The Lion and the Lamb
Do you think you understand the word, meek? My guess is that you have a distorted view of its’ true meaning since culture has made it synonymous with passivity. In this piece by MC Williams (fellow cop and Bible teacher), you will discover the true meaning of the word; and hopefully, you will seek to be meek in your personal and professional life.
The Lion and the Lamb
By MC Williams
Those who only see Jesus as the “meek” (I’ll explain that word — stay with me) and gentle Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36) forget that He is also the fierce and mighty Lion of Judah described in Revelation 5:4-5. How do we resolve the two? Let’s start with stating that when Jesus said, ” I am meek and lowly ” (Matthew 11:29), He did not mean that He is soft, timid, or weak. Rather, He is “power under control!”
I’ll be honest: humility and meekness is not always my strong suit (I’m working on it…in Christ). But Christ’s meek ness and humility — and the example we must follow — reveals much about His matchless power, love and humility. When He took on flesh, Jesus restrained His power — power that can create from nothing and utterly destroy everything — choosing instead mercy, love and grace. When tempted, He remained without sin. When spat upon, He did not retaliate. Knowing His disciples would forsake Him, He washed their feet (the ultimate example of servant-leadership — John 13:1-17). What takes more power than to leave the glory of heaven and come to earth to save and serve undeserving sinners like you and I?
Don’t misunderstand: Jesus — His three-year ministry on Earth as “God with skin on” — also had moments where He expressed righteous anger. He rebuked the Pharisees for their religious legalism. He overturned the tables of those who had turned His Father’s house into a corrupt marketplace. Whenever we see Jesus respond in anger, it is always righteous and appropriate (the proper meaning of the words from Proverbs 28:1 under the lion on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC — see ” Bold as Lions “). Moreover, His righteous warriorhood is repeatedly displayed both in the Old ( Exodus 15:3 , for starters) and New Testaments (see ” The Lord is a Warrior “).
Jesus is not a passive teacher, a detached guru, or a peace-loving hippie. In Revelation 1:12-18 , we read that the glorified Christ has eyes of blazing fire, feet of bronze, a voice like rushing waters, a face like the sun, and a sword coming out of His mouth! This image made the apostle John fall at his feet as though dead, and it should fill us with awe and wonder that such a great and holy God would give His life for us. And what an example for us as modern-day servant-warriors (the God-ordained peace officers of Romans 13:1-4 ) to follow!
Much as the biblical term ” peacemaker ” Jesus spoke of in His “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5:9 is not about us as cops (unless…see ” Blessed are the Peacemakers? “), His use of the word ” meek ” (“blessed are the meek…” ) in Matthew 5:5-9 is often much misunderstood as well. The Greek word Jesus used here is ” praus ” (prah-oos). Frankly, it is nearly impossible to translate praus with just one English word (meek). Biblically understood, it carries the concept of “strength and power under control.” Whose control? God’s control!
Expanding on this further, the literal interpretation of “praus ” was used to define a wild horse broken and trained for battle — a cavalry war horse. In that time, wild horses were brought down from the mountains, broken for riding and trained for various tasks. Some were used to pull wagons or other labor; some were trained for racing; but the very best were trained for warfare. They retained their fierce spirit, courage, and power, but were disciplined to respond to the slightest nudge or pressure of the rider’s leg or tug on a chariot’s reins. A well-trained cavalry warhorse could charge into battle at 35 miles per hour and carry an armored warrior to a sliding stop at a word or touch. They were not easily frightened by arrows, spears, fire or (later) explosions. In short, a properly BROKEN warhorse was said to be “meeked.”
Over the centuries, the secrets of “meeking” (training/breaking) such animals was passed from the Mongols to the Greeks, the Roman legions (thus “the Centurion”), the Moors (Muslims), the medieval knights, etc. Today, we still see this kind of trained “meekness” in police mounted units such as the one I worked with in New Mexico: incredibly disciplined and immensely powerful draft horses that can quickly quell riots, disperse unruly crowds and be used to control the worst offenders (they can pin a violent suspect against a wall or another horse and make them completely powerless without injuring them). Of course, we can also see this kind of meeked power in certain police K-9s and in sheepdogs (see the sheepdog link in the first line in this and every newsletter — borrowed from my friend, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman ).
To be meeked, then, was to be taken from a state of wild rebellion and made completely loyal to, and dependent upon, one’s master. It is also to be taken from an atmosphere of fearfulness and made unflinching in the presence of danger. Warhorses were trained to run full speed into enemy spears and shield walls. Later they charged into the face of exploding cannon and gunfire (as Lord Tennyson expressed in his poem, ” The Charge of the Light Brigade ” at the Battle of Balaclava).
Like these “meeked” warhorses, God is calling His faithful to be submissive but not spineless; to embody what pastor Samuel Whatley describes as “power under control and strength with forbearance.” Likewise, when Paul speaks of the “… meekness and gentleness of Christ …” in 2 Corinthians 10:1, he is describing this kind of obedient, loving and controlled power. That same call is extended to Christian LEOs (and believers in general) to submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and demonstrate power under control — to “meekly” love, defend and deliver the weak and powerless, and to rebuke the oppressor ( Psalm 82:3-4 and Isaiah 1:17 ).
Teaching on this, noted 16th Century Bible commentator Matthew Poole wrote, “The meek, who can be angry, but restrain their wrath in obedience to the will of God, and will not be angry unless they can be angry and not sin, nor will be easily provoked by others.” Does this not sound like our role as well-trained, disciplined police officers?
Pastor and Bible teacher David Guzik adds to this when he writes, “To be meek means to show willingness to submit and work under proper authority. It shows a willingness to disregard one’s own ‘rights’ and privileges. It is one thing for me to admit my own spiritual bankruptcy, but what if someone else does it for me? Do I react meekly?” He then adds, “They are meek before God, in that they submit to His will and conform to His Word. They are meek before men, in that they are strong — yet also humble, gentle, patient, and longsuffering.” Sounds like a well-trained (meeked) cop/sheepdog to me!
The whole context of God’s Word revealed that Peter, and most of the men and women who were Biblical heroes of the faith, had to learn meekness. Again, and being transparent with you, I can relate to Peter. Meekness was not my strength an unbeliever or “make-believer” serving in law enforcement and the military, and it is not something that comes naturally for me since I’ve been born again in Christ (a Christian as God defines it). Instead, like a wild, stubborn horse, God had to break me — to bring me under submission — in order to “meek” me into a useful “war horse” or His Kingdom and glory. Have I arrived? Not even close! And I continue to seek His ongoing breaking and training (growing in the Lord — the biblical process of a believer’s sanctification ) today.
Let me tell you — that breaking (at least in my case) — was and frankly is a long and painful process. Praise God, I — like every true believer — have the Holy Spirit to help train me, discipline me, guide me, intercede for me, and yes, comfort and encourage me.
And Peter? When he first met Jesus, Peter was not meek. He had his heart set on selfish ideas, but his submitted training and yes, breaking under the servant-leadership of ” The Lion and Lamb ” changed that, as did Peter’s continuing sanctification under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Understand that Peter did not lose his sense of courage or confidence when he grew in meekness. Rather, God broke and re-molded Peter’s heart so that he began to reflect the love, strength and mercy of God (power under control and quiet confidence in Christ).
Finally, and while it is covered in the links I shared above, understand that Jesus, as the Lamb of God , willingly gave up His life as a perfect, sacrificial lamb to pay the penalty for our sin (our “crimes”), thus ransoming us from Satan’s grasp. Again, see ” Lamb of God ” for more.
Brethren, God is training (and, if need be, breaking) us for spiritual and physical use and warfare behind Christ our Captain so that we can both love/protect the hurting and lost while also charging into battle behind Him against the forces of this world (the lawless one — the devil) and yes, even against our own flesh. May God break us and train us up to be as meek as war horses!
PRAYER: “Lord, You are the lion and the lamb, holy and humble, just and merciful. Thank You that You care for me—that You exert Your power for my good out of Your grace. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.”
He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, . . . Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name , . . .” (Philippians 2:7, 9).
Believer, are you submitted unto God’s training and breaking? If not, repent and come back into His “corral” to be re-broken and retrained under His gentle hand. Likewise, if you’ve never surrendered in faith to Christ as Lord and Savior, NOW is the time to do so (scroll down to the ” Know God? ” section below)!
Need more? As always, you’re welcome to reach out to me personally: email me at [email protected].
(Feature image: US Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe)