Matthew 14 - Jesus Displays Authority over Nature
a. Herod and John the Baptist.
1. (1-2) Herod fears that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead.
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."
a. This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead: Though this may seem unreasonable in retrospect, Herod’s superstitious manner leads him to this fear.
2. (3-12) Herod’s cruel treatment of John the Baptist.
For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter." And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
a. Because John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." Herod imprisoned John for the bold rebuke of his sin, yet would not kill him because he feared the multitude.
i. Herod is like many people today, especially politicians. They fear the opinion of the multitude before fearing God. The only check on Herod’s behavior is the fear of man.
b. The daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod: Herodias’ daughter shamelessly danced before Herod and friends, winning favor and a special request.
c. Having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter." The request of Herodias shows that the mother had this planned out all along. She knew her husband and she knew the situation, and knew she could get what she wanted this way.
d. And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her: Because Herod was afraid to cross his wife or lose face before his friends, he did something he knew to be wrong.
i. Herod met with an inglorious end. In order to take his brother’s wife Herodias, Herod put away his first wife, a princess from a neighboring kingdom to the east. Her father was offended, and came against Herod with an army, and defeated him in battle. Then his brother Agrippa accused him of treason against Rome, and he was banished into the distant Roman province of Gaul, where Herod and Herodias committed suicide.
3. (13) Jesus departs, not wishing to run afoul of Herod.
When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
a. When Jesus heard it, He departed from there: Again, this is nor from cowardice, but from an understanding of the Father’s timing, and prophetic timing.
b. Jesus feeds the 5,000.
1. (14-16) Jesus’ compassion for the multitude.
And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
a. He was moved with compassion for them: Both Jesus and the disciples were aware of the multitudes, and aware of their needs. Yet it is Jesus’ compassion and His awareness of the power of God that led Him to go about feeding the multitude.
b. You give them something to eat: With this, Jesus challenged both the compassion and faith of the disciples. Yet, He will not ask them to do with without guiding them through it.
2. (17-19) Jesus distributes bread to the multitude.
And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish." He said, "Bring them here to Me." Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.
a. Looking up to heaven, He blessed: Jesus blessed the Father for the food that He did have. He may have prayed the familiar Jewish prayer before a meal, "Blessed art Thou, Jehovah our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth."
b. He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes: This miracle displays Jesus’ total authority over creation. It is far beyond what could be expected from even a Spirit-filled man.
c. Jesus also shows us that God has resources that we know nothing about. We tend to only have faith when we can "figure out" how God might provide.
3. (20-21) The multitudes are fed.
So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
a. They all ate and were filled: Not only was God’s provision abundant, but God didn’t want the leftovers to go to waste (and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained).
b. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children: The number of 5,000 men suggests a total perhaps of 15,000 to 20,000 people, including women and children.
c. The feeding of the 5,000 gives us three principles for God’s provision:
- Thank God for, and wisely use what you have.
- Trust God’s unlimited resources.
- Don’t waste what He gives you.
c. Jesus walks on the water and comforts His disciples.
1. (22-24) Another storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
a. He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray: Jesus was jealous for time spent alone with His Father. In the midst of His great ministry to others, He did not - He could not - neglect this.
b. The boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary: The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden storms, and during this storm Jesus wasn’t in the boat with the disciples.
2. (25-27) Jesus comes to both help and comfort His disciples.
Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
a. Jesus went to them, walking on the sea: This walk on the water is another miracle that shows Jesus to be more than a man. It displays His authority over all creation.
3. (28-33) Peter’s bold move and subsequent lack of faith.
And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God."
a. Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water: We have no idea what prompted Peter to ask such a question, but his faith in Jesus is remarkable. He really responded to Jesus’ invitation and got out of the boat.
b. He walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink: This is a wonderful picture of walking in faith, showing that we must keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the storm to keep afloat.
c. Beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" But even when Peter failed, Jesus was there to save him. Peter knew who to call out to at the moment of crisis.
d. Those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him: The moved quickly from fearing the storm to worshipping Jesus. This was a logical reaction considering the power Jesus showed in walking on the water, and the love He showed in taking care of a sinking Peter.
4. (34-36) Multitudes are healed as they touch Jesus.
When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.
a. Begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: Even the hem of Jesus’ garment provides an important point of contact for their faith. Like Paul’s sweatbands (Acts 19:11-12) and Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15), Jesus’ hem provided a physical object that helped them to believe God for healing at that moment.
©2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission.