“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt 5:6).
How much hunger, and how much thirst? How much righteousness is required for this blessing? How will they be filled? With what will they be filled?
The Beatitudes are really descriptions of the person of Christ himself. They depict his life from the poverty of his birth to his persecution and death at the command of Pilate and the Sanhedrin. Each Beatitude describes not only a part of his character but a portion of his life’s journey. All of the Beatitudes paint a living portrait of Jesus, the blessed and righteous one of Psalm 1. He is the only one who has never walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the path of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers! He was that tree firmly planted by streams of water, yielding the perennial fruit of righteousness.
Thus, in fulfillment of the blessed righteous man of Psalm 1, he receives all the blessings of makarios, and the fruit of those blessings. The kingdom of heaven is already his for the poverty of his spirit. His mourning and lament over humanity’s sin and death has been comforted by the millions who have believed on his work and grasped onto his benefits. For his meekness, he has already inherited the earth. He was filled by the Spirit as he hungered and thirsted for righteousness. He was shown mercy, as he showed mercy to us on the cross. He not only has seen God, but as God himself now sits on the throne of God in the purity of his also human heart. He has made peace between God and humanity and thus stands before the Father in the uniqueness of his sonship. He has been persecuted unto death, which he entered willingly, only to emerge into the kingdom of heaven leading captivity captive. Indeed, his reward has been great in heaven. On earth he was insulted, persecuted, and slandered by those who pursued righteousness. Yet he not only pursued it on their behalf, but attained all the righteousness they sought, plus more than enough for the unrighteous.
Thus, all who believe in his name, are imputed the entirety of his life. In consequence, they stand before God as makarios, received into the kingdom as “the blessed of the Father.” All the fruit of his righteousness is already theirs and by faith alone! We are indeed blessed and filled.
Seeing all the beatitudes as a description of the righteousness for which he hungered and thirsted gives new meaning to the fourth beatitude. Blessed are we, for we are filled by the cornucopia of Christ’s righteousness. We need not fret over how much hunger and how much thirst we need to have to receive his righteousness. In him we have truly hungered, in him, we have truly thirsted, and through his faith alone, our cup of righteousness – his righteousness – has overflowed with the springs of his constantly flowing waters. His righteousness overwhelms us like the river in Ezekiel’s vision overwhelmed the prophet (Ezekial 47). In those deep and wide waters, we are baptized, sanctified, and justified with his righteousness alone.
Blessed are we, for we are filled by the cornucopia of Christ’s righteousness.
At least twice during his ministry, Jesus took symbols of his righteousness cornucopia, and tipped them upside down, feeding thousands to abundance. There was always plenty more leftover, more than enough for all humanity before and after, including you and me. It’s an unexpected righteousness, one that at first strikes us with unbelief and doubtful wonder. But when we dare “taste and see” our hunger and thirst are quenched. We thought like the disciples that there must be some human way possible to obtain it, no matter how far-fetched the idea. “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy.” But then, what would we earn for our effort? Our effort to wander into far-off deeds and empty works, seeking to establish our own righteousness? Death. That’s the bread we buy! Even for thinking we can trot into town and buy it for ourselves in multiples of five-thousands!
God has magnified and multiplied the riches of his grace in Jesus Christ. His righteousness is available in cornucopia quantities to all by grace through faith alone. It’s offered in overwhelmingly abundant quantities to the worst self-accused and law condemned sinners on the face of the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”