There have been many commentaries written about the phrase from Hebrews 12:2, "Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." He said Himself in Revelation 22:13, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." All things begin with Him and all things end with Him, so it makes sense that He would also be known as the Author and Finisher of Faith.
The Author of Faith
As the author of faith, Jesus Christ is the beginner of faith, the leader, and the reason behind it all. "He is the author or efficient cause of it, all men are by nature without it," John Gill writes in his Bible exposition. "It is not in the power of man to believe of himself. It is a work of omnipotence. It is an instance of the exceeding greatness of the power of God, and it is the operation of Christ, by his Spirit, and the increase of it is from him."
The true power of faith is outside of us and our own abilities. It is a gift, according to Ephesians 2:8, where it says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
The word "our" wasn’t included in the original text of Hebrews 12:2. Some believe it obscures the meaning of the verse, but it really doesn’t since both meanings are accurate. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of faith, true. And He is the author and finisher of our faith, true again.
Faith doesn’t become ours until it is given to us. Without Christ, it simply wouldn’t exist. Without us, however, the faith of God would still have power. "For what if some did not believe?" the Apostle Paul asked in Romans 3:3. "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?"
God’s promises are still His promises, with or without our faith. We didn’t place the faith of God in our own hearts. We received it.
Faith begins with Christ. He is the author and the cause. We are the effect.
The Finisher of Faith
Strong’s explains the finisher of faith as, "A perfector. One who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith."
For the greatest example of faith, look to Christ. Not only is he the perfector of faith, He leads by example in word and deed, teaching us how to trust in God with confidence and patience as He had while He was here. To this day, He continues in the work of faith encouraging His people with strength and grace.
"He is the finisher of [faith]," Gill adds. "He gives himself and the blessings of his grace to his people to maintain and strengthen it. He prays for it, that it fail not. He carries on the work of faith and will perform it with power, and brings to and gives that which is the end of it, eternal life or the salvation of the soul."
The full verse of Hebrews 12:2 states, "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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Read more in Hebrews 11 and Hebrews 12 for the entire context.)
"We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul," Charles Spurgeon once said. "If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by ‘looking unto Jesus.’ Keep thine eye simply on Him. Let His death, His suffering, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon thy mind. When thou wakest in the morning, look to Him. When thou liest down at night, look to Him. Oh! Let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus. Follow hard after Him, and He will never fail thee."
Because of all that Christ accomplished during His earthly ministry, our faith is made whole and complete in Him. When we learn more about who the Savior truly is, our gratitude for Him can only grow. He is the start and finish of everything in this life and beyond.
The beginning and end.