Sermon on the Mount | Meekness: Part 1

We have been in culture shock as we work through the Gospel of Matthew. Having spent four chapters establishing Jesus’ identity and purpose, Matthew uses the next five chapters to give us examples of Jesus’ teaching, preaching, and healing ministry (Matthew 5-9). Chapters 5-7 are one long teaching session, often referred to as “the sermon on the mount,” and we are at 5:5 today.

Starting at v. 3, Jesus has, in effect, been describing the core values of the kingdom of heaven. 

The first beatitude, being poor in spirit, asks us to realize our weakness and inability. 

That, in turn, leads us to that second state in which we realize our sin and the sin of this world, and we mourn. 

That mourning is a blessing. Only a mournful person who grieves over their sin can experience the comfort of Jesus who paid the price for our sin.

Only a mournful person who grieves over their sin can rejoice in forgiveness of sin. Only a mournful person who grieves over their unrighteousness can have joy in Jesus’ righteousness. 

People who mourn their sin and the sin of this world are blessed people because they are comforted by the gospel.

Now for the next inevitability. Remember: there’s a relationship between each of the beatitudes. There is a logical sequence to these characteristics that Jesus is teaching.  Each one suggests and leads to the next one. If we are poor in spirit, we inevitably mourn. So, what is the next inevitability? If Christians are, before God, poor in spirit and mournful of sin, what’s next?

The answer is meekness … or what the CSB translates as humility.

Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

What, you may ask, is the difference between being poor in spirit and being humble? 

The answer is that poverty of spirit has to do with you and your relationship with God. But humility has to do with your relationships with other people.

It is one thing for me – and only me – to recognize my own helplessness and sin before God. But it is another thing entirely to let other people know that this is how you see yourself and let others know about your helplessness and sin before God. 

Instinctively, we resent anyone pointing out anything that is wrong about us. 

We don’t like being reminded about how to hold our forks and to keep our elbows off the table, much less anything substantive about our character or behavior. 

If we are anything like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, we are more likely to retreat, self-defend, blame, or distract from our behavior so that we don’t have to deal with any of our own issues. But that is not a gospel-response. 

A gospel response is HUMILITY. It’s MEEKNESS.


Rob Tims

Rob is Teaching Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.