May 23, 2021
The Beatitudes – Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst | Matthew 5:6
On May 23, 2021, Pastor Eric pursued his series on the beatitudes.
In Matthew 5:6, Jesus says,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
In this verse, Jesus is referring to a spiritual hunger and thirst: a runaway impulse towards righteousness. In other words, having a desire so intense that if you do not fulfill it, something in you will die.
Many people are hungry and sometimes our hunger can be misguided. Some people hunger for prestige, power, fame, status, recognition, affection, etc., but they are looking to quench their hunger in the wrong places. Others are indifferent. They are not hungry. They are not thirsty. They do not desire to increase their knowledge of Jesus Christ and abide in His grace.
There are three groups of people who are not hungry: the dead, the sick and those who are filled. When we are hungry and thirsty, we look to quench our hunger and thirst. Appetites aren’t satisfied until we quench our hunger. If you are hungry and thirsty for God, you will spend more time reading His Word. You will also spend more time worshipping Him and praying to Him. The hunger for God will make you do something to fulfill that need.
What does it mean to be hungry and thirsty for righteousness? (Matthew 5:6)
1. Righteousness needs to be a priority.
Matthew 6:33 says we are to desire and search for God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and when we do, Jesus promises that our essential needs will be met. This is something we need to put at the top of our priority list.
2. Righteousness needs to be practiced.
In Matthew 6:1, Jesus warns us that if we do our good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, we will get no reward in heaven. The practice of righteousness referred to at the beginning of Matthew, chapter 6 is prayer, generosity and fasting. In other words, every time we pray, share, tithe, help someone, give to the poor, show generosity, we are practicing our righteousness. Only Jesus can make us righteous. When we come to faith through Christ, we are right with God, not based on anything we’ve done, but based on the work Jesus did on the cross.
3. Righteousness needs to be persecuted.
Matthew 5:10 If your faith is being persecuted, you are putting God’s Word into practice. And if you are putting God’s Word into practice, people will notice your righteous life. They will see your good works. Some will approve of your righteous life and praise God, and others will persecute you for it. We need to prioritize our righteousness and practice our righteousness to the point of being persecuted. Jesus warned us not to do our good deeds in front of others, but some things we do will be noticed. Our righteousness needs to be visible. People will know we are Christians by our character; our works of righteousness; the love we have for one another; the way we live, and because we are not afraid to say we are Christians.
4. Righteousness needs to be personal.
In Matthew 5:20, The scribes and Pharisees, who often condemned people, did not do their good deeds out of passion. Rather, they chose to follow traditions to the letter. They added to God’s law and saw their traditions as equal to God’s commandments and because of this, they often missed out on mercy and justice. They did a good deed because they didn’t want to look bad or because everyone else did it. Righteousness needs to be personal and it needs to be prioritized.
How intense is your desire for God’s righteousness? Our hunger and thirst should be for Jesus Christ, so that we may walk in His footsteps. As we follow Him, we will become more and more like Him. And only then, will our righteousness be satisfied.