7); it “avenges not itself, but rather gives place unto wrath” (Rom_12:19); like the meek One, “when reviled, it reviles not again; when it suffers, it threatens not: but commits itself to Him that judgeth righteously” (1Pe_2:19-22). “The earth” which the meek are to inherit might be rendered “the land” – bringing out the more immediate reference to Canaan as the promised land, the secure possession of which was to the Old Testament saints the evidence and manifestation of God’s favor resting on them, and the ideal of all true and abiding blessedness. Even in the Psalm from which these words are taken the promise to the meek is not held forth as an arbitrary reward, but as having a kind of natural fulfillment. When they delight themselves in the Lord, He gives them the desires of their heart: when they commit their way to Him, He brings it to pass; bringing forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noonday: the little that they have, even when despoiled of their rights, is better than the riches of many wicked (Psa_37:1-24). All things, in short, are theirs – in the possession of that favor which is life, and of those rights which belong to them as the children of God – whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are theirs (1Co_3:21, 1Co_3:22); and at length, overcoming, they “inherit all things” (Rev_21:7). Thus are the meek the only rightful occupants of a foot of ground or a crust of bread here, and heirs of all coming things.”
These dispositions and attitudes of the heart, set forth in these first 3 verses of the “Beatitudes”, as descriptions of the citizens of the kingdom of heaven, are glorious and gracious works of the Spirit in the hearts of all those who are in Christ, in those who have the privilege of new covenant communion with Christ in coming to Mount Zion, the city of God. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…”(Hebrews 12:28).
Holy Spirit, produce in us these most precious fruits, apply to us all that is promised and found in Christ. Enable us to go forth, as citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we who have been given the “land” as our inheritance, and declare to this world the gospel of the kingdom and thereby show forth the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord who rules over all things. Amen.
Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West