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Righteousness, morality and judgement

Matthew’s Teacher is concerned about moral teaching; one of his key words (occurring seven times in Matthew, once in Luke, and never in Mark) is dikaiosune, justice or righteousness, with its adjective dikaios (fifteen times in Matthew; once in Mark; ten times in Luke). Joseph is dikaios, a righteous man (1.19). Fulfilling ‘all righteousness’ is why Jesus is baptized (3.15). It is something to hunger and thirst for (5.6), and to be sought (6.33); ‘right’ behaviour is required (5.10, 20; 6.1; 21.32). While Luke blesses the hungry (Lk. 6.21), Matthew has those who are hungry for ‘righteousness’ (5.6); while Luke tells us to ‘seek his kingdom’ (Lk. 6.31), Matthew adds ‘and his righteousness’ (6.33). Our ‘righteousness’ must not be paraded before others (6.1), but it must ‘exceed that of the Pharisees’ (5.20). Each sermon ends with judgement and reward: the reward of the wise builder, and the judgement of the foolish (7.24–27); the reward of the ‘righteous’ (dikaios) in welcoming the disciples (10.40–42); weeds/wheat and good/bad fish ((7.24–27)); removing the wicked from the ‘righteous’ (13.49); the judgement of the unforgiving servant (18.21–35); and the sheep, the ‘righteous’ (25.37, 46), and the goats (25.31–46)…

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