The NT teaches that Jesus was a man of faith. Jesus trusted in God throughout His passion, His trials, torture, and death. Among other passages, Peter wrote in his first epistle: ?Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth, and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously?E(1 Pet 2:21-23).

To our ears, this may strike a dissonant note. We know that Jesus is more than just a man. He is the God-Man, 100% God and 100% man, mysteriously joined in a single person. How then can Jesus exercise ?faith?Eor ?trust God?E Does this mean that the human part of Jesus trusted the divine part of Jesus to vindicate Him against His enemies. There are clearly mysteries here, but the biblical answer is to recognize that trust characterizes the interTrinitarian relations, the way the Father, Son, and Spirit live together in eternal communion. The Father trusts the Son, and entrusts Him with the mission of saving the world; the Son trusts the Father to reward His faithfulness by raising Him from the dead; both Father and Son trust the Spirit to speak only what He has heard from the Father and Son. Of course, the Father?s trust in the Son is not the same as human trust in God. We trust others when we are helpless to do something for ourselves, but God is not helpless. Despite this and other differences, it is still true trust is not merely a human attribute or virtue. Trust is a divine attribute.

Jesus?Efaith, Peter says, was especially evident during his trial, during the mockery, scourging, and humiliation, and especially in the way Jesus responded to His torturers. Because of His faith, He did not revile when He was reviled, He uttered no threats when He was threatened, He did not return evil for evil. During His trials before flagrantly unjust human judges, Jesus acted out of an absolute confidence that the Father would overrule their verdicts and pass His own verdict. Jesus was convinced that human courts do not have the final word.

Peter?s point in bringing this up, of course, is to urge his readers, us, to imitate Jesus?Efaithful response during our trials. This has broad implications for how we live and how we respond to evil. In public controversies, when accusations and false charges and slanders are flying, we should not get worked up, should not lash out against our opponents, should not even worry too much about defending ourselves. We defend ourselves as best we can, but we must do this in faith, knowing that the final verdict is neither with our enemies nor with ourselves. We should not be anxious for our reputation or for defending our honor. Trust in the God who judges rightly, for He will vindicate those who are in the right.

Jesus?Eexample has profound implications for how we respond to personal insults. Our fleshly instinct is always to return attack for attack, insult for insult, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, wound for wound, burn for burn. So long as we give in to this instinct, marriages become battlegrounds; children constantly strive with one another; friends are estranged; bitterness and envy, anger and wrath, resentment and a sense of injured pride are the order of the day. All this arises from unbelief, from our failure to trust in God to judge rightly.

And so: Follow in the steps of Jesus?Efaith. Turn the other cheek, return good for evil, blessing for cursing and insult. Be silent, and know that He is God.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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