What does Matthew 5:5 mean?



“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”. Matthew 5:5

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus opens with a series of statements known as the Beatitudes. The third Beatitude is “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Jesus’ words echo Psalm 37:11, which says, “The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.”


The Greek word translated “blessed” in this verse can also be translated “happy.” The idea is that a person will have joy if he or she is meek. The blessedness is from God’s perspective, not our own. It is a spiritual prosperity, not necessarily an earthly happiness.


The Greek word translated “meek” is praeis and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. Other forms of this Greek word are used elsewhere in the New Testament, including James 1:21 and James 3:13. Meekness is humility toward God and toward others. It is having the right or the power to do something but refraining for the benefit of someone else. The Lord described Moses in this manner..


“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3 - The Lords use of meek, is power under control.


“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” Ephesians 4:1–2


Meekness models the humility of Christ, which was also demonstrated by godly leaders in the Old Testament.

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6–8


It may seem counterintuitive, but Jesus’ promise stands—a meek person will be happy or blessed. Living in humility and being willing to forego one’s rights for the benefit of someone else models the attitude of Christ.

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© 2020 Tony - Antonakis Maritis