From the pen of: Mark Jones
Presbyterian minister Mark Jones wrote Knowing Christ in 2015, forwarded by J. I. Packer, and published by Banner of Truth. In it, Jones seeks to focus the reader’s attention on various aspects of Christ’s deity, person, and work. While the book on a whole is worth your time I found one chapter particularly intriguing, a chapter titled “Christ’s Faith.”
Jesus, the man of faith
Until I read this chapter, I had never really considered Christ as having faith or at least having it in the same way we do. Then I read these words, “For in this example of Christ we have the highest instance of believing that ever was” (62). The premise of the chapter is that Christ was the highest believing believer that ever lived. He was, in fact, THEE man of faith.
It is true that Christ had no need for saving faith like we do because he was sinless. However, that does not mean that Christ did not live a life of faith [trust, dependence, confident belief] in God. In fact, the chapter submits that he was the model for such a life. As I read I wondered why I so quickly associated so many glorious qualities to Christ [redemtion, savior, healer, Lord, teacher, etc…] but when it came to faith, I thought of Abraham…not Christ. Do you think of Jesus as the preeminent man of faith? I didn’t.
How did Jesus use his faith?
Jones helped me to see things like this, “Jesus did not have to believe in God so much as he had to believe God” (64). This helped me understand many of Jesus’ actions and decisions throughout the gospels. For example, when Jesus displayed his power like in the feeding of the 4 and 5,000, or the raising of Lazarus, he always prayed and acknowledged the Father’s presence and blessing upon him. These acts were a display not only of his power but of his faith as well. Jesus exhibited faith when he used the Scriptures to repel Satan during his wilderness temptation and again on the cross when Jesus with his last breath uttered words filled with faith, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Lk 23:46).
Jesus models a life of faith
I think it is easy to dismiss much of Jesus’ life and deeds by simply crediting them to his divinity. We forget that Jesus had an active human nature that had to believe God just as we do. Jones writes, “This is what faith enables us to do: trust God, not only for our salvation but also in every detail of our lives” (67). Jesus had to do this, just as we do. And as such we can ask God for grace to believe through the day to day grind knowing Jesus needed to do the same. This provides us another point at which the Son of God can touch our lives.
Thus the chapter reaches its grand conclusion, “it is through his [Christ’s] own perfect exercise of faith that he helps believers to follow his own footsteps” (68). To this, I say Amen! I found it incredibly helpful (and hope you do too) that after reading this short chapter I can now look to my Lord as the model for my faith in my day to day life. Jesus was a man who lived his life by faith and I am a man striving to live mine as Paul put it, “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20b).
This allowed me not only look to Jesus as the author of my faith and the one who sustains it but also as the one who showed me what a life of faith really looks like. Jesus lived a faith-filled life that pleased the father and I’m thankful he did; just as I am thankful to Pastor Jones who helped me see Jesus in a whole new way.