Matthew 5:1-12 — To Be Hungry and Thirsty For Justice — It’s A Right Now Thing, It’s A State of Being Thing!

Posted: September 25, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew, The Beatitudes

Matthew 5:1-12 — Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be filled. Here, right here, right now, is the most challenging of the Beatitudes. There are two things that slap us in the face in this one. First, there is the present tense of it. And second, there is the state of being of it. At our church, our small groups are called to do periodic “off-the-couch” projects outside the major corporate community service projects that are to get us outside our Bible studies and put what we have learned into practice. This beatitude compels us as Christians to be forever off the couch!

The first thing that you notice here is that the verbs, hunger and thirst, are in the present tense. Not past, hungered and thirsted. Not past perfect, have hungered and have thirsted. Not future, will hunger and will thirst. Not future perfect, shall have hungered and shall have thirsted. We are to be presently hungry and thirsty for justice. So often in church and in our small groups, we are content to comment on the world as it is and say, “That’s sad!” or “man, the world is going to hell in a handbasket!” This beatitude is more than just talk. When people are hungry and thirsty presently they always seek out food to fill their hunger. Before all the fancy ways in which we live in the 21st century, much of life was spent searching for food. It was what life was all about. Hunting it. Finding it. Killing it. Preparing it. Eating it. Cleaning it up. Or we are tending to it. Growing it. Picking it. Storing it. Preparing it. Eating it. Cleaning it up. We were consumed by these activities. It was a full time job. Jesus is calling us to be consumed by seeking justice. It should be our life’s work. We should do more than every once and a while service projects that make us feel good. We should be offended by injustice. We should be offended right now, right here, and compelled into action to seek justice for our fellow man. We are not to sit on the couch. Poverty, racism, oppression, slavery and a host of other social injustices cloud out the glory of God in people’s lives and we should be offended. We should be hungry right now. We should be thirsty right now to remove all the injustices that keep people from becoming all that God intended them to be, to be able to express their God given talents in ways that bring glory to God. We should be righteously angry and compelled to action against injustice, not just occasionally, not just once in a while, not next week, but right now, hungry, right now, thirsty.

The second thing about this beatitude is that it is a state of being. We are to be constantly hungry and thirsty for justice. He did not put an end time on it. He did not say that you should be hungry and thirsty for justice until you meet this goal. We should forever be hungry and thirsty for justice. Jesus is calling us to hunger and thirst for justice in every aspect of our lives both public and private. He wants us to be a part of change in our world; to thirst and hunger for our world to be changed and become a world led by morally right, universal truths. Examples of Jesus-like thirst for justice that I can see in this world are guys like Nelson Mandela. He endured 27 years in prison for having dared to speak out against a system that is wrong. Rather than start a bloody revolution when he emerged from prison to satisfy vindictive desires, he quietly led change for the better in South Africa. He did it through forgiveness of, and working with his former captors to create a government that has now lasted far longer than anyone thought. He responded to Jesus’ call to justice. Martin Luther fought against what God’s church had become by the 15th century which was a far cry from the first century church. He fought to return it to its Christ-centered roots at the threat of prison and even death. Dr. Martin Luther King fought to end institutionalized racism, like Mandela, and influenced generations of Southerners to see each other as human beings rather than black and white. It cost him his life. Each of these men had deep faith in God and it was the desire for all men to be able to live lives that give full and complete glory to God that compelled them to change their world. We should be righteously angry and righteously hungry and righteously thirsty for justice for all mankind. We must live in an eternal state of vigilance against anything that keeps our fellow man from experiencing the full glory of God, that keeps our fellow man from experiencing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, that keeps a man from enjoying the characteristics of God (honor, justice, freedom, love, truth, loyalty, care, etc.). This should be our state of being at all times. Hungry and Thirsty!

Let us live eternally off the couch. Let us be a service project in action daily. Let us seek out injustice that blinds and fogs and clouds the glory of God from shining in a man’s life. Let us be that church. Let us be hungry and thirsty for justice! Amen and Amen!

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