That will be multiplied and blessed to the service of men which is by faith passed through the hands of Christ. Faith and love with little can do much. (v. 18.) The steps of faith fall on a seeming void but always find a rock. No sea is too rough on which to venture if the eyes are on Christ and He has bidden us “come” (v. 29, 30).
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
3 ¶ For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.
9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
13 ¶ When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
15 ¶ And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
22 ¶ And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
34 ¶ And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
35 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
Matthew 14:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 14:3-14 – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 14:15-21 – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 14:22-36 – J. Vernon McGee
Matthew 14:1-12 – For Righteousness’ Sake
In the terror arising from his stricken conscience, Herod made confidants of his slaves, overleaping the barriers of position in his need of some ears into which to pour his fears. He had not finished with John. There is a resurrection of deeds as well as of bodies. The only way to have done with a sinful deed is to confess it and make reparation.
What true nobility John displayed in summoning the king to the bar of eternal justice! He might have said, “It isn’t seemly,” or, “It isn’t politic;” but he puts it on more unassailable ground, which Herod’s conscience endorsed: “It is not lawful” (v. 4). Herod was luxurious, sensual, superstitious and weak. He was easily entrapped by the beautiful fiend. To tamper with conscience is like killing the watch-dog while the burglar is breaking in.
How splendid the action of John’s disciples! Reverent love and grief made them brave the king’s hatred. In hours of lonely bereavement, the best policy is to go and tell Jesus. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 14:13-21 – Abundance for the Hungry
Jesus sighed for a little quiet and sought it amid the lonely hills across the lake. The crowds saw where His boat was making for, and hurried round the shore to greet Him. Without a sigh He put away the hope of rest and stillness, and set to work to heal and teach the unshepherded sheep.
This is not only a miracle but a parable. It is thus that the Creator is ever multiplying the slender stores left over from one harvest to produce another. It is thus that He will feed you and yours, if only you will trust him and not run hither and thither in panic. You need not depart from Christ in search of any good thing. All is in Him. When He bids us feed the crowds, He makes Himself ultimately responsible, but paves the way by forcing home the inadequacy of our resources apart from Him. It is as we break and distribute, that the living bread multiplies in our hands. The Church is the intermediary between the living Savior and the desperate hunger of the world. You may sit at the world’s table and remain hungry. But at Christ’s table you are filled. There is always more than enough left for the distributor. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 14:19—Looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake, and gave.
Stonewall Jackson was once asked what he meant when he used the expression, “Instant in prayer.” “I will give you,” he said, “my idea of it for illustration, if you will allow it, and not think that I am setting myself up as a model for others.” On being assured that there would be no misjudgment, he went on to say; “I have so fixed the habit in my own mind, that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without a moment’s asking of God’s blessing. I never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal. I never take a letter from the poet without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward. I never change my classes in the section room without a minute’s petition on the cadets who go out and those who come in.” “And don’t you sometimes forget this?” “I think I can say that I scarcely do; the habit has became almost as fixed as breathing.”
And if this was the habit of the servant, how much more of the Master. Frequently, in the Gospels, we are told of his heavenward look. It was as though He were always looking up for his Father’s smile, direction, and benediction; so that He could be assured that what He was engaged in was in the line of his Father’s Purpose, and that He might gain the needed power to act and wisdom to speak.
It is only thus that we shall be able to meet the hunger of our times. Our slender stores will not avail for so great a multitude. But if we bring them to Him, and place them in his hands, and look up to heaven for his enablement, we shall break and break again till all have sufficed and left. But this habit can only be maintained by those who go into the mountain of prolonged fellowship. —Our Daily Homily
Matthew 14:22-36 – Help in the Hour of Need
Jesus always comes in the storm. It had been a great relief to escape from the pressure of the crowd to His place of prayer, on heights swept by the evening breeze and lighted by the holy stars. But He tore Himself away because His friends needed Him. He is watching you also in the storm and will certainly come to your help.
He uses the element we dread as the path for His approach. The waves were endangering the boat, but Jesus walked on them. In our lives are people and circumstances we dread, but it is through these that the greatest blessing of our lives will come, if we look through them to Christ.
His coming is sometimes delayed. The gray dawn was already beginning to spread over the scene. The disciples’ strength was spent. He was not too late to be of service, but just in time to save them from despair. Be of good cheer, and if Jesus bids you come to Him on the water, always believe that His commands are enabling. Keep looking to Him, not at the storm. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Matthew 14:23 – We may well take the lesson which Christ’s prayers teach us, for we all need it – that no life is so high, so holy, so full of habitual communion with God that it can afford to do without the hour of prayer, the secret place, the uttered word. The life that was all one long prayer needed the mountain top, and the nightly converse with God. He who could say, “The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29), felt that He must also have the special communion of spoken prayer. What Christ needed we cannot afford to neglect. (Mc Laren)