Hebrews 5: 11 – 14
In trying to convince his audience (the unbelievers) he started to explain the office of the High Priest just to drive home the point that Jesus operates on a higher pedestal than their revered Aaron. We found out that Aaron was a restricted High Priest who ministered or served his people, the Jews. Jesus on the other hand, did not come to serve the Jews alone but the totality of mankind. There is nowhere in the good Book that states “God so loved the Jews” but you will find and read in the good Book, that “God so loved the World” (the Jews and Gentiles) and this is the reason why Jesus had to come as that sacrifice.
It is however important to mention at this juncture, that the writer at the beginning of this book, made a sharp distinction between the Old Testament and the many people God used and the New Testament using the person of Jesus. We discovered that Jesus is greater than the Angels; Jesus is greater than the servant Moses and presently the writer is dealing with the issue of Aaron (who became the first High Priest) and Jesus who we have found out operated on a better order than that of Aaron. Jesus operated after the order of Melchizedek.
Before He gave up the ghost, He exclaimed, “It is finished” – meaning the work that God started from the beginning has been completely completed and perfectly perfected. We do not need to add anything to it; He became the progenitor of eternal salvation to them that would believe in the finished work. It was not the same for Aaron who went into the Holiest of All once a year to offer sacrifices (temporal) for the covering (not removal, as in the case of Jesus) of Sin.
This is the sharp contrast between Judaism and Christianity.
The Jews practiced Judaism premised on the Old Testament; they were very persistent on this practice that they failed to acknowledge the Messiah they had been waiting for even when He appeared. They became adamant on the edicts of the Law or Old Testament that they failed to acknowledge and adhere to the many prophecies about the Messiah. The idea of writing this book to them was to notify them of the major shift they should have made in responding to the message of the Gospel. Hence, the writer said things like “if you hear His voice, harden not your heart like your fathers did in the wilderness.”
They were so adamant that the writer did not fail to mention to them as he tries to start a presentation on the issue of Melchizedek, that hardness of heart was a resultant factor of their unbelief. He started to discuss the issue of Melchizedek but couldn’t continue because he felt his hearers were not on the same page as he was. These were his words, “ I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening”. It is quite obvious that the writer wasn’t referring to the ones who have believed but the unbelievers since it behooves him to convince them to be part of those who have entered into His rest (the believers).
They needed the writer to bring back to their memories, that the Old Testament is obsolete when it comes to issues concerning Salvation. Everyone (Jews and Gentiles inclusive) has been condemned as under Sin and the only thing that can erase that is identifying with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Therefore, the Old Testament became the warning to the Jewish race about the coming Messiah; it was the revelation of types and pictures fulfilled in Christ. It became the shadow of the real; the Old Testament became the pattern of the reality embodied in Christ. The Old Testament was the invisible while the New Testament became the visible. In other words, the Jews who were the custodian of the Old Testament were supposed to have woken up from their sleep when they set their eyes on Jesus. The reverse was the case even after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
They were carried away by their works and forgot a lot that was said about the coming Messiah. Hence the writer’s statement about how they ought to have become teachers, yet they still needed for someone to teach them the elementary principles of the Oracles of God in order to bring them unto maturity. The maturity mentioned here is not that of the Christian because they were yet to commit. The maturity here speaks of that knowledge that will bring them into the truth and the blessings of the New Covenant.
Considering the writer’s style from the beginning of this book was to contrast between the Old and New Testaments, it therefore means that the Old Testament became the MILK of God’s Word; the MILK needed by babies; it became the foundation upon which the Jews should build as they moved unto the New Testament. The Jews ought to have become teachers, teaching the whole World about the truth and doctrines of the New Testament (referred to as the STRONG MEAT). Instead, they were asleep and held on so tightly to Judaism, even when the Temple was destroyed and no High Priest offered sacrifices on their behalf.
STRONG MEAT, I don’t know why he didn’t use MEAT but STRONG MEAT but I know there is a difference between the two. STRONG MEAT was used in the place of the MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL and anyone who still held on to the Old Testament was deemed unskillful in the TRUTH of God’s Word; such a one is nothing short of a newborn baby whose only meal is MILK at anytime of the day. They were limited in their understanding of the things of God. In other words, they were called beginners, inexperienced and ignorant of God’s ways.
To the one who is able to understand and respond to the message of the Gospel, they were called or referred to as MATURE – who have come of age: they have had their senses (perception) exercised and can discern and determine between evil/good or right/wrong.
Categorically, the writer made it clear to the unbelieving Jews to wake up from their slumber, leave the shadow, the pictures, the invisible, and the pattern (Old Testament), as no adult can fully be satisfied drinking MILK as their only meal. They needed their eyes to be opened to the fulfilled realities of what the Old Testament had been talking about; the message of the Gospel so that they can move a step closer to their maker. Leave Judaism and its practices and follow Christ.
“Oh that the church of God would cast off the old Jewish idea which still has such force around us, namely, that natural birth brings with it covenant privileges” – C.H Spurgeon.
Keep it right here and be refreshed!