When you’re physically hungry, the desire to eat is so overwhelming you can hardly think about anything else. Jesus is counting on that experience in this beatitude. The truly fortunate ones long for that which is missing in this life which only the kingdom of God can fulfill: holiness.
- The Sermon on the Mount is a very important body of teaching given by Jesus at a time when he was very popular.
- Jesus intends to show his disciples the issues they will face if they want to be children of God.
- Jesus contrasts his teaching with the teaching of the Pharisees.
- Luke 6 is the same sermon given in shorter version. We can use Luke to understand Matthew and vice versa.
- Jesus speaks cryptically. He makes concise provocative statements that we must think about to understand.
- Jesus makes strong categorical, black and white statements that ultimately reflect the end of a process of struggle, growth and maturity.
- In the beatitudes, Jesus confronts us with fundamental convictions of saving faith.
Each beatitude has 4 features:
- A beatitude tells us WHO is blessed.
- A beatitude tells us WHY such a person is blessed.
- A beatitude tells us ONLY these people are blessed.
- There is something surprising or ironic about these people being blessed.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.” – Luke 6:21
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.” – Luke 6:25
- When you are physically hungry, you have an overwhelming desire to eat. After eating, you are satisfied and the desire goes away.
- Luke’s version emphasizes the hunger is now and the satisfaction is in the future.
- No one understands this beatitude to be literal hunger.
- In Scripture, hunger and thirst are sometimes used metaphorically to represent powerful desires (e.g. Psalm 42:1-3; Amos 8:11).
- If we didn’t have Matthew’s version, it’s still plausible to understand Luke as saying: The truly fortunate ones are those who long for that which is missing in this life which only the kingdom of God can bring.
- When the kingdom of God comes, God is going to free His people from the sin in their hearts and grant them a place in His kingdom where the Messiah rules in justice and righteousness. The people of God are marked by a deep longing for that day.
- The Greek word δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē (Strongs G1343) is the word that we have here in Matthew. It is usually translated “righteousness” or “justification.”
- The related noun δικαιοσ dikaios is typically translated “righteous,” “just,” or “justified.”
- Something has dikaiosune if it is “in the right” and therefore acceptable.
- Something does not have dikaiosune if it is in the wrong and therefore rejected.
- “Rightness” versus “wrongness” is the unifying idea behind all the various uses of this word.
In biblical terms, the question “am I righteous?” (or do I have δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē ?) can have at least 3 different meanings. The same Greek word is used for all 3 meanings.
Am I righteous? Or do I have δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē?
|Asking in context:||Synonym||In this sense, the “righteous” are:||When|
|Am I forgiven or condemned?||justification||right with God because their sins are forgiven||present reality|
|Am I spiritually blind or hard-hearted?||saved or|
born again; antonym:
|those whose hearts are rightly oriented to God||present reality|
|Am I morally perfect or morally corrupt?||holiness||right with God by virtue of a perfect moral character. Only Jesus is righteous in this sense.||future hope|
- Biblical Greek uses the Greek word δικαιοσύνη dikaiosunē with all 3 of these meanings.
- It’s unlikely Matthew means either justification or being born again because those are true of people of faith today.
- People of faith are “righteous sinners” because we are both justified sinners and born-again sinners. But we are not holy sinners.
- Being made holy is our future hope and it will only be granted in the kingdom of God.
The fortunate ones are those in the seemingly undesirable situation of being spiritually hungry. This may seem surprising in the short run because they experience a profound, painful longing for holiness the way a starving man feels profound, painful longing for food. But those who long for holiness are actually in a highly desirable situation because holiness is the thing all of us need most, and they and they alone be satisfied. They will be freed from their sins and made holy in the kingdom of God.
- The first 4 beatitudes are closely related.
- The poor in spirit know that they are morally bankrupt; they lack holiness.
- The ones who mourn have an appropriate sorrow over their sinfulness or lack of holiness.
- The meek are not presumptuous; they wait patiently for God to make them holy.
- Those who long for holiness will be made holy in the kingdom of God.
- Saving faith is not obedience, loyalty or dedication to God.
- Saving faith is not believing the right doctrines or passing a theology test.
- Saving faith is not believing something without reason.
- Saving faith is knowing I am sinful, knowing God owes me nothing, longing to be freed from my sin, and trusting that God will make forgive me and make me holy because of the work of Jesus Christ.
- The fortunate ones know they are sinful; they grieve because they lack are still sinful and lack holiness; they humbly wait on God to rescue them from their lack of holiness and long for the day when God fulfills that promise. They are fortunate because they will be made holy in the kingdom of God.