Interesting reading in a fascinating passage today. We picked up right in the middle of what looked like a deep theological discussion on Christ’s priesthood… So why didn’t the writer go more into the topic of Melchizedek straight away? Well, Hebrews 5:11 gives the answer, “it is difficult to explain.” The writer then explains what he means by that, and here’s where it gets spicy: it’s not because it’s a particularly nuanced topic; instead, those he’s addressing aren’t capable of understanding the nuance, calling them “too lazy to understand” in the same verse.
When reading the Bible, we’ve got to read it for everything it’s worth, soak it in, and understand what every word means, why it’s there, and what purpose it could have in its placement. With that in mind, “lazy” is an interesting choice. It implies a heart condition, doesn’t it? It’s not a mechanical problem with their ears. It’s not a capability problem since the writer noted they’ve “become” this way—they have been more receptive and can be again.
And it reads awkwardly since I’m on the outside looking in. I feel like I’m standing around the corner listening to my parents scold one of my siblings, listening to the tirade that comes from grievous errors. The writer calls them lazy, going as far to paint them as babies spiritually, needing to be spoon-fed again. He tells them they don’t deserve steak, that solid food (the more theologically rich topics like Melchizedek) isn’t for them. It’s a little uncomfortable to witness; imagine being in the room when this was read! If I were to level with you, it was probably more awkward for my siblings to listen in on my parents’ conversations with me.
So what to do? Well, the prudent (and biblical) thing is to listen when a brother or sister in Christ calls you out. The writer of Hebrews here may even be recalling the proverb we read today, that the Lord gives wisdom, and from Him comes all understanding. You could say it’s part of growing up. I understand that this applies to me, too.
Maturity is for every believer, something we should strive for and look forward to. It’s something we shouldn’t begrudge or loathe but something we should pursue enthusiastically. It’s God’s hope that we “will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance” (Hebrews 6:12). So go on, grow up! Let’s all embrace growth, leave the elementary teaching behind, and graduate up to understanding…to maturity.