9th February 2023

Meekness and Majesty

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Matthew 21:5 (KJV)

Whilst travelling down to the West Country I passed a sign to Middle Wallop. I wondered whether there was a Little Wallop and a Great Wallop as well. I looked it up on the map when I got back and found there are indeed three Wallops but the other two are called Over Wallop and Nether Wallop.

The Wallop villages sit on the banks of a river, recorded in the Doomsday book, and at that time Wallop meant a village in the valley, with a stream. So it doesn’t mean that you are at risk of being thumped when you enter one of the villages. The evolution of Old English to modern English has meant that the name has lost its original meaning and metamorphosed into another one. Words change meaning over time which can lead to confusion.

We have a similar problem in the Bible because some of our words do not reflect the meaning of the Greek. Take our headline scripture for example. In the King James translation Matthew calls Jesus meek. Modern translations use humble or lowly instead perhaps because to modern ears someone who is meek is often thought of as just a puny pushover. 

But Jesus was no weakling. The Sermon on the Mount includes the same word when Jesus told the crowd that the meek would inherit the earth. If they knew their scriptures, the listeners would have known that Jesus was referring back to Psalm 37:11. So if we take a look at the Psalm, we find that it describes what it means to be meek. It’s quite a list: the meek don’t get angry or fret over injustice. They don’t rail against evil people who prosper in this world. They don’t envy those who have ‘ill-gotten’ wealth. Rather they trust in God, they delight in their relationship with him, and commit their lives to him. They willingly, quietly and patiently wait, knowing that God will act and put things right.

Jesus was the epitome of meekness. As he rode into Jerusalem, he would place himself into the hands of God, which meant placing himself in the hands of evildoers. He was the means by which God was going to put things right, to make an end to evil, and to make a way for the meek of the world to inherit the earth – with him, the great and glorious King. 

Saviour, you committed no sin, nor was deceit found in your mouth. When you were reviled, you did not revile in return; when you suffered, you did not threaten, but committed yourself to Him who judges righteously. You bore our sins in your own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness,1 and inherit the world with you, as our meek and majestic King. Amen. 

Study by Hilary Buck

1 adapted from 1 Peter 2:22-24 (NKJV)


About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:00 am 

Local congregational contact:
Hilary Buck
Email:  lewes@gracecom.church
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