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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 14

  1. Introduction
    Memorial Day Weekend…tomorrow is Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who have given their lives, the ultimate sacrifice for us.

    America was founded upon principle that were to be free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Freedom like that doesn’t come without a price…we can celebrate these freedoms because of the blood shed by our fellow citizens, neighbors, friends & loved ones.

    Numbers of Americans Killed/Wounded, by Action
Years Location Killed Wounded
1917-1918 World War I 116708 204002
1941-1945 World War II 408306 670846
1950-1953 Korean War 54246 103284
1957-1975 Vietnam War 58219 153356
1990-1991 Persian Gulf, Op Desert Shield/Storm 363 357
Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan Theater Total to date 1974 --
2003-2008 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq
4,452
4475 US: 11,413 [f1]

Similarly, Jesus tells us that we should remember His death…His ultimate sacrifice for our freedom from sin, our flesh, and the cares of the world. He bought us with the price of His broken body and shed blood that we might be set free to live an abundant life serving and pleasing and glorifying Him. Let us not forget God’s ultimate sacrifice!

Verses 1-12

  1. John the Baptist
    Matthew 14:1-12 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.
    1. Here we have the story of Herod and the beheading of John the Baptist.
    2. He was called Herod Antipas; he was the son of Herod the Great (from Chap. 2).
    3. The word "tetrarch" means the ruler over a fourth part.
    4. Herod Antipas, the one who had beheaded John the Baptist, was married to the daughter of a Nabatean king named Areta.
    5. But when He went to Rome were he visited his brother Philip, Herod Philip, and there he fell in love with Philip's wife. And he enticed her to leave his brother, and to return with him as his wife. But in order to do this he had to then divorce Areta, the daughter of the Nabatean king, which he did. And he took Herodias as his wife.
    6. Herodias was actually a half-niece to both Herod Philip and Herod Antipas, so Herod Antipas actually married both his half-niece and sister-in-law!
    7. Mark 6:16-18 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. 18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
    8. Herodias was “such a great woman” that she conspired and used her daughter to get John killed!
    9. Herod Antipas and Herodias are actually “types” of Ahab and Jezebel as John the Baptist was a type of Elijah.
    10. Herodias wanted John’s head on a charger which is actually a wooden platter.
    11. NOTE v9 “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.”
      1. Pride caused him to kill John…he could have saved him if he were more humble and compassionate.
      2. Pride can kill us all – we need to be more concerned with what God thinks of us than what people think of us!
      3. Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Verses 13-21

  1. Feeding the 5000
    Matthew 14:13-21 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.
    1. 5000 men doesn’t include women and children…there could have been 15-20k or more people here.
    2. Jesus is creating something from nothing!
    3. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
    4. John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

      ***********
    5. Notice: Between blessing and giving there is “breaking”. That’s how God works…He blesses us and teaches us but before He uses us He must “break” us…just as with Herod and his pride, our pride must leave! And when it does…look what happens:
    6. Where is says “they were filled” in v20, it means they were gorged or glutted – they were literally stuffed full!
    7. …And they picked up 12 basket fulls of left-overs!
    8. We serve a BIG GOD!
    9. An important point we find here for our ministries…
      1. We are NOT the producer, we are SIMPLY the distributor of all that God provides!
    10. This story teaches us 3 principles:
      1. Thank God for, and wisely use what you have.
      2. Trust God’s unlimited resources.
      3. Don’t waste what He gives you.

Verses 22-33

  1. Walking on Water
    Matthew 14:22-33 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.
    1. Jesus went up into a mountain to Pray

      Jesus had had an extremely tough day…he’d found out His cousin John the Baptist had been be-headed, he’d fed 15k+ people, and so He sent His disciples off and did the one thing that would refresh, refill and revitalize Him – HE PRAYED.
      1. Prayer is so important for us…we need to heed His example and spend time with the Father in fellowship every chance we get just like Jesus!
      2. An abiding relationship is one that is based upon communion and fellowship with the Father; how do you fellowship if you don’t spend time together?
    2. Jesus walked across the Lake
      Jesus is the creator of the universe…He certainly can walk outside of the laws of gravity and physics if He wants to…
      1. Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
      2. V26 tells us they were “troubled” – literally they were “terrified”…they had NOT embraced Jesus as God yet!
    3. Peter takes his eyes off Jesus
      Matthew 14:28-33 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.
      1. We Dare not trust ourselves
        1. John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
        2. Proverbs 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
      2. Look to Jesus
        1. ​​​​​​​Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
        2. ​​​​​​​Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Verses 34-36

  1. Conclusion
    Matthew 14:34-36 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.
    1. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Matthew 14". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/matthew-14.html. 2017.