Sermon Text: Matthew 5:5
Anyone who reads or hears today’s Beatitude has to deal first with the troublesome word “meek” in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and others, like the King James Version. Numbers 12:3 in the Revised Standard Version describes Moses as “very meek,” but the Hebrew there would be better translated as “very humble,” so that’s not going to help us today. Jesus’ use of the word means something different.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word meek” I find it a little disgusting. In English, “meek” seems to mean timid. Webster says it means “deficient in spirit and courage.” Other adjectives that seem to fit are docile, cowardly, compliant, weak and ineffectual, wimpy, timid, unadventurous, bland, soft, squishy, indecisive and submissive. Casper Milquetoast was a comic strip character created in 1927 by H.B. Webster for a cartoon series called “The Timid Soul.” Webster said of Milquetoast, he is “the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.” He appears on a Christmas card that says, “If you won’t think it presumptuous of me I’d like to – uh er - - wish you a merry – or at least as reasonably pleasant a Christmas as we are entitled to, things- um er – being what they are.” I’m also reminded of Christopher Reeves’ portrayal of Clark Kent in the Superman movies. Is this what Jesus means when he says “the meek”? Read full sermon here (PDF)