Matthew 5:6

Verse of the Day: Matthew 5:6

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.’ – Matthew 5:6

We all desire to be righteous before God.  However, how strongly do we desire it?  Jesus said that we should hunger and thirst for it.  In other words, we should desire this above anything else.

This is what God desires of us.  To be righteous, to do the right thing, to be as He created us to be.  However, if we do not make this our focus, or if other things can take precedence, we will not attain it.  I want to encourage everyone reading this to go before God in prayer, asking Him to guide your steps to do all that He commands and turn away from that which He does not want.  Ask Him to help you be a righteous servant and son.  For if this is truly your greatest desire, you will attain it.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Matthew 5:6

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

In this verse, Matthew is talking about people’s attitudes toward righteousness. Most people want to do things that are right. We, as Christians, are called to do what is right. However, there is a big distinction between doing righteous things and desiring righteousness. And that distinction is defined as even greater then desiring it. We are called to ‘hunger and thirst’ for righteousness. Now this goes far beyond desiring righteousness. Jesus is speaking of an intense longing for righteousness that may be likened to both hunger and thirst. Everyone now and then does what is right, but Jesus is pointing his hearers not to occasional acts but to a passionate concern and regarding what is right.

Righteousness is often used in the New Testament for the right standing believers have before God because of Christ’s atoning work. Now it is plain that Matthew has a strong interest in the upright living that should characterize the servant of Christ. To be more specific, we should notice that he is not suggesting that people can make a strong effort and achieve the righteousness of which he is writing: it is a given righteousness, not an achieved righteousness. The blessed may not totally achieve it but hunger and thirst for it.

There are several verses in the Old Testament that have the same idea as we find in our focus verse. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3. Note our focus verse. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6. As the dear pants for water, in other words, as the dear needs water due to thirst, I thirst for God and His ways.

Another verse is found in Psalm 63, which is a Psalm of David. “God, You are my God; I shall be watching for You; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and exhausted land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1. Here, David compares his desire for God as one who desires water where he cannot find it. David sought God at the tabernacle as earnestly as a thirsty man looks for water in a dry and thirsty land. The Wilderness of Judah is largely desert, so this was a picture of longing that came easily to David’s mind. And one more psalm, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, like a weary land. Selah” Psalm 143:6. This is another from David, who is spreading out his hands to God to reply.

And then in the book of Amos. “Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord GOD, When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will roam about to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.” Amos 8:11-12. Notice the nature of this famine. It is not a lack of God’s word, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. The condition described is that of being deaf to the words of Jehovah, not able to hear them. It is not a case of God withholding His revelation; but of people being in such a state that they do not see it, do not hear the words.

God is calling us to seek Him, His word, and His righteousness.  We should desire God’s righteousness more than a starving man cries out for food, and more than someone who is intensely thirsty cries out for water. Deeply joyful and spiritually whole are those who actively seek a right relationship with God and, in so doing, discover that He alone can completely save and satisfy our souls.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

John 6:35

Verse of the Day Devotion:  John 6:35 

“Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35 

Over the next seven weekdays, we will be looking at seven verses where Jesus declares “I AM”, and then gives a metaphor regarding what He is.  Today, we will look at the first of these, “I am the Bread of Life.”

Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  And everyone was filled and satisfied.  Jesus had left them and took a boat to Capernaum. The crowd eventually followed Him there. When they found Him, they asked Him when He arrived there. However, Jesus did not address their question, but their purpose in asking. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.” John 6:26b. Jesus then continues. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” John 6:27. He was essentially telling them they were following Him simply because He fed them, all five thousand with bread and fish. They were not to focus on physical food which strengthens their bodies, but spiritual food which goes beyond this life but endures to eternal life.

But what they say next shows they did not understand completely what He said for they asked what works they must do to live forever. Jesus then told them what the work of God was.  “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29b.  Jesus set them straight: God did not require works but faith. And that faith is in the one He sent which was Christ.  They understood Jesus was speaking of Himself, so they answered, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:30-31. Because they understood Jesus was speaking of Himself, they asked Him what sign He has performed to prove He was sent by God.  As an example, they said Moses gave them Manna, which was a bread directly from heaven.  So, what did He have to offer as proof? Jesus’ hearers have just experienced the impressive miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. How then could they demand a greater sign that legitimizes Jesus? John, however, is not offering a deep psychological analysis of the reaction of the hearers. The Jewish demand for a sign shows, on the one hand, how difficult it is for men to understand the signs they have witnessed as such. On the other hand, John thereby creates the transition to the real theme at which he is aiming: the bread from heaven.

Jesus then takes advantage of what they said to explain what bread He was speaking of.  “Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32-33. He started out by saying it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven to them, but God the Father.  And the bread He speaks of is not a food item, but a person. Note the wording, “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven”. Then in the next verse they ask for this bread. “They said to him, Sir, give us this bread always.” John 6:34. They were thinking of the Manna that God gave the Jews previously in the Old Testament. 

Then Jesus answers in a way that makes what He has been trying to say clear to them.  Jesus said to them in our focus verse, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35. This claim assumes that the world can never satisfy man. Everything that the world has to offer (in modern terms: fast cars, beautiful houses) is unsatisfying, alienating, or better, makes one restless. Man is afflicted with dissatisfaction,  boredom, anxiety, and care. He is unable to find that authentic rest, that true peace, that goal for which it is rewarding to live and strive. And these things can only provide satisfaction in this life, but Jesus who is the Bread of Life not only provides it in this life, but also eternally in our future everlasting life. When we eat regular bread we will hunger again, and when we drink fluids, we will eventually thirst again. This is saying that the world can never satisfy us. Everything that the world has to offer is unsatisfying. However, what God offers, through Christ, there is no longer that core emptiness because Jesus is complete satisfaction for man.  The consummating satiation occurs when those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and stand before the throne of God   and experience what John expresses in Revelation.  “I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.” Revelation 7:14-16. What a beautiful picture of those who come to Jesus and believe Him to be the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.