When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus,
he said to his advisers, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.”
For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip).
John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry her.”
Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.
But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him,
so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted.
At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!”
Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders.
So John was beheaded in the prison,
and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.
As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.
Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.
“Bring them here,” he said.
Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.
They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.
About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.
After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.
When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.
When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.
They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.