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Solid not Squishy: Hebrews 5

In Summary:

Hebrews continues to extol the perfection of Jesus as high priest over the ordinary line of priests. Chapter 5 starts with the importance of the humanity of all high priests, for only in that humanity does the priest know how to help others with their struggles. After all, the high priest must recognize his own weakness or he will become arrogant and useless. Those who would mediate must be able to approach both sides.

From there, we see the progression. Hebrews 5:3 speaks of the need for ordinary high priests to offer sacrifices for himself, and the following verses refer to the selected nature of high priests: it’s not something one just chose for fun. Jesus was appointed to the role. He was the Son of God from eternity, but it was an act of Divine Will for Him to become the Great High Priest.

The author of Hebrews (Luke, Barnabbas, Apollos?) goes on to bring up Melchizedek from Genesis and then proceeds to back away from discussing him. Why? Because his audience was too immature to talk about deeper matters.

In Focus:

Let us, then, put Hebrews 5:11-14 under our focal lens today. The audience is called “dull” here, though the word carries a more negative connotation. It is more akin to “lazy” or “sluggish,” where the hearer is not attempting to listen well. The Hebrews here are not “dull” from lack of experience, but dull from lack of effort. That’s a critical difference.

They should have been, or at least some of them should have been, teachers. They should have grown in discipleship and knowledge to the point that they could feed themselves. And to the point that they could chew over issues and look at Scriptural connections between Old and New Covenants, between the events of the Patriarchal Age and the New Testament Church. (If they were next generation, it would be knowing the difference and relationships between the Patriarchal Age and the Patristic Age.)

But they were not. Instead, they needed the basics, again and again.

In Practice:

There are two errors here, one stated and the other known from experience. Let’s take them on and be done with it:

Stated: obviously, this one is clearer. As we walk with Jesus, we become more mature. Or at least we ought to. Too often, we do not. We fail to get to the solid ground that we ought to dwell on, to consume the mature meat of the Word of God. Now, as to the content of that? It’s not some hidden secret batch of insights. Anyone who suggests the “meat” isn’t available to all who seek it from God is selling something. (Usually literally.)

The unstated concern is that we do, at times, forget the basics. Or at least overlook them. Don’t forget that Jesus really died, really rose, and really is coming back. Do not overlook the realties of God’s work in your life and the world around you. Do not fail to read the Word of God.

Because there will always be a need for spiritual nutrition. Steaks, though, are more effective for growth than milkshakes. So grow so that you are mainly dependent on the solid, not the squishy.

In Nerdiness:

Well, we could dwell on Melchizedek but I’m not up for that. Look him up in Genesis 14. I think some research exists about how he came to be a larger-than-life figure from the Old Testament, such that Hebrews is not just pointing out the supremacy of Christ to the actual Melchizedek of Genesis 14 but the “Superman version” of Melchizedek.


I would also highlight to you Hebrews 5:7-8 and how Jesus prayed and learned in His Incarnation. Why does that matter? It reflects His humanity but also draws out the experiential nature of that time. He learned, not because He didn’t know how but because He finally acted. We don’t know if we don’t act.

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