For the past month we have been looking at some of the most countercultural things Jesus has said. He’s been taking what we thought was the way to the good life and showing us it’s actually over here. The good life, the thing we are all after, is found in Jesus alone.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
Jesus starts off his fourth statement of the Beatitudes with an interesting picture. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst. This past week my wife and I went on a diet where we cut out sugar, wheat, processed foods, high sodium, dairy, and basically everything else that is tasty. Let me tell you, I was hungry for some pizza and ice cream. But that’s not what Jesus is talking about here.
Jesus is probably reflecting on Psalm 42:1-2 when He says this. It says: As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Many of us have heard that Psalm before. But the problem is we have Christianized the verse, and we instead picture Bambi calmly drinking out of a quiet stream. That’s not the picture David was trying to paint. He was trying to paint a picture of an animal desperately crawling through the desert looking for water so that they could survive. Jesus is referring to the same kind of hunger and thirst. It’s a desperate, if I don’t get this I will die, kind of crazing for God.
But there’s another piece to our hunger and thirst right? Because even after you eat, drink, and are fully satisfied, you will be hungry again. You aren’t satisfied for the rest of your life after one meal or one glass of water. You need to keep eating. You need to keep drinking. That is the way we are called to hunger and thirst. It doesn’t end, and it cannot be satisfied with one taste.
So what are we supposed to hunger and thirst for? Righteousness. The righteousness Jesus is talking about here is not the righteous that comes from God that declares us righteous; that will come later. Here He is talking about having moral behavior and right motives. Righteousness is doing what is right, don’t miss this, as defined by God and with the right motives.
Simply put, Jesus is asking if we desire the right things with the right heart. Jesus is saying blessed are those that are so desperate to do the will of God that it’s the only thing of importance in their life.
Jesus again is the best example of this. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. John 4:34 The thing that filled Jesus up more than anything was to do God’s will.
Jesus says if we do this then we will be satisfied. We try on our own all the time to satisfy ourselves. But the problem is when we do that it fills us up temporarily only to let us down. When we direct our thirst to God, we will be filled and satisfied. That’s when you will have the good life. Not an easy life. But the good life full of peace and joy regardless of your circumstances.
When our hunger and thirst is satisfied by Jesus it doesn’t matter what happens in our life. The well that we are tapped into will never run dry. When our lives are centered around doing what is righteous, as defined by God, we will be satisfied. We will have peace. We will have joy. We will be content. That’s the good life.
Read the previous article in the Series: Blessed are the Meek
Read the next article in the Series: Blessed are the Merciful