We always say that Christ is our example in all things, and by grace we are being conformed to His image. But what exactly does this mean and how far does it extend? He lived a life that I will never live. He did things that I will never do – He walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, etc. Christ is our example in terms of character; He shows us what it means to live as a child of God with regards to attitude, priorities, faithfulness, love, courage, devotion, etc.
The question is sometimes asked – did Jesus have faith in God. The answer unequivocally is yes. He wasn’t saved through faith as we are because He had no sin. Nevertheless, as a man He had to have faith just as all of God’s people need faith. This is the place to begin when we think of Christ as our example. Without faith we cannot come to God; we cannot please Him; we cannot worship Him or serve Him or obey Him as we should. Just as it is necessary for us to have faith, so it was necessary for Christ. The faith of Christ is demonstrated in numerous ways throughout the Bible.
A. Jesus grew in knowledge. Faith and knowledge are inseparably linked. As a twelve-year-old we find Christ discussing truth with the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:41-52). It is evident that at this tender age He was aware of His identity and destiny. When His parents came looking for Him, He responded, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” He understood and believed the scriptures as we all must. But it was not automatic. Knowledge and faith grow together, it is true for us and it was true for Him. Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men”
B. Jesus committed Himself to God. The book of Hebrews tells us that Christ consciously placed Himself into the care of His Father – 2:13, “I will put My trust in Him”. Faith is to trust in the goodness and power of God. It is to recognise that we are reliant upon Him for provision and protection. In a sense, all of the Psalms are messianic in that they point us to Christ. Therefore, David’s words in Psalm 16:1 were ultimately the words of our Lord Jesus, “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust”. From the cross He cried, “Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit”, demonstrating His faith in the purpose of God and for the outcome.
C. Jesus hoped in the promises. Once again, the book of Hebrews describes the actions of Christ in terms of faith. 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” By faith, Christ looked ahead to His finished work and it sustained Him through the agonies of the cross. He trusted in the promises of God as outlined in scripture – the redemption of His people and the glory to come. The implication of Heb 12:2 is that we have faith because He first had faith. He is the author of faith and He will bring our faith to perfection.
Faith isn’t easy. It is to believe things which are not tangible to us. It is to trust God for what is unseen. Christ is our example of faith and not just our example, He is the One who nourishes and grows and sustains our faith as we look to Him in His Word, in the Lord’s Supper, and in prayer.