Jim Humphrey Consulting


Vol 3, No 14 Vol 3, No 16

Jesus Uttered "Faith" 23 or the 24 Times in the Gospels

Volume 3, Number 15
Created Date: April 17, 2009
Posted Date: April 17, 2009

Faith in the Synoptic Gospels as taught by the Greek word “pistis” - Part 1:

Volume 3 began our study of Faith in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' earthly ministry - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. He was the Word of God in flesh, John 1:11 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

; the Son of God, Matthew 3:1717 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

, etc; the Son of Man, Matthew 9:66 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

; Mark 2:1010 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

; Luke 5:2424 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

; and He was/is the Author and Finisher of Faith, Hebrews 4:22 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

. When He walked this earth He did what none other has ever done; His faith was flawless; He was faith personified, Galatians 3:23 - 2623 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

. To understand His teaching of faith we are examining the use of several Greek words, all translated with our word faith. We have begun with the Greek “pistis,” translated “faith,” used 24 times: 8 in Matthew; 5 in Mark; 11 in Luke but never in John. Jesus is recorded as having uttered this word every time it is found except once.

Part 1 lists a group of 8 different but related incidents recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke wherein the word “Pistis” (faith) is found 14 times. This group of 8 incidents deals with Jesus healing disease, blindness and demon possession, as well as forgiving sin. All three Gospel writers record three of the eight incidents; three of them record two of the incidents while three of the incidents in this group are mentioned by only one writer. But it gets more complicated because some of the 8 incidents recorded by two or three Gospel writers leave out the word “pistis” (faith) in their respective accounts. Parts 2 and 3 to follow will examine two more groups of incidents wherein the word “pistis” is used 10 times. Part 4 will attempt to explain at least part of the Holy Spirit's design and purpose when He inspired the Gospel writers to use this word.

1) Jesus observed that He had not found so great faith in Israel as in a Gentile Centurion who sent servants to ask Him to heal another of his servants who was sick. The Centurion believed Jesus could do this without coming to his house or even seeing his afflicted servant, but just by saying the word. This is one of only two recorded cases where Jesus ministered to a Gentile while here on earth, Matthew 8:55 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

-13; Luke 7:11 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

-10. (One incident recorded by two writers, “pistis” found twice.)

2) Jesus observed the faith of a paralyzed man and that of his four friends who carried him on a bed to a house in which Jesus was preaching the Word. The doorway and house were so crowded they went to the roof, opened it and lowered the man to Jesus to which Jesus said “thy sins be forgiven thee.” The Jewish leaders present thought Jesus was blaspheming God when He forgave sins because only God can do so. Jesus read their minds and said: “Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” Mark 2:8 - 118 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

. The man immediately got up, picked up his bed and walked away glorifying God. Matthew 9:1 - 81 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

; Mark 2:1 - 121 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

6 But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

; Luke 5:17 - 2617 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

18 And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.

19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

. (One incident recorded by three writers, “pistis” found 3 times.)

3) Jesus told a woman that because of her faith she was healed from a disease that had caused bleeding for 12 years. This woman had touched the hem of Jesus' coat while He was walking with His disciples believing this would heal her, and it did. Matthew 9:19 - 2219 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

; Mark 5:24 - 3424 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

; Luke 8:43 - 4843 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

. (One incident recorded by three writers, “pistis” found 3 times.)

4) Two blind men followed Jesus crying “thou son of David, have mercy on us.” They answered yes when Jesus asked them if they believed he could give them sight. Jesus touched their eyes and told them that according to their faith it would be, and they were then able to see. Matthew 9:27 - 3027 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

. (One incident recorded by one writer, “pistis” used once.)

5) Jesus told a blind man named Bartimaeus his faith had saved him. He received his sight after requesting this from Jesus, Mark 10:46 - 5246 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.

49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

, Luke 18:35 - 4335 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.

40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,

41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.

42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

. (One incident recorded by two writers, “pistis” used twice.) (Some commentators believe Matthew 20:29 - 3429 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.

32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

may refer to this same incident and this may be but in Matthew two blind men were healed and the word “pistis” is not mentioned.)

6) Jesus told a Canaanite woman her faith was great and answered her request to heal her daughter who was grievously vexed with a devil. This is the second of only two Gentiles to whom Jesus ministered while on earth. Of particular note to begin with is that Jesus told this woman He was not sent to the Gentiles but only to the Jews by telling her it was not proper to give the children's (Israel's) food to the dogs (the Gentiles.) However she showed her understanding and acknowledgement of this fact and her faith in Jesus by replying that the dogs eat the crumbs dropped from the master's table. At this, Jesus acknowledged her faith and healed her daughter, Matthew 15:22 - 2822 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

. In Mark's record of this incident this woman is described as a Greek, a Syrophenician, which indeed was Canaanite. Mark does not mention that Jesus said anything about her faith. Mark 7:24 - 3024 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.

29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

(One incident recorded by two writers, “pistis” is found once.)

7) Jesus told a woman described as a sinner that her sins were forgiven, her faith had saved her and bid her to go in peace. Jesus had been invited to the home of Simon the Pharisee to eat dinner when this woman came in carrying a container of ointment. She was crying and apparently without saying anything washed Jesus' feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed His feet and applied the ointment on them. Simon knew her reputation and thought to himself that if Jesus was what He claimed to be He should know she was a sinner and therefore He would not have allowed her to touch Him. Jesus knew not only what Simon was thinking but also what was in the woman's heart. He forgave the sins that were weighing so heavily upon her and at the same time taught Simon a lesson about forgiveness, whether he took it to heart or not, Luke 7:36 - 5036 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

. (One incident recorded by one writer, “pistis” found once.)

8) Jesus told a Samaritan man who had been afflicted with leprosy that his faith had made him whole. He was one of 10 lepers who had asked Jesus to cleanse them. Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests (as required by Jewish Law) and as they went on their way they were cleansed. Only this Samaritan returned to thank Jesus and glorify God. Samaritans were looked down upon and avoided by the Jews because they had intermarried with Gentiles and yet Jesus, who was a Jew, remarked about his faith, Luke 17:11 - 1911 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.

19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

. (One incident recorded by one writer, “pistis” found once.)

Eight incidents wherein Jesus noted the faith of 13 individuals (3 women and 10 men.) The Greek “pistis,” translated with our noun faith is used 14 times in these 8 incidents. The common denominator in this group of incidents is that the 13 individuals involved simply believed Jesus was who He said He was. This means they had faith, i.e., the substance or foundation of things hoped for, the evidence or proof of things not seen, Hebrews 11:11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

. Jesus was the substance/ foundation for their hope, i.e., healing, sight and relief from their sin; He was the evidence/ proof of what they could not see, i.e., living with health, sight and sins forgiven. Collectively, Jesus took away their burden of sin and its consequences, healed their disease, gave freedom of movement to the paralyzed and sight to the blind, and cast out a satanic spirit. This was a taste of what will come in God's Kingdom on Earth, as promised by God through the prophets of the Old Testament.

To be continued.


Jim Humphrey
Vol 3, No 14 Vol 3, No 16