Matthew: The Teacher of Righteousness
Matthew: The Teacher of Righteousness
Righteousness is a very strong theme in Matthew’s Gospel. Explore this theme in session two.
Buy the book
100 Stand Alone Bible Studies

Bible passages

Matthew 3:13–15

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. But John
tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to
me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all
righteousness.” Then John consented.

Matthew 5:6

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

Matthew 5:20

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees
and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be
given to you as well.

Matthew 7:28–29

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at
his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their
teachers of the law

Matthew 25:46

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal


Righteousness is a very strong theme in Matthew’s Gospel. The word comes up many times more often than in the other three Gospels, in all translations. At the beginning of each Gospel, the words Jesus first speaks encapsulate the emphasized theme of that evangelist. In Matthew’s Gospel the first words Jesus speaks are: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” In the teaching of Jesus, a strong distinction is made between the integrity of true righteousness and the hypocrisy of self-righteousness: “Be careful not to practise your ‘righteousness’ in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1; see also Matthew 23:28).

Jesus draws a contrast between religious correctness – adhering to all the rules – and purity of heart, which shows itself in compassion towards our fellow human beings and in implicit trust in God.



“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”* O Lord God, we claim that Scripture for the cleansing and transformation of our own lives – for it is not we who are the righteous, but Jesus, who intercedes for us. Where we have been self-righteous and hypocritical, in your mercy forgive us. Show us the way of true integrity, trust, and humility, so that we may live and walk as Jesus meant us to do, in the ways of kindness, justice, and peace. For we ask it in his holy name; Amen.
*(James 5:16)