The Didache 12 – Be Meek

This series is reflecting on the Didache if you want to read it separately.

Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.

I’ve heard and read many speak about the word and concepts I gather are here translated “meek”. It’s my understanding that it’s a word like “nous” in Greek. It simply doesn’t translate easily into English in a single word. I look at the longer description above and I think of what is called the “kenosis” of Jesus.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus lowered himself to become one of us. And even by our standards, he made himself lowly. He did not return evil for evil. He did not revile in turn.

But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
“ Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

Jesus sought out the weak, the scorned, and the powerless. He taught that the last shall be first and the least the greatest.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
They said to Him, “We are able.”
So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized;  but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John.  But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Some might turn the last sentence from the Teaching into a form of fatalism. It can be made into a Christian form of insha’Allah. However, I believe that is a mistake. Rather, it points to a matter of trust. Ours is a God who is not responsible for evil, but who brings good from evil. The story of Joseph is one of many which illustrates that reality. We also believe that God desires all to be for our salvation. In the end, we simply don’t know why. We are finite. God is not. We are not God. God is. I’m reminded here of Job. He demanded a single thing of God, the answer to a one word question, “Why?” And when God finally does speak and respond, he doesn’t actually answer that question at all. Job is rendered silent by the answer nevertheless.

God is God and we’re not. Will we trust God?

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