World English Bible translation
5:11About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing. 5:12 For when by reason of the time you ought to be teachers, you again need to have someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. 5:14 But solid food is for those who are full grown, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.
Jesus is the Great High Priest of the people of God. He alone is uniquely qualified to be high priest because Jesus represents both man and God. Before man He is capable of representing God because Jesus is the very image of the invisible God. Before God He is capable of representing man because Jesus became fully human and suffered the trials and temptations of all mankind. For these reasons, Jesus was appointed a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
About Melchizedek the author will write many more things. But, before he begins exploring the comparisons between Melchizedek and Jesus, he feels compelled to admonish these Christians first. What he has to tell them is hard to interpret. These things are the more weighty matters of God. But, he tells these Christians that they have become "dull of hearing" and that they are still only capable of absorbing only the most rudimentary of teachings.
He tells them that by this time in their Christian experience they should have been teachers. They had heard the gospel some time before. The Spirit of God had been at work in their lives. But, the cares of the world and their concern for what other men thought of them had prevented them from growing more mature in their faith.
The author uses a common metaphor for maturity. When a baby is born, it cannot tolerate solid food. The system of the child cannot digest it. So, we feed infants milk. Eventually their bodies mature and they can digest solid food. When a person first comes to Christ, they are not capable of understanding the deeper things of God. So, the Spirit of God starts these people off on the simple things just like an infant begins with milk.
But, we cannot stay in the stage of spiritual development where we can only accept the simple things of God. The Spirit of God will always be prodding us along, urging us to maturity. Knowing Christ is a constant maturing process. We will never know Christ completely, but we should always be growing in maturity as we move from grace unto grace.
We must be clear in this though. The author is not speaking of intelligence or intellectual knowledge. Knowing Christ is different from knowing facts or from academic knowledge. Maturity in Christ is a matter of spiritual growth, not intellectual growth. As we grow in grace, we certainly may learn certain things about Scripture and theology but such knowledge is not the same as spiritual maturity. Knowing Christ is a matter of developing a relationship between you and the Living Christ. It is a matter of moving from milk to the solid food of the mature Christian experience.
In what areas of your life is Christ feeding you solid food where he once fed you milk? Are you willing to move on and grow to the mature relationship Christ wants to share with you?
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