Did Jesus have faith?

by Matt Slick

In order to examine whether or not Jesus had faith, we must first examine what faith is.

Faith is often defined as believing something without evidence. But that's not the biblical kind of faith. In John 20:25-28 we have the account of doubting Thomas who did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. He wanted evidence. He said, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe,” (John 20:25).  Eight days later Jesus appeared to him and said, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing," (John 20:27). So, Jesus taught that it's okay to have faith that is based on evidence. It does not mean that such a faith is blind or without basis.

But with Jesus, it's a bit different because he is God in flesh and since he knows all things (John 21:17), how is it that he could have faith? And, who or what would his faith be in?

If I see a chair in the room that I have sat in hundreds of times before and I go to sit in it again, I trust that it will support me. My faith in the chair is based on the knowledge gained from past experience. But, I do not know for absolute sure if it will support me until I sit in it. So faith, in this sense, is a knowledgeable trust in something based on past experience.

As a man, Jesus had experience with God the Father since he was under the law of God (Gal. 4:4) and worship the Father (Matthew 4:10) and would have absolute trust in him. The exact kind of faith that Jesus would have had is not something we can know for sure because we cannot reach into the mind of Christ and examine it. But, there was probably a sense in which he was trusting the Father with his own life.

But then if Jesus had all knowledge and knew everything, could even have faith? Actually, we need to ask whether or not Jesus was, so to speak, accessing the divine attribute of omniscience as he walked this earth. It seems from Philippians 2:5-8 that Jesus had emptied himself and was cooperating with the limitations of being a man. What this means exactly we do not know.  But, in Luke 2:52 Jesus increased in wisdom and stature. So, there was a sense in which Jesus was not accessing the full attributes of divinity which includes divine omniscience. We do not understand completely how this works, but he was, after all, made under the law (Galatians 4:4). So, we can conclude that as a man, Jesus was cooperating with limitations of being a man, and he probably would have had faith in the work and plan of God the Father. So, Jesus acted on that belief and trust in God the Father as he went about daily doing his Father's business.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.