The writer of the letter to the Hebrews was concerned about those who have become “dull of hearing.” In Chapter five he told them he had so much he wanted to tell them about Jesus but they seemed to have heard enough and wanted to slip back into their religion. They could not and would not mature in their understanding of the person and work of Christ and like the Israelites at Kadesh Barnea, were in danger of losing the “rest” God had promised to those who move forward in faith. Jesus calls people to come to Him and He will give them rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28). This is a rest that comes only through faith. It’s not a rest we can earn on our own. It’s not something that comes as a reward for some deed performed. It’s only the product of a growing appreciation of the full sufficiency of Jesus in every area of our lives. Jesus and His grace is more than sufficient for all our needs. When that becomes true, we find rest.

I’ve actually had people tell me to stop telling them about Jesus and to give them something more relevant to their lives. They wanted some rituals to observe, some rules to follow, some practices to rehearse, or something they could do to give them a sense of accomplishment. Some people long to have their failures, sins, and weakness pointed out over and over again so that a sense of guilt might motivate them to better living. But that never works! Rest is only found in Jesus who fulfilled all rituals, rules, and regulations, accomplishing for us what we could never accomplish for ourselves. Jesus is the most relevant message for everyone. If you have become “dull of hearing” about Jesus, you must grow in your understanding of Jesus: His person and His work. God’s rest can only come from the full assurance of the full sufficiency of Jesus.

The Greek word translated “dull of hearing” in Hebrews 5:11 is translated by the English Standard Version in Hebrews 6:12 as “sluggish.” Hebrews 6:12 says, “so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” He wants his readers to be passionate about Jesus. After all, the whole Bible is about Jesus. When people become “sluggish” about Jesus they revert to religion! The Jews were passionate, or zealous, for the law. The author of Hebrews wants his readers zealous for Jesus. He doesn’t exhort his readers to passion for self-righteousness but for a passion for Jesus’ righteousness; a righteousness of God that comes through faith alone. A growing confidence in the full sufficiency of Jesus is only nourished by a mature understanding of Jesus as presented throughout the entire Bible. The writer of Hebrews spends a lot of time showing us Jesus from the Old Testament. By the end of chapter 6, he has only gotten started. There is so much more to come about Jesus in the whole Bible.