Blessed Are the Lowly — Matthew 5:5

"Blessed are the lowly, for they shall be comforted." Jesus's beatitude in Matthew 5:5 is the opposite to what many in our world think today.

Blessed Are the Lowly — Matthew 5:5
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash



This beatitude is the opposite to what many in our world thinks today.

Review of Matthew 5:3–4

  • Matthew 5:3–12 is our Lord Jesus's description of all of his true disciples.
  • We, the poor in spirit, understand our bankrupt spiritual state when we look to God.
  • And because we are spiritually destitute, we mourn over sin’s power and penalty which allows us to be comforted by God.

Review of the word "blessed"

  • Means more than just being happy from good circumstance.
  • It means spiritual “bliss”
  • Refers to a spiritual well-being; approved by God
  • μακάριος is used 13x in Matthew

1. The Lowly Defined

"Blessed are the lowly" (v.5a)

  • “gentle” (NASB), “meek” (NIV). “humble”
  • pertaining to not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate, meek. [BDAG]
  • Martyn Lloyd Jones clarifies that lowliness does not mean (1) indolence or laziness, (2) flabbiness, (3) easy-going, (4) niceness, or (5) weakness. Lowliness is not an outward manner but an inward spirit. [1]
  • Lowliness is the absence of pride.

2. The Lowly Exemplified

  • Lowly is translated from the Greek adjective πραΰς which is used 4x in NT (3x in Matthew)

A. Example of a Gentle and Quiet Spirit

  • “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on garments; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible quality of a lowly and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Pet 3:3–4)
    • A lowly wife is not preoccupied with drawing attention to self.

B. Example of Jesus, the Second Person of the Triune God

  • “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Matt 11:29)
    • The “gentle” are those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength.[2]
    • Jesus is King, yet he is mounted on a donkey.

3. The Lowly Contrasted

  • There is univeral agreement that Jesus here is referencing Psalm 37.
  • David's main message in Psalm 37:1–11 is to “not be envious of evildoers.”
  1. Do not fret when evildoers go unpunished.
  • “Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward doers of unrighteouness. For they will wither quickly like the grass.” (Ps 37:1–2a)
  1. Do not fret when evildoers prosper.
  • "Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way" (Ps 37:7b)
  1. Do not fret which leads to sinful anger.
  • "Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off." (Ps 37:8–9a)

  • David, the author of Psalm 37, had dealt with the Philistines, King Saul, and his son Absolom.

4. The Lowly Equated

But those who hope for Yahweh, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; you will look carefully at his place, and he will not be there. But the lowly will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant peace. (Ps 37:8–11)

The lowly hope for Yahweh

5. The Lowly Endowed

"for they shall inherit the earth." (v.5b)
The “inheritance of the land (earth)” is not present but future

  • Gen 12:1–3 – “land which I will show you” refers to Canaan
  • Gen 13:14–17 – “for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your seed forever.”
    The OT readers may have thought the benefits are of this present world. But the Christian's blessing is more than just an earthly endowment and inheritance.
  • Psalm 37:11 and Isaiah 61:7
  • Rom 4:13 – “for the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
  • Heb 11:16 – “But now, they aspire to a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He prepared a city for them.”
    The lowly, in contrast to the evildoers, from the beginning of human history until the end of time, will receive a heavenly inheritance associated with the kingdom of heaven.


  • The lowly is not prideful and self-impressed by one's self-importance.
  • The lowly does not assert himself over others or demand his rightful position.
  • The lowly does not follow the ways of the evildoer.
  • The lowly hopes for Yahweh and waits patiently for God to judge.
  • The lowly trusts in God's promises and will inherit God's eternal, heavenly blessing.


  1. To be lowly is not a human effort.
  • Lowliness [humility, meekness] is a work of the Holy Spirit.
  1. To be lowly is a logical progression from being poor in spirit and mourning over sin.
  • “But when I have that true view of myself in terms of poverty of spirit, and mourning because of my sinfulness, I am led on to see that there must be an absence of pride.”[3]
  1. To be lowly is to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Second edition. (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976), 71. ↩︎

  2. ESV Study Bible ↩︎

  3. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 72. ↩︎