Five Minute Devotions: Hebrews 5
Hebrews 5 turns a corner and begins to build off the concept of Jesus as our great High Priest. This will continue to be the theme through Hebrews 10. The author begins by reminding his readers of the qualification and job description of the High Priest (Hebrews 5:1-4). He then applies this job description to Jesus and uses it as the basis of the chapters to follow (Hebrews 5:5-11). Lastly, he chastises his readers that the following chapters will be difficult due to their immaturity and exhorts them to learn and grow in the faith (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Everyone who reads Hebrews 5 immediately wants to latch onto the most enigmatic phrase in the chapter—“a priest after the order of Melchizedek.” But what gets a mention here in Hebrews 5 receives a full treatment in Hebrews 7, meaning that you’ll just have to be in suspense for a couple of days.
What is it in us that immediately makes us gravitate toward the obscure and arcane? Some would say that it’s a sign of our spiritual maturity. We know all about what the author of Hebrews has been on about in Hebrews 1, Hebrews 2, Hebrews 3, and Hebrews 4. Finally we have something new.
And that is part of it, to be sure. But before we move on, we must make sure that our quest for spiritual knowledge is not to the detriment of the basics. Remember that Hebrews can only introduce these advanced concepts because it has already laid the groundwork in the previous chapters.
Books upon books have been written about obscure and speculative subjects, and we would do well to educate and inform ourselves about them. But at the heart of spiritual maturity is not an educational superiority, but an attentive ear and a willing heart. If we want to know the tough parts of the Gospel, we must be willing to act out and endure the tough parts of the Gospel.
However, it is refreshing to this academic that the author of Hebrews places a deep value on a substantive knowledge of Scripture. All too often, I find our churches and Christian schools lacking in deep and substantive theology. Our sermons may be orthodox; our Christian classes foundational; but you lay a foundation in order to build upon it. Too many churches build foundations and decorations, but never get to the walls and the infrastructure of the Gospel.
There is a dire need for churches to begin treating their congregations like adults. We should challenge them with the Gospel. Even the every-Sunday churchgoer should be learning something new in the sermons and in the small groups. We should be training them in word and in deed. To engage Scripture with their head, heart, and hands.
Churches often have a problem of legacy. Leaders never train up other leaders to take their place. In most churches, 10% of the people do 90% of the work. And that’s because the majority are not being taught and not given the opportunity to lead. When the leader leaves, the church struggles to fill that role.
We must treat our youth and our adults with respect. We are not here just to entertain or make them feel good. This is their training. And they have talents and resources and connections that they are called to utilize on behalf of the kingdom. We take care of babies—and that means not leaving them that way.
Father, help us grow into maturity in you. Remind us to read your word, teach us in our prayers, draw us closer to you not just in experience but in knowledge and application. Raise up a new generation of leaders ready to bring in your kingdom.
What “level” should our Sunday services be conducted at. Who is the primary audience?
Does that audience change in different contexts (e.g. small groups, Sunday School)?
Today’s header image is The Agony in the Garden by El Greco (1590). It hangs in the National Gallery in London.
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