February 12, 2023

Blessed: Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness


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Blessed: Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Message Outline

Matthew 5:1–12 (NIV)

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

He said:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,

    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

    for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

    for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

    for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

    for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

    for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:6 (The Message)

1. Hunger and thirst as desire and fulfillment of God’s kingdom.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst… for they will be filled.

Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away… 8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:4-8 (see Luke 1:53 (NIV))

“… I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” Jeremiah 9:24 (NIV)

‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Revelation 7:16–17 (NIV)

2. “Becoming good” because of Jesus.

for righteousness

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:35 (NIV)

…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:9 (NIV)

3. “Doing good” because of Jesus.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22–24 (NIV)

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34–40 (NIV)

After the service, find someone to share in conversation about the following questions:

  • He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (RSV)
  • Where have you experienced goodness, justice, kindness and humility demonstrated through our church family as we love one another and our neighbor?

Small Group Questions

CONNECT WITH GOD (select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week.)

Breath Prayer: This is an ancient practice that invites us to slow down from and awaken ourselves—even our breath—to the presence of God. It is an invitation to remember that God is closer to us than even our own breath! This week you are invited to use the phrase “God Our Savior.” As you focus on breathing in and out, allow the words to flow out from inward breath to outward breath. 

  • Inhale: “Bread of Life”
  • Exhale “Living Water”

Continue on for a few minutes at a slowed pace, making space for a growing awareness of God’s Holy Spirit.

Attending to God through Art (5-10 minutes)

Alone: Using the artwork highlighted on Sunday, February 12th, spend 5-10 minutes reflecting and journaling on what you see in the painting.  

Pray that God quiets the many distractions within you and beyond you in order to focus on the gift of this artwork before you. 

As you focus in on the painting, you might journal your reflections to the following questions:

  • Where am I emotionally and spiritually right now? 
  • Where does God meet me in this painting? 
  • What new perspectives is God shaping within me as I reflect on this painting?


  • Together: Read Matthew 5:1-12 in the Bible translation of your group’s choice, focusing in on verse 6.  
  • After you have read, reflect as a whole group on the passage, sharing your personal reflections from the passage. Consider the following questions: 
  • What comes to your mind when you reflect on the words “hunger” and “thirst”?  
  • Have you ever been in a place where you have hungered and thirsted for righteousness? 
  • How do you react to the word “righteousness”? 

CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)

  • Read the main points from the sermon outline.
  • What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon? 
  • How does the Bible define and describe righteousness in the Old and New Testament? 
  • Discuss how the words of Jesus in verse 6 would have been received in the context of Jesus’ time and place. 
  • How is Jesus shaping a new vision of community in God’s kingdom? 
  • Read together Micah 6:8, Matthew 6:33, Ephesians 4:22-24 and Matthew 22:34-40. What do these passages highlight about righteousness? 

CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (Select one prompt/question for discussion.)

  • Spend time reflecting together on how Community Serve Day has shaped how you think about what it means to “hunger and thirst for righteousness?” 
  • What is the promise of Jesus in verse 6 for those who are hungry and thirsty? Why does the promise matter?


Pray as a group for SBPC. Pray that as a community of Jesus we continually seek the way of righteousness: of justice, love, and right relationship with one another. Pray that our witness in our community is one that reflects the love of Jesus and the promise of Jesus that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. 

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:6 (The Message)