Like most Christians, I want to “bring my faith to maturity,” to see it grow daily. The apostles clearly desired more faith when they said to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
The Scriptures give us a major key to growing in faith, and that key is “looking unto Jesus.” Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Other translations add further insight, telling us that Jesus is “the leader and completer of faith” (Darby), “the one who makes our faith complete” (ERV), “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (ESV), the One “who makes our faith perfect” (ICB).
Every portion of the Bible will help us to grow and mature in our faith and our walk with God. But the apostle Paul in Romans speaks more specifically. He tells us (NIV) that “faith comes from hearing the message … the word about Christ.” For example, all through my youth I believed in God. But I was not born again and did not have the fruit of regeneration showing in my life. Then in my mid-20s I heard the specific “word about Christ” (NIV), the “Good News about Christ” (Living Bible). Genuine faith arose in my heart from hearing the message about Him, and I was saved and became a born-again child of God.
With full and due deference to the entirety of the inspired Word of God, the Bible, I want to draw your focus today specifically to the Bible’s message about Jesus Christ. He is the “Author and Perfecter of faith (Heb. 12:2, Ampl.) … the One who brings our faith to maturity.” As you “look unto Jesus,” you will find your faith stimulated and increased. Do it daily!
This to me is a fascinating statement by Jesus. Keep in mind that when He spoke this, the Scriptures He referred to were those of what we call the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written. Jesus was telling us that throughout the Bible — including the books written before His death, burial, and resurrection — one will find revelations of Him.
For example, in the Passover lamb in the book of Exodus we see prophetic symbolism of Jesus, the Lamb of God sacrificed for our salvation. In the high priests of Israel we see imperfect human forerunners of the great, perfect High Priest Jesus. In Isaiah’s 53rd chapter we see such a profound revelation of the future ministry of Jesus Christ that some have nicknamed that Old Testament chapter “the Fifth Gospel.”
In sum, each time you open the Bible, from the first book to the last, look for revelations of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You can “look unto Jesus” from Genesis all the way through Malachi, then in all 27 books of the New Testament.
Now let’s look specifically at some ways to increase your faith dramatically as you “look unto Jesus” in several contexts:
In His public ministry Jesus consistently healed the sick. No infirmity was too difficult for Him; He healed them all (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 14:14, et al.). No one who came to Him in faith for healing was refused.
Thankfully, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus the Healer recorded in Scripture is the same Jesus healing from heaven today. Are you sick? infirm? Then look unto Jesus! He desires to heal you today just as certainly as He healed the multitudes in the four Gospels. Remember, He is the “same today.” Accept that truth, and allow your contemplation of Jesus the Healer to supercharge your faith to receive divine healing.
Not only does Jesus forgive our sins when we come to Him in repentance and sincere faith. He makes us sons and daughters of God through the new birth by the Spirit. And as such we become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). The salvation we receive from the Lord is a broad-based salvation. It includes forgiveness of sins and the new birth into God’s family. It also includes physical and emotional healing, freedom from vices and personal bondages, and a general “making whole” of our entire being, as I have written at “Sozo'd by the Lord | So Great a Salvation!”
Jesus our Lord and Savior sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. There He “makes intercession” for us and is able to “save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). The salvation Jesus provides is able to “save completely … save to the uttermost … save forever … save perfectly … save without end” (various translations) those who come to God the Father through Him (John 14:6).
Look to Jesus the Savior. Meditate on the amazing, sacrificial act of His death, burial, and resurrection … FOR US! Your faith will leap to receive from Him all that His “great salvation” (Heb. 2:3) makes available to us, His faithful followers.
One of the great things Jesus came to earth specifically to do is to bring “deliverance to the captives,” to “set at liberty” those who are bound up by various bondages. I have a friend who was a hopeless alcoholic, drinking massive amounts of whiskey daily. When he got saved, he was totally delivered “cold turkey” from the alcoholism that had held him captive.
Many have shared the testimony that when they came to Jesus for salvation, their previously foul language simply stopped! No more cussing. Jesus does not ignore the areas of our lives where we may be bound by vices, habits, and addictions. No! Rather, He is readily available, and entirely willing, to deliver us, to free us, to set us at liberty to become holy, fruitful servants of the Lord. The Scripture (Heb. 4:15-16) says that Jesus is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” and that we may therefore come boldly to His throne of grace to obtain mercy and to find grace to help us in our time of need.
Are you battling some hidden vice, some addiction you can’t seem to shake, some horrible hurt inside that keeps you captive? Look directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has promised to be your deliverer. Don’t be satisfied with man’s methods or formulas. Look directly to the Divine Deliverer, and watch your faith grow by leaps and bounds to conquer your bondage with the Lord’s gracious and powerful help.
Jesus came upon a blind man and asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied (Luke 18:41). The blind man’s prayer petition was very simple: “Lord, I want to see.” And Jesus immediately answered His prayer and healed the man’s blindness. It’s not the length of our prayers that matters — this man’s prayer was only five words long. It’s simple, pure faith in Jesus that brings answers from Him. In a similar situation (Matthew 9:27-29), two blind men asked Jesus to heal their eyes. The Lord first checked on their faith: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They replied, “Yes, Lord,” and He healed their eyes.
Jesus spoke words that should give us great confidence in His desire to answer our prayers. In John 14:13-14 He said, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” What a promise! He said, “Ask me…in my name, and I will do it.” Read that verse again…and again. Let it sink deeply into your heart and watch your faith grow to receive answers to your prayers.
The apostle Paul exhorted his readers to “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). We all need godly role models who consistently demonstrate God-pleasing behavior. Paul told us to follow his example. But he added the all-important qualifier that he himself was “following the example of Christ.”
Jesus is the perfect role model for us. His blameless character and conduct recorded in the Gospels give us consistently faultless examples of proper conduct in various situations. We often hear people quote the saying, “What would Jesus do?” And that is the perfect approach to answer the question: “What should I do in this situation?” Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures, and do as Jesus did!
Your faith and confidence will grow as you consistently pattern your thoughts, words, and deeds after those of Jesus Christ. No matter what comes, you’ll have the inward certainty that comes from acting as the Lord acted. There can be no better example. And your doubts and uncertainties will vanish as you build the conducting of your life on the rock-solid foundation of Christ’s perfect example.
The original apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith. And their faith did indeed grow as they listened to His teachings and watched the ongoing example of how the Lord conducted His life. We too can see our faith grow, even dramatically, as we look to and contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ’s words, His actions, His blameless character, and His very Person — as Son of God, Lord, Savior, Healer, Deliverer, and more. “Look unto Jesus” often throughout the day and see your faith grow!
©2017, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons & Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.