Matthew 14

John the Baptist Beheaded

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus.
2 "This is John the Baptist!" he told his servants. "He has been raised from the dead, and that's why supernatural powers are at work in him."
3 For Herod had arrested John, chained[a] him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife,
4 since John had been telling him, "It's not lawful for you to have her!"
5 Though he wanted to kill him, he feared the crowd, since they regarded him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday celebration came, Herodias' daughter danced before them[b] and pleased Herod.
7 So he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
8 And prompted by her mother, she answered, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter!"
9 Although the king regretted it, he commanded that it be granted because of his oaths and his guests.
10 So he sent orders and had John beheaded in the prison.
11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.
12 Then his disciples came, removed the corpse,[c] buried it, and went and reported to Jesus.

Feeding 5,000

13 When Jesus heard about it, He withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed Him on foot from the towns.
14 As He stepped ashore,[d] He saw a huge crowd, felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.
15 When evening came, the disciples approached Him and said, "This place is a wilderness, and it is already late.[e] Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves."
16 "They don't need to go away," Jesus told them. "You give them something to eat."
17 "But we only have five loaves and two fish here," they said to Him.
18 "Bring them here to Me," He said.
19 Then He commanded the crowds to sit down[f] on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples [gave them] to the crowds.
20 Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces!
21 Now those who ate were about 5,000 men, besides women and children.

Walking on the Water

22 Immediately He[g] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds.
23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
24 But the boat was already over a mile[h] from land,[i] battered by the waves, because the wind was against them.
25 Around three in the morning,[j] He came toward them walking on the sea.
26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and cried out in fear.
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28 "Lord, if it's You," Peter answered Him, "command me to come to You on the water."
29 "Come!" He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the strength of the wind,[k] he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, "Truly You are the Son of God!"

Miraculous Healings

34 Once they crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
35 When the men of that place recognized Him, they alerted[l] the whole vicinity and brought to Him all who were sick.
36 They were begging Him that they might only touch the tassel on His robe. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

Images for Matthew 14

Matthew 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

Death of John the Baptist. (1-12) Five thousand people miraculously fed. (13-21) Jesus walks upon the sea. (22-33) Jesus healing the sick. (34-36)

Verses 1-12 The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God's people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.

Verses 13-21 When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ's creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men's souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ's gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Verses 22-33 Those are not Christ's followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ's disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God's people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord's power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ's disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world's Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come, ( Hebrews 11:6 ) .

Verses 34-36 Whithersoever Christ went, he was doing good. They brought unto him all that were diseased. They came humbly beseeching him to help them. The experiences of others may direct and encourage us in seeking for Christ. As many as touched, were made perfectly whole. Those whom Christ heals, he heals perfectly. Were men more acquainted with Christ, and with the diseased state of their souls, they would flock to receive his healing influences. The healing virtue was not in the finger, but in their faith; or rather, it was in Christ, whom their faith took hold upon.

Footnotes 12

  • [a]. Or bound
  • [b]. Lit danced in the middle
  • [c]. Other mss read body
  • [d]. Lit Coming out (of the boat)
  • [e]. Lit and the time (for the evening meal) has already passed
  • [f]. Lit to recline
  • [g]. Other mss read Jesus
  • [h]. Lit already many stadia; 1 stadion 600 feet
  • [i]. Other mss read already in the middle of the sea
  • [j]. Lit fourth watch of the night 3 to 6 a.m.
  • [k]. Other mss read saw the wind
  • [l]. Lit sent into

Matthew 14 Commentaries