“See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
— Matthew 21:5
In Jesus’ statements of blessing (often called the Beatitudes) in Matthew 5:3-11, we read, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Today we equate meekness with being shy and timid. But the biblical concept of meekness is closer to gentleness. When a powerful person sets aside their power and acts humbly and gently for a better good, they are displaying meekness.
Long ago Zechariah prophesied about a king who would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. This was quite unusual because a deliverer king would normally ride a horse as a symbol of power and victory. Jesus, however, came in gentleness, freeing his people from the grip of sin and death by humbling himself and dying on a cross. And then in amazing and surprising power he rose in victory over death and the grave. He did all of this for our sake, promising new, full life forever for all who believe in him.
There is a time to use power for righteous reasons, and there is a time when it’s better to serve with gentleness. Let’s ask the Spirit to guide us in showing gentleness for Jesus’ sake.
Holy Spirit, teach us when to be strong and bold and when to be humble and gentle so that your kingdom and people may be built up. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.