“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Is it better to be right or righteous? As citizens of the new order God is creating, are you hungering and thirsting for a life of righteousness or only seeking to be right?
Let’s put righteousness into context in Matthew’s Gospel. When Jesus spoke the words of this beatitude, the prevailing attitude toward righteousness was centered in the temple and the synagogue. Righteousness was measured in terms of attendance, contributions, and obedience to rules and traditions.
Righteousness had more to do with believing the right things than being in healthy relationships with God and people. You experienced righteousness as something uncomfortable but necessary if people wanted to get along with respectable people.
In other words, righteousness was based upon reward. People did the right things so they would be seen and praised as being good and respectable.
Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness
As followers of Jesus, those of God’s new order submitted themselves to God. Followers of Jesus have a deep and genuine desire for the righteousness of God, instead of a mock hunger for what was falsely branded as righteousness.
Furthermore, the hunger described in this beatitude is no small twinge of hunger that can be satisfied with a mid-morning snack. It is not a thirst satisfied by a cup of coffee, iced tea, or Diet Coke. It is the hunger of the person who is starving for food, and of the person who will die unless there is water to drink.
There’s much more to this beatitude. Listen to explore the meaning of this beatitude from the Gospel of Matthew. Find all the episodes in this series at https://transformingmission.org/podcast