“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:6-9 ESV)
This begins the 2nd half of the beatitudes. Verse 6 really gets to the heart of all of them. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. To understand what Jesus is getting at with the use of this word, we look it’s fuller context. What does righteousness look like? I have tended to think of it in terms of standing before God, which it is, but there is more to just our legal standing. The beatitudes speak of attitudes, motivations, passions, and actions. Being merciful and peacemaker involve our actions toward others. But they also point to an underlying love for your neighbor. These aren’t actions done just to conform to an external law. They show a sympathy and compassion for others. It is a righteousness that longs to see restoration of people and society. To hunger and thirst for this is to be driven towards it, just as you would in the desert for water. These beatitudes describe the citizen of God’s kingdom. As Jesus continues to expound this righteousness through the rest of the sermon on the mount we begin to see the law of God in a new way, a way that is beautiful as it reflects a kingdom that longs and strives for shalom. It also highlights all the more our need for a redeemer who can usher it in. The more see the beauty of this society that Jesus describes, the more we see the ugliness of ours own.
Lord, would you mold us into the attitudes and actions of the sermon on the mount, that we might cling to Jesus all the more, and drive towards the society that Jesus comes to produce.