Social Justice Project #16

What does the Bible say about justice?

Part 11: The Gospels: Matthew

The Gospels were written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as biographies of Jesus of Nazareth, each with its own target audience. Matthew, one of the original twelve disciples and a former tax collector, wrote his work around 50 AD.

Matthew uses the word justice three time in his work. Each time, the word krisin is used, which is a form of krisis. The word has a positive connotation of righteousness and a negative one of condemnation of sin. Twice, the usage refers to Jesus Himself. Quoting the prophet Isaiah, Matthew writes that the Messiah will proclaim and lead to justice. The justice that proceeds from the Messiah will be one of righteous judgment.

However, in Matthew 23:23, the words of Jesus Himself speak about the application of justice. These words are aimed at the religious leaders of the people of Israel. He calls them “hypocrites,” who are only interested in the outer appearance of obedience. They ignore the foundation of the law, “justice, mercy, and faith.” We can see that the opponents of Jesus are purposely forgetting the pursuit of a right relationship with God. Their sin will bring about divine judgement.

Each of these usages is consistent with our definition.

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