Four times the Bible uses the words “the faith of Jesus Christ.” Have you ever thought about the faith that Jesus must – or might – have had in God His Father? That is our subject for this evening. But there isn’t a single scripture anywhere which speaks about that. Those four scriptures to which I just referred, all speak of the faith which the believer has in Christ Jesus. For example there is Galatians 2:16 – “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” And Galatians 3:22 – “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Tonight I don’t want to consider our saving faith in Christ, but rather the faith which Jesus might have had.

Matthew 17 is a well-known scripture, describing the failure of the disciples to heal a demon-possessed boy. But after the Lord Jesus returned from His transfiguration, He DID cast out the boy’s demon. “And the child was cured from that very hour.” At that point the disciples asked, “Why could not we cast him out?” What was the Lord’s reply? “Because of your unbelief.”

I know that I have no right to say that Jesus healed the boy through – or by way of – His faith in God the Father. But at the very least I want to draw a parallel which I hope might be helpful. The disciples failed to accomplish the miracle, because they lacked the proper faith, but Jesus succeeded, and for the sake of our lesson, let’s say that it was BECAUSE HE did have proper faith. It is just a small, logical step from the one to the other, whether or not it is strict Biblical theology.

Let’s start with just a few events from Jesus’ life – some of the miracles of the Lord.

But before we do, let me preface this by saying, “the Son of God – the Word – was made flesh.” “He took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” And “without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.” I don’t profess to understand the “Theanthropic Person” – how Jesus was both God and man, but He was. And I don’t know how to blend the divine and the human in Jesus’ day-to-day life. But I believe in both. So in this arises the question: were the miracles of Christ done through His personal divine power? Or while in His humanity, did Jesus depend on the power and authority of the Father and the Spirit to do miraculous things?

Do you remember what Jesus said at His “coming out party” in Luke 4? He said, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” quoting one of Isaiah’s many prophecies about Him. What was the purpose of the Third Person of the Trinity resting upon the Second Person? Would it be heresy to say that it was to empower Him? Later Peter said to Cornelius, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil for God was with him.” Isn’t that essentially saying, Jesus’ power to work miracles was given to Him by the Holy Spirit? Didn’t the Baptist tell us, in John 3:34, that the Holy Spirit was given to Christ Jesus “without measure?” And Christ Himself declared in Matthew 12:28 that He “cast out devils BY the Spirit of God.” If Jesus’ ability to raise the dead and heal the sick was from the same God whom we serve, was Christ’s access that power really any different from ours? At the very least, we have in Jesus, illustrations of our faith in God for power.

What was Christ’s first recorded miracle? Changing the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. How long did Jesus’ hesitate, contemplate or equivocate before He told the servants to fill the water pots? Was there any wavering – was there any doubt in Jesus’ mind what the governor of the feast was going to taste when the water was drawn out? If Andrew had been in charge that day, we might be saying “Wow! Look at that man’s faith in God’s power.” But we don’t mention faith in regard to Jesus’ miracle; we just revel in the authority and glory of the Lord. Of course, Christ Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen. Water was going to become wine. But isn’t that knowledge a part of faith – or at the very least linked to faith? We know without any doubt that God’s will is always going to be done. That is one aspect of our faith. Unfortunately for us, we don’t know the details of God’s will. And yet we still reach out in faith, knowing that – whatever is done, it will be God’s will.

In Matthew 20 two blind men heard that Jesus was in the area, so they began to cry out, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.” “And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” From what you remember, did Jesus fall to His knees begging His Father to show Him whether or not it was in the divine plan to heal these men? No. The Bible simply says, “So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received sight and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” Why can’t I say that Jesus trusted God, immediately and implicitly, to heal those men through His touch? If that was true, and Christ was dependent upon the Lord for the power of this miracle, then we should at the very least say that it was through His faith that He accessed that power. And my point is – that is the kind of faith that we should have.

Early in His ministry Jesus and the disciples retired to Peter’s house for some rest and refreshments. When they arrived they found that Peter’s mother-in-law had COVID or RSV or some other source of fever. What if Peter, fresh from witnessing the healing of the centurion’s servant, had begged the Lord Jesus for power to heal his wife’s mother? (Wouldn’t that win a few points at home?) If that was the case, we might not be surprised, if Jesus said to him what he said to another in Mark 9:23 – “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” If Peter had raised his mother-in-law from her sick bed, wouldn’t it have been through the power of God granted to him by faith? Did Christ Jesus raise up that woman through faith? At the very least, what Jesus did is an illustration of faith.

By whose authority did the Lord called Lazarus out of his tomb and out of four days of death? In addition to anything else involved, it was the will of God that Lazarus return to a few more years of life. And if it was the will of the Godhead, then wasn’t Jesus accessing that will through faith? Even if that is not true, if it had been the Apostle John calling Lazarus’ name, it would have involved faith. And again, was there any hesitation on Jesus part? Was there any doubt of the outcome? Remember there were good Christians, not only telling the Lord that it couldn’t be done, but that it shouldn’t be done. “Lord, by this time he stinketh.” Just as it was in the raising of Lazarus, even Christians today are saying that we no longer have access to God’s power. But we do, when we are surrendered to Him in humility and faith.

We could go through most of Jesus’ three dozen miracles, but we won’t. That is not really my purpose. But for the sake of tonight’s lesson, let’s just assume that Jesus’ miracles were always through faith. In that regard, our service should be just like His example. When we pray for our sick friend, it should be with the same faith which is illustrated in the Lord Jesus. More importantly, when we pray for the spiritual resurrection of our lost loved one, we need to pray in faith, trusting the Lord for a miracle greater than any cure for cancer.

With that, I come to aspects of faith, illustrated in Christ, which should be found in us.

First, the service of God belongs only to the children of God, or in Biblical words: to “the sons of God.” God can certainly enable donkeys to glorify His Name, and He can use unsaved people like Judas. But, as a general rule, the work of God is done through the sons of God, and Christ was THE Son of God. Therein He illustrates us. But does that mean all the children of God are good servants? Does it mean they all do miraculous things? Obviously not. Even the apostles failed, raising the question, “Why could not we cast him out?” To which the Lord’s answer was:“Because of your unbelief.”

Before getting to the specifics which Jesus shared with the twelve, think about some of the attributes or characteristics of the Lord Jesus. First, He was always at the absolute center of His Father’s will. Sure that may have been easier for Him than us, but still that should be our goal every moment every day. We may have to pray, “Not my will, but thine be done,” but remember that Jesus made the same request during the stress of Gethsemane. I know that it is somewhat simplistic to say, but being in the will of God makes faith and its power easy.

I’ve already referred to Christ’s omniscience, but exactly how perfect was that during the days of His humanity? Scripture suggests that there were some limitations put on Jesus’ knowledge. But let’s say that Jesus knew beforehand exactly what would happen whenever He touched a blind eye or some leprous skin. Doesn’t it become easy to have faith in something which is guaranteed or foreknown. According to the Book of Hebrews that is not really faith at all. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” But you and I DO know something whenever we step into the arena of faith: We know that the omnipotent God is there. And we know that the Lord’s will, whatever it is, is going to be done, giving us the grounds for our faith. When Christ touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law, He did so with confidence she would become well. That is an essential element of faith – confidence. That is something for which we need to beseech God.

When the disciples asked “Why could not we cast (that demon) out?” Christ pointed to their lack of faith. And then He added two very practical elements toward that necessary faith. “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” – Matthew 17:21.

I won’t try to tell you that the faith of Christ came by way of prayer and fasting. But I will tell you that while He was here on earth, He was a man of prayer and fasting. I didn’t count them, but I have read that we have over two dozen recorded prayers of Christ Jesus. And several of them are so awesome and reverent that they take our breath away. I think that, of no other man could it ever be said, He truly prayed “without ceasing.” Is that why Jesus always knew the Father’s will for the moment of time in which He stood? Was it Jesus’ prayer life that filled Him with faith and with power to cast out demons and to raise the dead? I guarantee, if we prayed as much as our Saviour did, we’d be closer to the epicenter of God’s power, and we’d be more useful for the Lord’s glory. “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

I can’t tell you how many days or weeks out of His three and half years, Jesus went without food in order to spend time with His heavenly Father, but I will stick my neck out and say they were many. Of course, immediately after His baptism, the Lord Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Spirit, where He fasted forty days and nights. That wasn’t because He had put on a few pounds, and He was trying to slim down to His fighting weight. He was preparing for the spiritual battles which were going to take place over the next three years. Would I be unbiblical in saying that Christ was preparing for the revival which was going to fall on Israel during His lifetime? Just like in our day, the Lord was going to face unbelief and governmental opposition. He was going to be hated for righteousness sake, as should be true of us as well. But Christ was going to see victories and many saved, as I hope we will see in the closing years of this life. Christ prepared for His battles with Satan through prayer and fasting. And again, let us, at the very least, say that Jesus’ victories illustrate the power of faith in God.

We are looking forward to God’s blessings this weekend – through the ministry of our brother from North Carolina. Towards those blessings we have been praying over the last few weeks. And to this end we have been invited to gather at 4:00 on Friday and Saturday at the Kjeldgaard’s house to beseech the Lord again. But I have to ask, as kindly and with as much love as I can, why has there been more discussion about what food will be available, than about how much time, and for whom we should pray? Why has there been talk about sandwiches, chips and/or chilly, but so little expression of our desire for God’s blessings on the preacher, the meetings, the lost and on ourselves? Wouldn’t we be better off, and wouldn’t the Kingdom of Christ be better furthered, by our fasting than by our feasting? I’m not suggesting any changes in plans for the next few days, but aren’t these questions inappropriate?

Getting back to the Lord Jesus as an illustration of a man of faith, let me point out one more thing: For the Son of God, faith – trust in His Father – was as natural as breathing. It wasn’t something He had to work to maintain. He was so near to God it might be said that faith and heavenly communion were as natural to Him as life itself. His faith wasn’t something external that He had to add on whenever there was a miracle to be performed.

When Paul told the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” he was saying, “endeavor to make the attributes of Christ a constant part of your life.” These things should so envelope our souls that the mind of Christ, the way of Christ, and the faith of Christ should become a part of our very being. We are not sons of God in the same way that Christ is the Son of God. But what I am saying is that there things which we see in His service of the Father which should be applied to us.