Journal Entry // February 14, 2023
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (ESV)Matthew 5:6
As Jesus continues his discourse on the beatitudes, those that are blessed and approved by God, he has moved from “poor in spirit” to “mourning” to “meekness.” Now that he has explored and revealed that our nature is not only tainted by sin but is totally depraved, meaning that every area of our life and nature has been infected and is influenced by sin, Jesus next presents us with the call to pursue righteousness. As he has demonstrated that righteousness is not to be found within us, our pursuit and desire of this holiness can and only will be satisfied in his very own righteousness accomplished on the cross. It is through the cross that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. It is only by understanding our sinful heart and in humility and meekness turning to Christ in repentance and faith for cleansing and healing that we will be satisfied. Our hunger for righteousness will only be filled in Jesus. Our thirst for righteousness will only be quenched by the precious blood of Christ.
Why does Jesus choose to compare our necessary desire for righteousness to hunger and thirst? In this modern world, these two words have lost some of their meaning as Jesus originally spoke them. When I read hunger, what I interpret is hungry. I think of waking up late and having to skip breakfast so that when lunchtime rolls around I am hungrier than usual. This is not the hunger that Jesus is speaking about. Hunger is this pervasive systemic feeling of never truly having a meal that brings about satisfaction. Hunger in this sense is the notion that food is scarce and those that hunger are the ones who are never physically satiated and are always looking for that next morsel of food to sustain them on the journey.
The same is true for thirst. If I am thirsty all I need to do is go to the sink and turn on the faucet to have clean water available to me. I am surrounded by all manner of ways to quench my thirst. The thirst that Jesus is talking about is that of a sojourner who does not have access to clean water. This sojourner may go all day without even a sip of water to quench his thirst. The thirsty truly understand their dependence and need for water to live and are always on the lookout to quench this ever-present thirst.
As I meditated on this verse, I wondered why Jesus used both hunger and thirst. I would think that either would have been sufficient to get his point across. My thought is that Jesus used both hunger and thirst in this verse to convey the picture that our desire for righteousness affects every aspect of our life. This desire for righteousness is a call to seek Jesus himself and as such, it should be an all-consuming affair. My pursuit of Christ is not simply something I do in the mornings and on Sundays. It is not particular events or tasks I put on a checklist to mark off throughout the week. No, I am to hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Jesus. This desire for Jesus is to be all-consuming. Just like those that hunger are always thinking and planning for their next portion of food and just like those who thirst are always aware of their need for water and pursue it at all times, I too need to let my desire for righteousness drive me. My every thought throughout the day should be about Jesus to some degree.
To hunger and thirst after righteousness is to simply have a heart that beats in rhythm to that of my Savior. Or maybe a better way to say it is to be in a relationship with Jesus. To be so enamored by him that he is the singular object of my affection and desire. To let Jesus consume my every thought and action as hunger and thirst would. I am to live my life in a singular pursuit of Jesus and his righteousness. Why? Because I will only find satisfaction, true satisfaction, in Christ alone. There is nowhere else. Jesus alone is my satisfaction.