Matt. 5:6 ¶ “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Jesus was a master with His use of words. It was said that no one ever spoke like He did. The sermon on the mount is one of His masterpieces. No one can ever top or even approach the great teachings of Jesus. It takes a lifetime to begin to comprehend the very beginning of His teachings. Today’s verse is one of the most profound statements ever uttered. It will take our lifetime to try to comprehend the depths of this apparent simple verse. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Are you satisfied with your life? Are you happy or as Jesus said, blessed (makarios) with your life? Jesus said that we could be and we would find this happiness in the strangest of all places; we find it in the pursuit of the righteousness of God. This pursuit was the very thrust of the lifelong quest of Martin Luther. He hungered for that elusive righteousness of God. He found it not in himself but in a gift that he received. It was the gift of salvation received only by faith. Here is how this verse is explained in The Fire Bible.
“The foundational requirement for all godly living is to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Such hunger is seen in Moses, the psalm writer and the great missionary, Paul. The spiritual condition of Christians all throughout their lives will depend on their hunger and thirst for (a) the presence of God, (b) the Word of God, (c) the interaction and friendship of Christ, (d) the companionship, guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit, (e) righteousness, (f) God’s power and (g) the return of the Christ.”
Luther actually said at one point in his career as a monk that he hated the righteousness of God. It seemed so damning and impossible to attain to. No matter how hard he tried he could never “feel” like he had become righteous. He says that he beat upon Paul’s writings about the righteousness of God until the day that he “got it”. He finally understood that righteousness or perfection could never be accomplished by a man’s endeavors. There was only one perfect being. Perfection or righteousness could never be the results of our efforts, it had to be received as a gift by faith. That was it, simple but incredibly profound. This was the revelation that converted a monk and birthed the Protestant Reformation.