Matthew 14

John the Baptist Beheaded

1 1At that time 2Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus,
2 and said to his servants, "3This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
3 For when 4Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him 5in prison because of 6Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
4 For John had been saying to him, "7It is not lawful for you to have her."
5 Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as 8a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of 9Herodias danced before * them and pleased 10Herod,
7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever * she asked.
8 Having been prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist."
9 Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.
10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
12 His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.

Five Thousand Fed

13 11Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
14 When He went ashore, He 12saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and 13healed their sick.
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."
16 But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!"
17 They said to Him, "We have here only * * 14five loaves and two fish."
18 And He said, "Bring them here to Me."
19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He 15blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds,
20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full 16baskets.
21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 17Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.
23 After He had sent the crowds away, 18He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was 19contrary.
25 And in 20the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is 21a ghost!" And they cried out in fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "22Take courage, it is I; 23do not be afraid."
28 Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
29 And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "24You of little faith, why * did you doubt?"
32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly 25God's Son!"
34 26When they had crossed over, they came to land at 27Gennesaret.
35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;
36 and they implored Him that they might just touch 28the fringe of His cloak; and as many as 29touched it were cured.

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.

Cross References 29

  • 1. Matthew 14:1-12: {Mark 6:14-29;} Matthew 14:1, 2: {Luke 9:7-9}
  • 2. Mark 8:15; Luke 3:1, 19; Luke 8:3; Luke 13:31; Luke 23:7f, 11f, 15; Acts 4:27; Acts 12:1
  • 3. Matthew 16:14; Mark 6:14; Luke 9:7
  • 4. Matthew 14:1-12: {Mark 6:14-29;} Mark 8:15; Luke 3:1, 19; Luke 8:3; Luke 13:31; Luke 23:7f, 11f, 15; Acts 4:27; Acts 12:1
  • 5. Matthew 4:12; Matthew 11:2
  • 6. Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:17, 19, 22; Luke 3:19
  • 7. Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21
  • 8. Matthew 11:9
  • 9. Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17, 19, 22; Luke 3:19
  • 10. Matthew 14:1-12: {Mark 6:14-29;} Mark 8:15; Luke 3:1, 19; Luke 8:3; Luke 13:31; Luke 23:7f, 11f, 15; Acts 4:27; Acts 12:1
  • 11. Matthew 14:13-21: {Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13;} Matthew 15:32-38
  • 12. Matthew 9:36
  • 13. Matthew 4:23
  • 14. Matthew 16:9
  • 15. 1 Samuel 9:13; Matthew 15:36; Matthew 26:26; Mark 6:41; Mark 8:7; Mark 14:22; Luke 24:30; Acts 27:35; Romans 14:6
  • 16. Matthew 16:9; Mark 6:43; Mark 8:19; Luke 9:17; John 6:13
  • 17. Matthew 14:22-33: {Mark 6:45-51; John 6:15-21}
  • 18. Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:28; John 6:15
  • 19. Acts 27:4
  • 20. Matthew 24:43; Mark 13:35
  • 21. Luke 24:37
  • 22. Matthew 9:2
  • 23. Matthew 17:7; Matthew 28:5, 10; Mark 6:50; Luke 1:13, 30; Luke 2:10; Luke 5:10; Luke 12:32; John 6:20; Revelation 1:17
  • 24. Matthew 6:30; Matthew 8:26; Matthew 16:8
  • 25. Matthew 4:3
  • 26. Matthew 14:34-36: {Mark 6:53-56;} John 6:24, 25
  • 27. Mark 6:53; Luke 5:1
  • 28. Matthew 9:20
  • 29. Matthew 9:21; Mark 3:10; Mark 6:56; Mark 8:22; Luke 6:19

Footnotes 18

Matthew 14 Commentaries