Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Many of us are so familiar with the words of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we may quickly glide over His words without fully realizing the depth of what He spoke in teaching His disciples about the nature of life in the kingdom. The sermon begins with “Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn… Blessed are the meek.” Jesus reveals that true, deep contentment is directly related to being contrite and broken in spirit with an overwhelming grief in mourning our sinfulness. As we are truly broken over our sin and meek before a holy God, we come in utter dependence upon Him, understanding that there is nothing we can do in ourselves to gain or inherit anything. In doing so, we hunger and thirst for righteousness that which only He can give.
God has placed within us a deep longing and desire for Himself and for His righteousness – a longing that only He can fill. However, we so often try to satisfy this need with temporal things such as pleasure and possessions, things that become idols that rarely ever pacify and certainly never truly satisfy. Jeremiah 2:13 states, “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” God has made man with a thirst and a hunger for Him, but man refuses the well of living water and makes himself broken cisterns unable to hold water.
Deep thirst and hunger is difficult for most of us to fully comprehend. We most likely think of hunger as occurring when we eating at 1:00 instead of noon. Even when our hunger and thirst involve this slight discomfort, though, they are still a constant reminder to us of our need. They may impact our ability to focus on other things. However, the hunger and thirst that Jesus speaks is so much more intense, indicated by the powerful Greek verbs in the passage. The verbs specifically refer to suffering of extreme hunger and thirst. In addition, they reveal hunger and thirst that is continuous.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” The righteousness for which we hunger and thirst is God’s righteousness, revealed in Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of Life. Our hunger and thirst are satisfied in our relationship with God and also in the actions resulting from our relationship, as Christ in us propels us to be “salt” and “light.” John Piper said, “Deep and lasting satisfaction for our souls comes not from the delights of the world, nor from a merely religious or vertical relationship with God. Satisfaction comes from God to those whose passion in life is to know him in the struggle to be like him in the world.” It involves both our salvation and sanctification.
So, what do you hunger for? Things that will not satisfy, or Jesus Christ and His righteousness? As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection this week, may we bow before Him in utter awe of His holiness, ever mindful of our brokenness, sin, and need for Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we truly hunger and thirst for righteousness. May it be a deepening and continual hunger and thirst as we find our satisfaction in Him and He is glorified. May we find our deepest satisfaction not in things of the world, but in Jesus Christ alone. May our hunger and thirst for righteousness deepen our relationship with Him, deeper our understanding of what God has done for us through Christ, and propel us to be salt and light for the glory of God and the spread of His kingdom!