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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Jesus Was Meek, Not Weak

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), but that little word meek often trips us up.

According to Merriam-Webster, meek means: “Having or showing a quiet and gentle nature: not wanting to fight or argue with other people.” We tend to associate meek with words like timid, soft-spoken and wimpy, so we conclude we have to be shy, unassuming, and afraid of confrontation in order to please God or be like Jesus.

But when you study the original meaning of the word, it conveys something very different.

In the Bible, the word we translate as meek is the same word they used to describe war-horses. The Greek word is praus, which loosely translated means “power under control.” This word was used to describe a horse that was trained to obey instantly and absolutely, no matter how brutal the battle.

These war horses were tremendously powerful, yet their power was under complete control. And while they may have been gentle to their riders, they were fierce in battle. They would paw at the ground in anticipation when they heard the enemy bashing swords and lances against shields in an effort to intimidate. This type of horse seemed to devour the ground with fierceness and rage and couldn’t stand still when he heard the call to battle (see Job 39:19-25).

Jesus was this kind of meek: power under control.

Jesus certainly wasn’t timid or unafraid of conflict. He walked the earth with all the power of Holy Spirit in him—healing the sick and raising people from the dead. And Jesus was passionate. He had such incredible love and unconditional acceptance for those around him that people flocked to him by the thousands. He respected people and gained their respect.

Jesus understood the needs of people and met them there. At the same time, he didn’t shrink back from confronting people’s behavior when necessary. He was perfectly led by Holy Spirit, and he was powerfully attractive to people. He was what I like to call Spirit Contemporary; he knew how to walk in favor with God and in favor with man.

Many believers suffer for their faith, and some even sacrifice their lives. That kind of obedience doesn’t come from weakness or timidity. Meek is powerful. Moses was described as the meekest person on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3), but he was no pushover. He is one of our strongest examples of godly leadership. If Moses was meek yet he confronted Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler on the earth at the time, commanding him to release the Hebrew people from slavery, then meek clearly doesn’t mean timid or wimpy.

As Christians, we often think that being meek means not rocking the boat, but that misbelief can cause us to become people pleasers who are always worried about what others think. It causes us to portray a distorted picture of Jesus as well, and it’s not an attractive one. Most people aren’t interested in this weak and powerless Jesus, and how can we blame them?

We have to stop toning Jesus down and start seeing him as he really is.

The truth is that Jesus wants us so confident, strong, and secure in our identity as children of God that people notice the difference in our lives. When we live this way, people are attracted to the life we live, and we then have the opportunity to direct them toward Jesus.

Are you willing to trust God no matter what? Are you ready to obey him immediately and completely, no matter the cost? It takes tremendous strength to say yes to those questions; strength and power under control. That’s meekness.

All scripture references in this article are NIV unless otherwise stated.

Copyright 2016 Leon Fontaine. Used by permission.

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