Matthew 14

Matthew 14

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The Death of John the Baptist

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.


Matthew 14 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Need is everywhere.  We stand in the sea of human hurt, unbelievable pain others have.  Their hardship slaps against us like waves of the ocean.  So many times it becomes overwhelming.  With each new day, sometimes we face a whole new round of the poverty of the heart.

What’s striking is Jesus faced this again and again.

After he heard of John the Baptist’s death it tells us He withdrew to a private place of solitude.  It didn’t last as the crowd found Him.  Filled with compassion He met the people in their need.  Jesus healed their sick and fed over 5000.  As the day came to a close, He sought out a time alone on the mountainside.  But once again it would seemingly be short-lived. 

His friends, the disciples were out in a boat when a storm broke loose that bombarded them.  They became fearful.  Once again, Jesus met them in their need.  He came to help and comfort.  Walking on the water, in the middle of the storm, He called out to not be afraid.  When He climbed in the boat, the wind died down.  And — finally landing on the other side of the lake a whole new set of need was presented.

Ministry never stopped for Jesus.  Never.  But in back to backstories, where the human side of Jesus was sorrowful over his cousin’s death; where people continually were reaching out to Him, He made it a point to seek quiet time.  Jesus knew the absolute importance and had such a strong desire to spend time with His Father.

And so should we.  At times it certainly feels like ministry is never-ending.  Genuine neediness of others and their own struggles are faced every day.  It is of utmost importance we are seeking out our own quiet time with God; seeking Jesus Himself for His grace; straining toward the Holy Spirit so our hearts are bent in a willingness to go and do and yes be what we need to be. 

Prayer nurtures our soul.  It equips us to face the challenges that come.  The development of our time with God is essential.  We cannot overlook this.  Carve out the time.  If it gets interrupted, just like Jesus, return to that time alone with God as soon as you can.  The need is always going to be there.  Always.  We must make sure we’re spiritually ready.

Matthew 14 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The miraculous feeding of the 5000 is recorded in all 4 Gospels. Matthew 14:21 specifies 5,000 males, and further emphasizes the point by adding, “Besides women and children.” Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been 15,000 – 20,000 people.

When traveling, Jews would have carried baskets with them which contained their provisions and necessities. Many believe this was because if they happened upon a Gentile region, they could stick to their own food instead of eating contaminated meat.

The baskets are important for the story. We get more background from John’s version of this story, but the disciples are skeptical at first. When Jesus tells them to feed the people, they immediately think, how are we going to afford that much food? Their minds can’t fathom any other way to provide for the people. Jesus provides the miracle and the disciples joyfully feed the crowd.

If it is true that Jews carried around baskets, it would make sense that 12 were filled at the end of the meal. Each disciple may have been carrying his own personal basket. However, the fact that Matthew mentions the baskets are full is significant. It is almost as if Matthew is highlighting the fact that Jesus not only provides for your mission, but He provides for you as well. The disciples never asked for leftovers, but Jesus provided abundantly.

It’s really a great metaphor for our spiritual walk. When you rely on Christ for strength, He will provide you resources for the mission He called you to, but He will also provide for you personally. This isn’t a prosperity message. This is the Father-child relationship woven beautifully together in The Lord’s Prayer with the words, “Give us this day our daily bread…” God The Father provides for His children!

He always fills the basket.

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