Jesus held up a loaf of bread in the upper room before His death and challenged His followers to do this in remembrance of Him. The bread represents His body. The wine represents His blood.  Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase for us a place in heaven which He offers as a free gift which can only be received by grace through faith. It’s not by works and especially not by works of the Jewish laws lest anyone should have reason to boast. This is true solid food! This is what Jesus called Peter to feed His sheep. This is what Jesus wants modern preachers and teachers to feed His sheep. This is perfectly clear from Jesus owns words recorded in John 6:54-58. Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

In Hebrews 5:14 the writer begins a discussion about solid food. He says, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hagner rightly recognizes what the writer of Hebrews means by solid food. He writes, “Solid food is what the author is presenting in this epistle, and in this particular context it is the argument about Melchizedek.”[1] But Hagner doesn’t note that according to Hebrews, Jesus is the fulfillment of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is just a picture of the true “King of righteousness” (that’s what the name Melchizedek literally means). The writer will get back to the solid food of Melchizedek as the picture of Jesus in Chapter 7.

But then what does it mean to have our “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil?” I’m convinced that “good and evil” has nothing to do with moral issues at all but rather with being able by training and through practice to discern between good teaching and poor bible teaching. Guzik gets this. In his commentary he says, “Not moral good and evil, but wholesome and corrupt doctrine. The implication is that the readers’ condition is such as to prevent them from making this distinction.”[2] When you grasp that solid food is always about Jesus and the Gospel, you have a basis of evaluating teaching and preaching as well as writing. If it’s about Jesus, it is solid food. If it’s about you it is not solid food. It’s just another pep-talk, or self-help instruction, or even a religious requirement to shame you to change your ways. Solid food, the real meat of Christianity, is always about Jesus!

[1] Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 86.

[2] David Guzik, Hebrews, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Heb 5:12b–14.