About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 14
verses 1 and 2 we see that Herod, the Roman governor heard about Jesus and
the miracles he was performing. So
by now the news of Jesus had spread well beyond the Jewish world into the
Roman world. Herod was the one
that beheaded John the Baptist.
to Matthew, Herod believed that Jesus was really John the Baptist who had
been raised from the dead. If
this was his thinking, he might well have felt some fear over hearing
verses 3 to 5 Matthew begins
to retell the story of John the Baptist and his relationship with Herod.
John was imprisoned because on more than one occasion he told Herod
publicly that he should not
have taken his brother’s wife to be his wife.
His brother was named Philip and his brother’s wife was name
Herodias. For this Herod
wanted to kill John but feared the masses of people who accepted his
story continues in verses 6 through 11.
It was Herod’s birthday party and his daughter was dancing before
a large crowd of guests. This
was often the custom in Roman society.
Women dancers would dance before the men that would be visually and
sexually pleasing for these men. Everyone
enjoyed Herod’s daughter as she danced, so much so that Herod promised
to give her whatever she asked of him.
Herod was the Roman governor and what he said went.
His word meant something. He
actually gave an official oath to provide for his daughter whatever she
requested. He could not change
heard of the request and she spoke to Herod’s daughter and told her to
ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.
When the daughter came to Herod with this request, he was greatly
displeased, but he had made an oath and could not change his mind.
He had John killed and his head was delivered to the daughter who
proceeded to give it to Herodias.
disciples took the rest of John’s body to be buried.
could well understand that when Herod heard of Jesus and the miracles, why
he might think that it was John that he had beheaded.
This being the case, and Herod being displeased with the request to
kill John, you might well believe that Herod was afraid at this moment in
what Matthew says in this passage Herodias appears to be a very
self-centered and conniving person. I
don’t believe her relationship with Herod was based on true love, but
more of an opportunity to have a life of prestige.
It also appears that her daughter was much like her.
verse 13 we see that when Jesus heard of John being executed He
“withdrew Himself to a solitary place”.
This suggests to me that Jesus was deeply effected upon hearing
that John had been killed. We
don’t have any record of Jesus visiting John in prison.
We don’t have any record that Jesus had any contact with John
after John baptized Him. It is
apparent that Jesus felt bad about John’s earthly destiny, yet on the
other hand He would have known the eternal reward that John would receive
for being the obedient servant of God that He was.
don’t know if Jesus had any time alone to reflect upon John’s death.
He might well have had some time alone but the verse continues to
tell us that the crowds knew where He was and so they gathered by Him.
Jesus needing the time alone, most likely didn’t get much of this
needed time. The crowds were
always following Him. The sad fact is that they were more interested in
what they could get from Him instead of what they could give to Him.
verse 14 we note that even though Jesus wanted to be alone, when He saw
the crowd and all the sick people waiting for Him, He still had
“compassion on them and healed their sick”.
Once again, we see Jesus healing the sick, and as discussed before,
the healing was based on His compassion, not the faith of those wanting to
be healed. The motives of
those wanting to be healed weren’t necessarily motives based on peoples
love for Jesus, but their hope that this miracle worker could do a miracle
verse 15 some disciples came to Jesus to suggest that He now send the
crowd away because this was “a remote place” and there was nothing
here to feed the people. So
it’s pretty clear that wherever this remote place where Jesus went to be
alone was pretty remote, but the crowds followed Him anyway.
By now Jesus had gained a great reputation among the people,
something that upset the Jewish leadership.
Jesus was now being seen as a superstar to the ordinary person.
This was a major threat to their leadership.
response in verse 16 was surprising to the disciples as it would be to us.
He simply told the disciples that they should feed these people.
That was not a very practical answer in the eyes of the disciples.
Yet it might well have been a practical answer in the eyes of
Jesus, because this might well have been a test of trust for them.
verse 17 we see that the disciples only had 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
That should have made it clear to Jesus that His idea was far from
verse 18 Jesus told the disciples to bring the loaves and fish to Him.
Can you imagine what the disciples thought as they brought 5 loaves
of bread and 2 fish to Jesus so He could feed a crowd of 5,000 plus
19 tells us that Jesus received these loaves and fish from the disciples
and gave thanks to His Father and then broke the loaves and fish into
pieces and gave the pieces to the disciples, then the disciples proceeded
to distribute what they received from Jesus to the crowd.
20 tells us that the whole crowd ate the food and had enough to eat so
that they were no longer hungry. After
everyone had eaten there were 12 baskets of food left over, more than what
they had started with.
would suggest to me that each of the Twelve were there passing out food,
and each had a basket, and each had a basket full of food left over.
It might well have been enough food for them to eat for themselves.
21 says that the number of men in that crowd was about 5,000.
Beyond that, there were also women and children.
There could have easily been 50,000 or more people in that crowd.
You can easily see why the Jewish leadership felt threatened by
verses 22 and 23 we see Jesus telling His disciples to leave and cross
over to the other side of the
verse 24 we see Jesus sitting on a hillside all alone while the disciples
were in the boat experiencing a bad storm.
Did Jesus know that He was sending His followers out into a bad
storm? He probably did, but
once again, part of life living with Jesus is experiencing the tests that
He puts us through.
verse 25 Jesus gets up from the hillside location and proceeds to the
shore of the Sea and then walks on the water out to where the disciples’
boat was. We know from the
last verse that when on the hillside, Jesus was a considerable distance
from the boat. This was
probably quite a walk in a bad storm.
verse 26 Jesus approached the boat. The
disciples were probably afraid enough from the storm, but Matthew says
that great fear came on them when they saw Jesus walking on the water
because they had concluded that they saw a ghost.
They did not recognize that it was really Jesus coming their way.
knew their fear, as He knows all things, and in verse 27 He tells the
disciples to take courage and not to be afraid because it was Him
verse 28 Peter comes up with a brilliant idea.
This is typical Peter. He
wanted proof that it was really Jesus walking on the water.
So Thomas was not the only doubter among the Twelve.
So in verse 29 Jesus tells Peter to come to Him.
at times Peter was quite impulsive, not thinking of doing something until
after he had already begun to do it. I’m sure this event was a mixture
of recklessness and faith. If
Peter had have had total trust that it was Jesus, he would not have asked
if it was Jesus in the first place. Peter
was willing to step out of the boat, partly due to his personality and
partly due to the fact that he felt this might well have been Jesus and
Jesus would not let him down.
verse 30 Peter takes his eyes off Jesus.
He sees the wind around him and second guesses himself and begins
to sink. Then he cries out to
Jesus for help. This often
happens when we second guess what we believe we’ve heard from the Lord.
If we know that Jesus has spoken and has asked us to do something,
we should go ahead and do it and not think twice about it after we begin
verse 31 Jesus reaches out and catches Peter as he began to fall. Jesus
then asks Peter why he had such little faith, and why he began to doubt.
Peter began to doubt when in his heart and mind, the storm became
bigger than Jesus. When Peter
focused on the storm, he lost all courage and Jesus faded from his sight.
all go through storms of life. The
question is, “will we allow the storm to take hold of our lives or will
we follow Jesus through the storm? This
walk on the water for Peter tested his trust in Jesus.
His trust was found to be weak.
the sight of all of this, in verse 33 we see that the others in the boat
“worshipped Jesus” because of what they just saw.
This was a very emotional time for these men.
One moment they were in great fear and the next they saw Jesus
walking on the water and Peter trying to walk on the water too. No wonder
they worshipped Jesus. They
worshipped Him as being the Son of God.
Who else could Jesus have been?
verse 34 to the end of the chapter we see Jesus and the disciples on the
other side of the