Characteristics of Christ | RIGHTEOUSNESS
A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 14: Righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
We all know the world is busted. We know governments and politicians are corrupt. We know our justice system can be anything but just. We know "the rich and guilty are better off than the poor and innocent." We know things are not as they should be.
So we have two choices. Either we long for justice and do the work to bring it about, or we become jaded and cynical. Which of the two is blessed by God?
Righteousness and Justice are the same word in Greek. The word describes the state in which all is as it should be. The guilty are punished. The innocent are vindicated. The good prosper. The wicked fall to ruin. Systems of oppression are dismantled, and the poor are empowered.
This is exactly what Mary sang about when she was pregnant with Jesus: God has brought rulers down from their thrones and sent the rich away empty, but he has filled the poor with all the good things.
Righteousness is not just about fulfilling our religious and moral obligations. That's where the Pharisees got it all wrong. Thus, Jesus would tell us our righteousness needed to exceed that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. Jesus didn't just come to teach us how to do religion well or even how to live a moral life.
Jesus came to set everything right. And he calls on his followers to do the same.
Before Jesus went to the cross and left his disciples, he told them they would do even greater things than they saw him do. The early church took that seriously. They started public hospitals, brought education to the masses, welcomed strangers and immigrants, took in babies to raise as their own, refused to kill in service to the Roman military, and provided for widows and orphans.
For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be filled. May we follow their example as they followed the example of Christ.