The Greek word translated “Blessed” is Makarios. Makarios describes a complete fulfillment in life. It is an enduring condition rather than a fleeting happiness.

As Jesus launches into The Beatitudes to tell us how to be “blessed” (Makarios), it is important for us to know that He is using a literary device called a chiasm – wherein the most important elements are found in the middle. These verses (6 and 7) are the center of the Beatitudes and the main message of the chiasm: Blessed (Makarios) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed (Makarios) are the merciful. Jesus is establishing HIs Kingdom on a foundation of both righteousness and mercy. They are two sides of the Kingdom coin. 

The righteousness that Jesus describes is a social harmony, like a championship team. A “right way” that is chosen rather than imposed. “Righteousness” can also be translated “justice”. 

We tend to desire justice for others and mercy for ourselves. But in Jesus’ kingdom platform, when someone is merciful, they enter into blessing (makarios) because they too shall receive mercy (from the King). Mercy is a compliment to rather than a substitute for righteousness. Righteousness (harmony) comes about because we are merciful and seek to lead others to follow God’s ways, for their own benefit. 

The social harmony His Kingdom provides is unlike anything the world offers. It is the byproduct of truth and grace. We don’t compromise standards. The standards are for the benefit of the community. Righteousness is a focus on God and mercy a focus on others. Offense is a focus on self. 

The kingdoms of the earth focus on dominion and control over others. Those who inhabit the Kingdom of Heaven find the good life through serving one another in love.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
– Matthew 5:6-7