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The Sermon on the Mount Pt. 1 – Lesson 3: Meekness & Hunger

“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.” —Matthew 11:29

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55


Meekness comes from the Greek word prautes and carries an interesting meaning. As Spiros Zodhiates states, “Prautes is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness not in weakness but power. It is a virtue born in strength of character.” In our culture, meekness is associated with weakness. However, in God’s economy, meekness is strength. Jesus Christ was referred to as meek, and He certainly isn’t weak. Moses was referred to as the meekest man to ever live, yet he was one of the greatest human leaders the world has seen.

Meekness doesn’t so much have to do with exercising human strength, but rather having God exercise His strength through us. When we’re walking in the Spirit, then the gentleness of Christ should be seen in all we do. Why are the meek blessed? They have come to a place in their Christian maturity that manipulation, force, and human authority can’t compare to the authority of gentleness in the Spirit.

After meekness, Christ speaks to those who hunger and thirst. Notice that Christ doesn’t say “hunger” or “thirst” exclusively—He mentions them both (Matthew 5:6). Why? Our hunger is symbolic of wanting more of God’s Word and our thirsting is symbolic of wanting more of God’s Spirit. If we don’t hunger and thirst, then the righteousness we’re craving will be incomplete. Either it will be a righteousness of legalism or a righteousness of experience. Not only do we need to be washed by the Word, we need to be filled with the Spirit. Together, the Word and Spirit form a perfect diet.

For the hungry and thirsty, God has promised filling. When we crave the righteousness of God, He won’t leave us empty—we will receive greater measures of His Word and Spirit. God is the source of complete satisfaction, and the fulfillment we find in Him will ultimately be realized when we put on His righteousness once and for all in the resurrection.

Lesson Questions:

  1. How should meekness be defined, in light of the following scriptures? Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Act 7:59-60; John 13:1-5.
  2. What promises are made to the meek? How do these promises become an active, consistent part of our Christian lives? Psalm 22:6; 149:4; Isaiah 29:19; Matthew 5:5.
  3. Matthew 5:5 says the meek shall inherit the earth. Why did Jesus specifically point out that the meek would inherit the earth?
    Note: In this context, the “earth” is representative not only of the physical earth, but the fullness of God’s coming Kingdom. Our promise of eternal life and God’s coming Kingdom has always gone hand-in-hand with an earthly inheritance. Those who walk in meekness are the servants of the Lord, which means they inherit the blessings of Abraham, or the coming Kingdom of God (Genesis 17:1-8; Galatians 3:29; Psalm 37:22; Proverbs 10:30).
  4. What can we learn from the meekness of Christ? Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23; Matthew 26:51-54. Discuss Christ’s meekness in relation to His zeal as seen in Matthew 23:1-39 and Mark 11:15-17. Is there a contradiction between His meekness and zeal?
  5. What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness? Philippians 3:8-14; Psalm 73:25; 63:1; 139:23-24; 1 Peter 2:2. How can we quench our hunger and thirst for righteousness? John 4:13-14; 7:37-38.
  6. What fulfillment is promised when we hunger and thirst after righteousness? Psalm 36:7-9; Isaiah 55:1-3; John 4:14; Revelation 7:16; Ephesians 3:19. Will our desire for righteousness ever be truly satisfied? Psalm 17:14-15; 1 John 3:2.
  7. Why is it important to realize that “our” righteousness isn’t ours, but Christ’s? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Proverbs 20:9; Romans 3:21-25.

Life Application:

For the next week, write down all the times you could have shown meekness, but didn’t. Then prayerfully consider how you should have responded and commit yourself to these new responses.

Make an assessment of your spiritual hunger. Do you honestly want to pray and read the Word? Are you convicted when your motives aren’t right? How often do you examine your witness to others?