Sermon on the Mount - Salt and Light - “Just Righteousness”

Read Matthew 5:10-16

When Jesus references “righteousness” here, he is using the Greek word δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosuné) which can be translated as “justice” or “righteousness.” Micheal Burns used the term “just righteous” on Sunday to capture the essence of both of these English words. Today we will focus primarily on the justice aspect of the term, the part of righteousness that pertains to the way we relate to one another. 

  • In what ways do you see a lack of justice or equality in our society?
  • How did Jesus fight for justice during his life on Earth? What might that tell us about how Jesus would address injustice today?
  • How did people respond when Jesus addressed injustice?
  • If we sought “just righteousness,” how might we be persecuted and treated the way Jesus was?

Jesus continues to reference “just righteousness” δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosuné) throughout the sermon on the mount. Let’s read another one of those times.

Read Matthew 6:25-33

In verse 33, Jesus calls us to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (δικαιοσύνη). As in the earlier passage we read (Mt 5:10), Jesus connects the concept of “just righteousness” to God’s kingdom. He identifies worry as the enemy to seeking justice.

  • How does worry inhibit our ability or desire to seek “just righteousness”? If worry was not a factor for you, is there anything you might be willing to do in pursuit of “just righteousness”?

At least one of the reasons we don’t seek God’s righteousness is because we worry that we won’t get enough of what we need. Jesus’ message to us is that we have been and will be taken care of. Not that we will not have struggle - in fact, if we’re truly committed to God’s cause of justice, we will likely face the kind of persecution that Jesus did. But Jesus reassures here that God is ultimately looking after us. So, we can turn our attention, time, and energy to seeking his kingdom instead of building up our own and to seeking his will that we lift others up instead of elevating ourselves.