August 17, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 8:13 NIV
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Wow! Today we move into the New Testament with its 270 occurrences of believe or belief in the NIV vs only 27 in the Old Testament. And the first example is the one we have above. To be clear, it is not the first example of someone believing or expressing a belief, but it is the first time the word believe or belief is used. But before we look at the verse above we will spend some time on the word believe used above.
When Jesus told the centurion, Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would He used the Greek (G4100) word pisteuo which has some very important meanings and usage we should be familiar with. For example in the KJV it is translated in the following ways: believe (239x), commit unto (4x), commit to (one’s) trust (1x), be committed unto (1x), be put in trust with (1x), be commit to one’s trust (1x), believer (1x). Obviously believe is the most common usage, but the commitment and trust show belief, real belief, requires commitment and trust.
Then when we look at Strong’s Definitions we find pisteuo is defined as: to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ):—believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with. Let us look at part of that definition again, by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ). Our salvation (our spiritual well-being) rests on our believing Jesus rose from the dead and believing He paid the price for our sins on the cross on that day at calvary. This fits well with the further definition of pisteuo as: particularly, to be firmly persuaded as to something, to believe.
Then pisteuo is central to our faith and our walk with Christ. And it just so happens Strong’s tells us pisteuo is from pistis (G4102) which is most commonly translated as faith in the KJV. Strong’s defines pistis as persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. And as with pisteuo we find pistis expressly tied to reliance upon Christ for salvation.
Perhaps we can say our faith (pistis) persuades us so firmly, so strongly, that we come to believe (pisteuo). It should come as no surprise our faith and our belief are inextricably linked. They are inseparable. They can almost be used in place of each other, but they are different. Consider what Jesus and the centurion said before our verse of the day. The centurion centurion had said the following to Jesus in verses 8 and 9 Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. In the very next verse we read Jesus was amazed (!) and said to those following Him, Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
It was because of the centurion’s great faith that Jesus told him Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would. Something not commented upon, but something we should be aware of is how the centurion’s faith was so great that he, a gentile and Roman soldier, would even approach a Jewish rabbi, especially one such as Jesus. Jesus was not a Pharisee, but likely a ragged looking rabbi. Still Jesus was the one who had healed a man with leprosy before the centurion approached Him.
What are we to learn from this? First, Jesus shows us how intricately linked faith and belief are in this one short example. Second, we should ask ourselves how our faith supports our beliefs and our walk with Jesus. Would it not be wonderful to have Jesus look upon each of us and note that we too have great faith.