The superiority of Christ to the prophets, angels, Moses, the Law itself, the priests of Aaron’s line, and everything else as well, has been the subject of the epistle to the Hebrews since the opening verse. Don’t attach Hebrews 5:11 with the short dependent clause of verse 10 “to those who obey him.” Many people will argue that “eternal salvation” is at stake and the writer wants to speak more about the call on us for righteous living rather than the call on us to trust Christ for everything. Hebrews 5:11 says, “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” The coming exhortations which have caused so much confusion are not about living a more moral lifestyle but about living a more faith filled lifestyle. Jesus is better than anything you can imagine. Put your faith in Him and only in Him. The Handbook for Translators talks about the title heading for the next few verses and it rightly captures this theme. It says, “The section heading Warning against Abandoning the Faith may be expressed as an imperative; for example, “Do not give up trusting in Christ” or “Do not cease believing in Christ.”[1]

What’s at stake is not our eternal salvation in the upcoming warning passage, but the loss of “rest” that comes from trusting in the full sufficiency of Christ. What he has a lot more to say about is not exhortation to keep the law but true spiritual growth through understanding all the wonderful mysteries of Jesus as revealed to us in the whole Bible. He is found in it from Genesis through Revelation. He explained how the Old Testament was about Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Then he opened their eyes to see Him for who He was.  When He spoke with the religious leaders, He reminded them that they search the scriptures because they think they have eternal life in them but then adds that the whole Old Testament is about Himself. But the religious leaders were blind to that truth. They could not see it. Very often Jesus spoke of those who “had ears but couldn’t hear or eyes but couldn’t see.” Their religion has blinded them to the truth of Jesus as the subject of God’s entire revelation to man. Even today religious rituals, rules and regulations blind people to Jesus. It’s easier to focus on our own righteousness than to trust in Jesus’ righteousness. We make the Old Testament stories into examples for us to follow rather than revelations of Jesus. We reduce Christianity to another self-help book while we focus our attention on ourselves rather than Jesus.

What the author of Hebrews has a lot more to talk about is Jesus. He’s already proven that in the first five chapters. He’s quoted numerous times from the Old Testament to show that it’s pointing to Jesus. He adds that this is hard to explain and takes real maturity to understand. Jesus is the subject of the Bible! So he brings up an obscure reference to a priest in the book of Genesis that Abraham gave a tithe to, and explains how that story is really about Jesus. Jesus is the one who fulfills the priestly as well as the kingly line of Melchizedek. Melchizedek makes intercession to God for Abraham and the people. Jesus makes intercession on behalf of all mankind. Melchizedek is the king of Salem (Peace!). But Jesus fulfills that role totally! He is the “prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6). After explaining the parable of the soils in which the seed is the “word” of God, He says in Luke 8:18, “take care then how you hear.”

[1] Paul Ellingworth and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 102.