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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 14

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-23

37 The history of the kingdom proclamation in Acts and what is predicted the circumcision epistles and the Unveiling fully bears out our Lord's forecast. There were the seven sons of Sceva ( Act_19:15 ), the wolves in Ephesus ( Act_20:29 ), the rich in ( Jam_5:1 ), the false prophets of second Peter and those who follow them, those who slip in, according to ( Jud_1:4 ), and many in the Unveiling, such as the false apostles ( Rev_2:2 ), those who are of the synagogue of Satan ( Rev_2:9 ), the Nicolaitans ( Rev_2:15 ), Jezebel ( Rev_2:20 ), and great Babylon ( Rev_18:1 - Rev_19:5 ) all these hypocrites were as darnel in the field, and have been allowed to flourish hitherto. But when the harvest comes the wicked will be severed from among the just and given up to judgment. No such severance shall take place in the body of Christ. Its members are beyond the sphere of condemnation ( Rom_8:1 ). There is no excuse for their having fellowship with unbelievers ( 2Co_6:14 ). They should be separate. This passage has no bearing on our conduct. It is concerned with the Circumcision alone.

44 In a country subject to revolutions, invasions, and robbers, it was customary to hide money and valuables in secret cistern-like vaults in the fields. Such are not seldom found by accident, and often cause much excitement. It would be dangerous to dig in another man's field. Hence the buying. Israel is the treasure. The field is the world (see 38). In order to possess Himself of the treasure, the Son of Mankind gives His all and purchases the world. He has overpaid its price by His blood.

45 The parable of the pearl is another aspect of the truth revealed by the parable of the treasure hid in the field. The sea is a picture of the nations, among whom Israel is scattered. The dispersion among the nations is the precious pearl sought by the Merchant, Who gave up all His riches to purchase it for Himself. They will be His special treasure in that day. There is no ground for the popular idea that Christ is the pearl, found by the sinner seeking salvation. He is, indeed precious, but sinners are not, seekers. It is always the Saviour Who finds the lost. He is not lost nor hidden. Here is another aspect of Israel's dispersion among the nations. In the conclusion of this eon-still future-Israel will be drawn from among all peoples. There will be a separation, such as was indicated in the parable of the darnel, and the bad will be destroyed in the terrible judgments of the seven bowls ( Rev_15:5 ; Rev_16:21 ).

53-58 Compare Mar_6:1-6 .

53 Notwithstanding the treatment He had received when He visited Nazareth before ( Luk_4:15-30 ), when they had actually tried to put Him to death, and the fact that His own brethren had declared Him to be mad, He graciously returns to the home of His youth, staying this time as long as He desired, and meeting no open hostility. It may be that He wished to refute the rumors His brethren had spread concerning Him by His presence and by healing their sick. But the Nazarenes found it impossible to put aside their prejudices. How could He, a mere townsman of theirs, amount to anything? They knew all about Him and His family. So it was with the prophets, and continues to this day. No man of God need expect recognition from those with whom he is familiar.

54 See Joh_7:16-17 .

55 See Isa_49:753:2 ; Isa_49:3 Act_1:14 .

1-5 Compare Mar_6:14-20 Luk_9:7-9 .

1 There are a number of the Herodian family referred to in the Scriptures. This one, usually called Herod Antipas, was one of the sons of Herod the Great ( Mat_2:1 Luk_1:6 ) who had sought to kill our Lord soon after His birth. Two of his half-brothers are also mentioned, Herod Philip I. who had first married Herodias ( Mat_14:3 Mar_6:17 Luk_3:19 ), and Herod Philip II. ( Luk_3:1 ). Archclaus ( Mat_2:22 ) was his full brother. Another half-brother, Aristobulus, was the father of Herod, king of Chalcis ( Act_25:13 ), Herod Agrippa I. ( Act_12:1-23 ), and Herodias, whose marriage, first to Herod Philip I. and then to Herod Antipas, was the cause of John the baptist's death. Agrippa II. ( Act_25:13 ) was a son of Agrippa I. Bernice ( Act_25:13 ) and Drusilla ( Act_24:24 ) were his sisters. Herod the tetrarch, here referred to, was a son of Herod the Great by a Samaritan woman named Malthace. After his father's death the Romans appointed him tetrarch of Galilee and

Perea, so that by far the greater part of our Lord's ministry was carried on in his dominions. His first wife was a daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, who made war with him and conquered him because he had repudiated his daughter in order to marry Herodias, his half-brother Philip's wife. This woman brought him to his ruin. She was exceedingly ambitious and induced him to go to the emperor at Rome and seek the title of king. But Herodias' brother, Herod Agrippa I. brought accusations against him, so that Caligula banished him to Gaul, where he seems to have died.

Verses 3-27

3 See Lev_18:1620:21 .

6-12 Compare Mar_6:21-29 .

13-15 Compare Mar_6:30-36 ; Luk_9:10-12 Joh_6:1-7 .

13 Herod's insistence that the Lord was John the baptist was not very reassuring, for He was almost continually within Herod's jurisdiction, and nothing could be simpler than to arrest Him and imprison Him, as John the baptist had been. His time had not yet come, so He quietly retires to avoid further publicity. But the throngs follow Him into the wilderness.

16 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the words which issue from the mouth of God. However great may be the marvel of providing food for such a multitude in the wilderness, it cannot compare with the miracle of which was the sign. The kingdom has been rejected. The Lord's path is now a spiritual parallel with the interval between His rejection and His return to reign. His people will need to be sustained in the wilderness, just as Israel old needed the manna after they had left Egypt and could not enter the land because of unbelief. The kingdom had come very near to them, just as their fathers had come to Kadesh, only to turn back into the wilderness for forty years. Then they needed physical food. Now they need spiritual sustenance. This provision is supplied by means of twelve cakes of bread, five on this occasion, and seven a little later, representing the twelve portions of scripture which have been given the Circumcision during the period which precedes the kingdom. The two fishes suggest that there is a testimony to the sons of Ham and Japhat who are proselytes in the nations. In these writings there is more than sufficient to sustain the believing Israelites and a considerable surplus for the nations. It does not, however, make any direct provision for the nations, such as is suggested at the end of ( Act_28:28 ). We are no longer called upon to eat the left-overs from Israel's feast ( Eph_2:19 ). The writings to the Circumcision, represented by the twelve cakes, are not for the nations. The Lord has given us a banquet such as Israel never knew. We have thirteen of Paul's epistles which, if we would only satiate ourselves with them, would keep us from so much as tasting the scraps which they refuse, or trying to purloin what pertains only to them.

16-21 Compare Mar_6:37-44 Luk_9:13-17 Joh_6:8-13 .

22.23 Compare Mar_6:45-46 Joh_6:14-15 .

23 His ascent into the mountain alone, while His disciples are sent into the midst of the sea, is a lovely little likeness of His ascension and session in the heavens while His disciples are left to the mercy of the nations. Not for naught is the word “torment” used here. It may not fit the effect of the billows, but it certainly is a forceful description of the fearful trials which are the portion of His followers during His absence.

24-27 Compare Mar_6:47-50 Joh_6:16-20 .

25 The Romans divided the night into four watches. There is a hint here that the Lord's absence will be prolonged until near morning. For them it will be night until the day of the Lord dawns.

26 No one will question the actual reality of this miracle who realizes how much greater is the wonder of His control over the turbulent peoples who threaten to swallow up His disciples during His absence in heaven. Some have tried to explain such prodigies on purely natural grounds. Nature is itself a continuous miracle to which we have become accustomed. Even in our present debased condition there are feeble intimations of powers we will possess in resurrection. It is said that consciousness decreases the weight of the body. It is heavier when asleep. It would seem that a sufficiently great increase in its vitality or power would overcome the force of gravitation. This is seen in a much intensified form in His ascension, where He practically be came able to walk on air.

Verses 28-36

32 Peter here symbolizes the sovereignty of Israel over the turbulent gentiles in the time to come. They are made afraid by the spiritual power of evil, typified by the wind. Peter's cry will be theirs when He reappears in glory. Then all Israel shall be invoking the name of the Lord and shall be saved ( Rom_10:13 ; Rom_11:26 ). Then Satan will be bound ( Rev_20:2 ), even as the wind flags. And then the nation as a whole will worship Him as they never have done before.

32-33 Compare Mar_6:51 Joh_6:21 .

34-36 Compare Mar_6:53-56 .

36 See Luk_6:19 .

36 As millennial bliss follows the terrors of the end time, so this lovely scene of abounding blessing succeeds the night of stress and storm. His presence dispels disease. They simply touched the tassel off His robe. This is not merely indicative of the most casual contact or a sign of the strength of their faith. It had a deeper significance, derived from Jehovah's instructions in the law ( Num_15:38-40 ). The garment of an Israelite was bordered by a fringe or tassel, in which was a ribbon of blue. The word blue is from the root meaning to finish. It was to remind them to do all His precepts. It may well be the sign of His complete obedience, especially of its finish on Golgotha. Contact with the cross is the basis of all blessing,

1-6 Compare Mar_7:1-13 .

1 Our Lord came to fulfill the law. When He taught that which seemed to be other than its precepts it was because He was above it. He could make it more searching ( Mat_5:27-48 ). Being the Temple of God, He and all in His presence could profane the sabbath ( Mat_12:1-8 ). Now, however, He is charged with violating the oral precepts which the Rabbis had not only added to the law, but actually placed above the law. In fact, while they rejected His supremacy above Moses, they arrogated it to themselves. Their choice of a test is most unfortunate for them. While they were hypocritically concerned with the ceremonial cleansing of their hands, their mouths were defiling themselves and all about them with thoughts dishonoring to God. The Lord did not take them up on the subject of washing before meals. He may have thought it a harmless rite, to be complied with or not, according to the finer dictates of courtesy. But He does attack the very idea that a tradition is binding, and that He or His were obliged to conform to any human precept. So He chooses one of their traditions, which was nothing less than an attempt to elude their legal obligations, and exposes their hypocrisy in placing their own precepts above the divine enactments. They called it “a hedge around the law”, but it was a dagger thrust at the revealed will of God. It did not guard the law, but explained it away. His law was just and good, their perversions of it were unjust and bad. The fifth precept was a most salutary provision for both parents and children. It is a sign of the degeneracy of our times that little honor is shown to father or mother. The law included in this the parental control of time or talent. The only way to avoid this was to claim that it was dedicated to God, the very One Who had demanded that it be dedicated to parents! The “corban” or approach offering was an oblation intended to win the favor of God. They thought to bribe Him with the results of their disobedience to His word! The same principle applies to all times. To hearken is better than sacrifice, to attend than the fat of rams ( Isa_15:22 ). Let no one suppose that He is pleased with their oblations, whether it be success in service, or even suffering for His sake, if it is not in fullest accord with His will. It is one of the most insidious and deceitful of delusions to imagine that, since His grace bears with such evil, and sends blessing through it, it receives His approval. Let us not take advantage of His grace or presume upon His love. Such is not the leading of His Spirit. Our Lord not only denounces the oblations of disobedient sons, but plainly refutes the teaching that contamination comes from unwashed hands.

4 See Exo_20:12 Exo_21:17

7-9 Compare Mar_7:6-8 .

8 See Isa_29:13 , Septuagint.

10-20 Compare Mar_7:14-23 .

14 See Isa_9:16 ; Mal_2:7 ; Luk_6:39 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 14". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-14.html. 1968.
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