Who Do You Trust?

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Luke 7:50

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Yesterday was Dress for Success Day at school and as Spencer strutted through the front doors of Quail Run Elementary, he knew he was stylin’ and profilin’ in his fancy shirt and tie. (Also, watching a second grader feel really good about the way he is dressed is absolutely hilarious).

This morning Spencer mentioned that one of his friends showed up to ‘Dress for Success Day’ yesterday wearing his pajamas. Apparently, the little guy’s Mom thought yesterday was Peejay Day! Oops.

This reminds me of one of my reoccurring nightmares: sitting in a roomful of dressed up people and suddenly realizing I forgot to get dressed. I hate that feeling.

I’ve heard it said that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. But misplaced trust can be worse than no trust at all. And sometimes wonderful people—people we love and care deeply about us—let us down. Even our own Mom.

Has anyone, ever, in the history of time, been truly worthy of all our trust? Has anyone demonstrated perfect knowledge, perfect love, and the unlimited capacity to do whatever he or she wants? Has anyone been so infallible that we could truly and confidently completely them without reservation?

May I tell you one of my favorite stories?

One day, one of the religious elite invited Jesus over for dinner, and a woman who had lived a sinful life showed up. Of course, she certainly would never have been allowed into this religious man’s home—but she was so enamored with Jesus she entered the house uninvited anyway. Rather than simply catching Jesus after dinner as he was leaving the dinner party—she just walked right in and fell down before Jesus. Overcome with emotion, she wept, and as her tears fell on his feet she let down her hair, dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with expensive perfume.

Sometimes we read Bible stories and think, “Oh, well that must have been normal back in Jesus’ culture.” But this is as absolutely as awkward and inappropriate as it sounds. When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this outlandish behavior, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.”

But Jesus said to the woman, “I forgive your sins.” Of course, that got all the invited dinner guests all worked up. But He just ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Wait. Her faith saved her? Her faith? How does busting into a dinner party uninvited, blubbering on Jesus’ feet and letting down one’s hair (which was a racy thing to do in those days) demonstrate faith? Because at first glance, this so-called faith mostly just looks like being awkward.

Here’s the thing. Wherever we see the words ‘faith’ or ‘believe’ in the New Testament, they are usually translated from the Greek word root word pistis. The noun form of the word, pistis, is usually translated as “faith” and the verb form, pisteuo, is translated as “believe.” Faith, belief, trust and confidence all come from this same Greek word.

Most American Christians think belief in God implies intellectual agreement with an idea or accepting something as truth, but pistis means way more than that. We may call another Christian a “believer,” meaning they mentally assent to the statement of faith as posted on the church’s web site. Sometimes we might invite someone to “believe” in Jesus by agreeing to a list of truth statements about Him (ie. – He is the Son of God, He died for our sins and rose again, etc.). And we think that if we get enough of the truth statements about God correct—if our theology is accurate enough—then we get to go to Heaven forever as a reward.

But Jesus said this woman’s pistis had saved her, and we have no idea how good this woman’s theology was! We only know she had a sinful life, she wanted Jesus instead, and apparently loved Him so much she couldn’t wait until the dinner party was over to cry all over His feet. Friends, that’s way more than intellectual agreement. That’s dramatically different than graduating from seminary with honors. That’s passion that moved the woman out of her comfort zone to express her sincere love for the person of Jesus. That’s pisteuo and Jesus loved it.

Jesus is the only One who is worthy of pisteuo.

True, a compression boot may help reduce the swelling in Amy’s legs. An infrared sauna may vibrate the molecules in her knees so they release some of their toxins. But I’m placing all my hope in Jesus because God is the only One capable of healing an incurable disease. He has proven Himself faithful, all-powerful, worthy, loving, faultless, capable, all-knowing, and gracious over and over again. He holds the world. He is good, all the time. Nothing shocks Him. He is not overwhelmed by Amy’s lipedema.

I bow before Him. I kiss His feet. I know that if He is willing, He absolutely can heal my wife. And I feel confident that my pisteuo in Jesus is well-placed.

Rick Mumford