Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 14

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

  1. Intro: You Give Them Something
    1. We now move into a new & import section of Mt, The Retirement of the King. chps.14-20. (Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the NT, Mt.)
      1. Jesus now withdraws from the multitudes & spends time alone w/His disciples, preparing them for the coming crisis in Jerusalem (the cross).
      2. Remember even the disciples thought in terms of an earthly kingdom.
      3. It was necessary that He prepare them for this faith-testing experience. The 2 events in this 1/2 a chapter illustrate the characteristics of our present age, when the King is rejected:
        1. Christ’s servants will suffer and die for Him. Persecution
        2. Christ’s servants will minister the bread of life to man. Provision
    2. Zombie Apocalypse. The Walking Dead. Night of the Living Dead. The Dawn of the Dead. Zombie Jesus? That’s what Herod thought...Read vs.1,2.
      1. A zombie, from Haitian Creole zonbi. Zombism is really about a virus or disease that infiltrates someone's body which kills him/her. The person is then reanimated as a zombie. Other humans are then infected by a bite or a virus which then turns that person into a zombie, thus perpetuating the cycle. A zombie then is, “a dead person’s body, reanimated but continuing the process of decay. A zombie is considered undead rather than fully alive.”
    3. Now Zech.14:12 does say Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. But...despite pastor Dan’s interpretation of this... :)
      1. Clarification: So no Herod, Jesus was not a Zombie - Zombies are reanimated and are in the process of putrefaction. John is present in heaven w/His Lord.
      2. Jesus will eventually be resurrected fully back to life w/a fully functioning body.
  2. HEROD VS. JOHN (1-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) Herod Antipas - Herod The Great, 3 sons, 4 areas (tetrarch). Antipas gets Galilee/ Peraea. Tiberius is where Antipas lived & ruled.
      1. So, this Herod eloped w/Herodias, the wife of his 1/2 brother Philip I, divorcing his own wife & sending her back to her father, the king of Petra (Aretas).
    2. (2) I see ghosts or zombies - JOHN was written on this tyrants memory.
      1. Do you have any ghosts in your past? Any skeletons in your closet?
      2. God sent many voices to warn Herod. Especially the voice of Conscience & the voice of a Prophet.
        1. What other voices can we hear? God, Satan, conscience, friends, enemies, the world.
    3. Conscience - The voice of Conscience can be a powerful voice. It can also be silenced.
      1. Herod decided instead to listen to the voice of cowardice & plunged himself into terrible sin.
    4. (3-5) The Prophet John was another voice that warned him & boldly warned him to repent. Herod laid hold on John, because John’s word laid hold on Herod.
    5. Let’s note these 3 things... sorry, nevertheless, he commanded it.
    6. (9) The King was sorry - It’s also said a crocodile shed’s tears over those it snaps in two.
      1. Poor puppet king...He basically put a close pin on his Conscience.
        1. ​​​​​​​He was remorseful over the situation but not repentant over sin.
      2. (FBMeyer) To tamper w/conscience is like killing the watchdog while the burglar is breaking in.
    7. (9b) Nevertheless - How easily influenced.
      1. Influenced by his: cunning concubine, his dancing daughter, his careless covenant, & his beer-drinking buddies.
        1. ​​​​​​​Afraid of the jeers, Herod are you too religious to put away a Prophet?
          1. ​​​​​​​The fear of being thought weak, proved that he was weak indeed.
      2. Who influences you? Actually, every friend influences you for the good or the bad. How do each of your friends influence you?
    8. (9c) He commanded it - (Spurg) With the regret a wolf has because he must eat the lamb, he gave orders for the murder of John.
      1. ​​​​​​​Wicked Oaths ought to be repented of, not acted out.
      2. In the sight of heaven it was Herod who perished not John.
    9. Slide11b (10) No miracles were brought about for John’s deliverance. Never be shocked that good christians die.
      1. ​​​​​​​So our friend John left his prison for paradise, by 1 sudden strike of the sword. Which still happens today in the persecution of Christians around our world.
    10. (11) What a mother & daughter combo.
      1. I wonder if when Herodias looked at Johns’ face on that platter, if it was still silently screaming...It’s not lawful for you to have him.
    11. At the end of most true story TV shows & movies, it tells what happened w/the key people: Herod: lost his prestige & power. His armies were defeated by the Arabs. His appeals to be made a real king (urged by his wife) were refused by Emperor Caligula. Herod was banished to Gaul (France) & then to Spain, where he died.
    12. (12) Notice: They buried it not him. The real John no man could bury. (as w/you)
      1. And Herod soon found out that being dead, yet he spoke.
    13. John had taught his disciples well - They went to Jesus at once!
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus now departs. Several reasons for this withdrawing: (Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the NT, Mt.)
      1. ​​​​​​​The report of John’s death. The growing antagonism of Herod. The disciples’ need for rest after their preaching tour (Mrk.6:31). His need to get alone with His disciples to teach them.
    2. Illus: Do you remember what it was like to learn how to swing? Learning how to pump. Feet extended toward the sky. Leaning way back. The spin maneuver. Timing the jump.
      1. Its one of the 1st places we learned to trust. It all depended who was pushing us. If it was someone we trusted, they could try anything with us & we’d shout, Again! Again! But if it was some kid on the playground, or some random cousin at a family get together...oh man, sick feeling in your gut & hang on.
      2. Who pushes your swing? In the right hands, you can find peace...even in the twisty’s of life. Even in the big pushes where all u see is sky. You can Trust Him
        1. ​​​​​​​This is what Jesus seeks to teach his disciples in this life lesson. Trust Him.
    3. The why to this story is given by Jesus in Mrk.6:34, they were like sheep not having a shepherd. Shepherd-less sheep; folks trying to make it on their own through life.
    4. When you come to the Scriptures are you looking stories of personal growth, or an understanding of the character & nature of God?
    5. What is God trying to communicate about Himself? The fact that He can feed a bunch of people? That Jesus is greater than His disciples?
      1. What’s the underlying message? Is there one? Jn.6:22; 26,27; 33-35
        1. So, the miracle was a symbol of our Lord’s higher spiritual work. Trust Him...for everything.
    6. Their Rest (13) - Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.
      1. By Himself - i.e. not w/the crowds, but w/his small group.
      2. Every weary Christian worker needs to hear those words by Christ.
        1. It is important that we get alone from time to time to hear God’s voice and refresh ourselves physically and mentally.
        2. “If we don’t come apart and rest - we’ll come apart.” Vance Havner.
      3. “We need times when we smooth out the wrinkles of our soul, get alone w/ God, refresh our bodies, & then get ready to serve the Lord again.”
      4. A rest is much needed...but is not to be. [sometimes you just HAVE to disconnect; other times, He’ll give you that extra measure of grace/strength]
    7. Their Interrupted Rest (14) [note slide: whole rest/semηbrηv. 64th hemidemisemiquaver]
      1. Eager to be w/Christ they ran around the Northern shoreline.
    8. Instead of resenting their interruption, He was gripped w/compassion.
      1. He wasn’t moved w/complaining. “This is my day off, This is my time.”
        1. ​​​​​​​That phone call, that knock on the door. The flesh screams, Not right now Lord, you know I’m busy, or resting.
        2. He was moved w/Compassion = have one’s inner-being stirred. compassion + action
        3. Found 8 times in the N.T. - All refer to Jesus. When He saw the needy mult. Twice when he saw the hungry crowds. Saw the 2 blind men, Leper, widow at Nain. Was used in 3 parables.
      2. How do you react when your plans are unexpectedly spoilt?
      3. Jesus saw this crowd not as a mob, but as individuals.
        1. Individuals who looked like sheep w/o a shepherd. Who needed healings. Who needed teachings (Mrk.6:34). Who needed food.
      4. Do you know anyone that needs shepherding, a healing, or food?
        1. How can we help them find the Good Shepherd?
    9. ​​​​​​​Their Challenge (15-21)
    10. The only miracle found in all 4 gospels (except for the Res). Most public of all the miracles.
    11. (15) Here they remind Jesus it was a deserted place. (There wasn’t a Jamba Juice, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, or McDavids...not even a Starbucks for miles)
    12. Send them away - Never send someone away who is hungry [Sp, Emotionally, or Phys]
    13. (16) Jesus will give us seemingly impossible challenges...you give them something to eat.
      1. May this be written on every church, & every believing heart, We have the bread that satisfies!!!...you give them something to eat!
    14. (17) 5 loaves, 2 fish - A meal that might feed two people. Bread and fish were the staples of a Galilean peasant diet.
    15. (19) Blessed/He gave thanks NIV - Jesus thanks God for providing the food.
      1. The sequence of verbs (blessed/give thanks, broke, gave) occurs again in Matt 26:26, which may hint that it represented a traditional blessing.
      2. Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is My body.
    16. Blessed & broke – We are not manufacturers, we are only distributors. (the miracle took place in Jesus hands, not theirs)
    17. (20) Jesus didn’t only feed the 5000, but he taught the 12. He sent them home w/a doggie-bag reminder. [maybe Jesus has em carry the big basket all the way home so they don’t forget this lesson]
      1. Twelve baskets full - 1 per disciple. In the OT, God fed His people with manna, but there were no edible leftovers.
    18. (Mrk.6:37) Shall we go & buy 200 denarii worth of bread & give them something to eat?
      1. Leave Jesus out of your calculations & you’ll come up short every time.
      2. Oh, they were keenly aware of the need, but powerless to meet it.
        1. Standing before them was the One who created the Heavens & the earth. One who had all power. So, the 1st step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will & trust Him to meet the need.
    19. (Mrk.6:39) Green Grass – Just to show you how detailed Scripture is…in John 6:4 he mentions it is right before Passover (i.e. spring time) the only time of year of green grass.
      1. Here he makes them to lie down in green pastures. Ps.23:2
    20. (Mrk.6:40) Sat down in ranks – (lit. πρασια) A garden bed. Refers to the arrangement in rows, like a well-kept flower bed. It often was customary for the students of the rabbis to sit in rows which were compared to the rows of vines in the vineyard or to well-ordered gardens. (Linguistic Key to the Greek N.T., pg.105) - They must have looked literally like flower beds.
    21. Let’s remember, instead of telling Jesus what to do (15) let Him bring you back into a place of service as waiters.
    22. Jesus gave them something impossible or preposterous to do in their own strength.
      1. When Jesus gives us a command…He enables us.
      2. Oh, that we might face up to our own inadequacy, & learn that Jesus is able to cope w/any crisis.
      3. Oh, that we might learn again total dependence upon Him.
    23. John 6 makes it clear that the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 was a sermon in action.
      1. Christ, through His Word, is the Bread of Life on whom we feed. It is the privilege - and responsibility - of His servants to give this bread to the hungry multitudes. The servants receive that bread personally from Christ, then pass it on to others.
    24. Lessons from this miracle:
      1. Christ can take our little and make it much. [Moses’ stick. David’s rock. Elijah’s mantle/cloak. Widows jar/oil. Samson’s donkey jawbone. A lil lad’s lunch…Your monthly missionary support check. Your prayer. Your individual tithe. Your prep time for your SS class] Our means, His power.
      2. Whatever He blesses, He breaks. Are we willing to be broken?
      3. People today are in a desert place of sin (15) and need Christ.
      4. Christ can overcome every difficulty and feed the multitudes. The disciples had many excuses - not enough $, the wrong place, the wrong time - but Christ took what they had and met the need. He will do this today.
    25. As Jesus this week made them to lie down in green pastures, next week He will lead them beside still waters (walks on sea) & then will restore some souls (healings).

Verses 22-36

  1. Intro: 9-1-1, what’s your emergency?
    1. We love stories of rescue. This week the world met Romeo the dog, he was the dog found after rescuers heard his bark, 9 days after Italy’s infamous earthquake.
      1. This week the story is about Peter walking on water. But what matters the most? who Peter is or what he did? Or, who God is and what He did?
      2. Listen for several assurances our text gives us, as we sail through our storms of life.
        1. 9-1-1, what’s your storm emergency?
  2. WALKING ON A WORD (22-33)
    1. STORM CHASERS (22) those on pursuit of any severe weather condition.
    2. (22) Immediately - Why immediately? They wanted to make Him King. (Jn.6:15)
    3. Jesus made them get into the boat - This storm came because they were In the will of God.
      1. Storm Chasers, those on pursuit of any severe weather conditions, always seem a little foolish...but it’s not when Jesus tells you to chase one.
        1. We are always safer in the storm in His will, than on land w/the crowds out of His will (Warren Wiersbe)
      2. Did Jesus know the storm was coming? Yes. Did He deliberately direct them into the storm? Yes.
      3. Isn’t this like, telling a child to cross the street when you know a car is coming? No! It’s like, creating waves w/your left hand in a bathtub & holding a toy boat perfectly afloat w/your right hand.
    4. 2 Kinds of Storms:
      1. Storms of Correction - When God disciplines us (eg. Jonah).
      2. Storms of Perfection - When God helps us grow (eg. here).
        1. In the 1st storm, Jesus rode it with them (ch.8). This one, He tests them being out of the boat.
      3. Do you think that obedience to God always brings smooth sailing? No! Sometimes obedience places you right in a storm. [i.e. every storm is not of the devil]
        1. Example: Acts 4. Pete & John, obediently preaching & teaching. Result? Jailed.
    5. STORM PRAYERS (23-25)
    6. Be assured, If He has brought you into the middle of a storm...He cares for you & He prays for you.
    7. (23) We now are on the sea of humanity as He sits upon the shores of heaven interceding for US.
      1. What if I told you Jesus was rt. in this next room praying for you. Wouldn’t it not give you new courage to endure the storms/trials of life?
    8. He saw the disciples & knew their plight. (Mrk. 6:48)
      1. Be assured, He certainly see’s you in your storm, & knows your plight.
    9. (24) The lake here is about 6 miles wide. The 4th watch was between 3 & 6 am. In 9 hours they had only rowed about 3 miles. And after this long, they were about to perish?
    10. A Serious Situation. Matthew here states they were in the middle of the sea & tossed by waves. Mark adds, they were straining (tortured,tormented, distressed) at rowing, & that thewind was against them. Life is hard!
    11. (25) Mans’ Extremity is God’s Opportunity.
      1. He comes in the teeth of the wind, & on the face of the wave. [Jesus walked approx. 4 miles on the lake]
    12. STORM CHEER (26,27)
    13. ​​​​​​​(26) He would have walked by (Mrk.6:48) So, What made Jesus stop?
      1. Well, when they cried out. Yes but actually when they cried out for fear. Not, that they cried out Jesus! But when they cried out, AHHHH!!!
        1. ​​​​​​​Not when they cried out in faith...It was when they cried out in fear. Jesus simply heard their voice. Does that encourage you? I love this Jesus!
    14. It is a ghost! And they cried out for fear.
    15. Sometimes God shows up in a scary way not a comfortable way [Moses/burn bush. It is I/I AM]
      1. We need to recognize the presence of God in...our pain...our hurts...our sorrow...our uncertainty. Recognize His voice when you can’t see His face.
    16. (27) Be of good cheer/confidence - How can we? because of the next statement…
      1. ​​​​​​​It is I (ἐγώ εἰµί) - What more do you need?
    17. STORM GROWTH (28-31)
    18. (28) Peter’s life seemed to be a contradiction. But we’re no different.
      1. ​​​​​​​He seemed to have an identity crisis. He was Simon & he was Peter/petras/rock. Never in doubt, yet often wrong. He had great fear but he also had great faith. He could run as a coward and other times be strong. You can deny his Savior 3 times, but also preach 3000 souls to salvation.
    19. Peter forgot one thing at this point - The meaning of his name, Rock/petros/stone.
      1. But remember, anybody can sit in the boat & watch, it takes faith to leave the boat.
    20. (29) Time for a great lesson to be learned, the lesson of Come.
      1. In the feeding of the 5000 we learned He was Provider. Now, how would He show Himself as Protector if they didn’t ever need protection?
    21. (29) Have faith on His word.
    22. What happens when we’re trying to love somebody, then they don’t love us back. Now the wave feels bigger than the word. It also happens when God tells us to forgive, but now the feeling of unforgiveness is rising up and splashing against the boat.
      1. God wants to know...will you keep coming, and keep your eyes focused on something you can’t see, and walk toward His word, or get wiped out by the wave?
        1. Sometimes 1 wave can mess up your whole day. 1 neg comment from someone on FB
    23. (29) Peter’s not walking on water but on a word, come.
      1. He doesn’t say, Lord if it’s You, stop the storm, change my circumstance.
      2. Instead, Peter asked for a command from God. And he gets 1 word...come.
        1. And the way to find out is to step out.
      3. Maybe you & I in our storms can start asking for a command from God, instead of guarantee. And we can learn to walk on a Word.
    24. (30) Here is the but that almost buried Peter.
      1. He saw the wind about him, his heart failed in him, then his foot failed under him.
    25. Began to sink - The cause? When he took his eyes off the Savior, & placed them on the circumstance.
    26. Lord Save me - Aren’t those great words?
      1. The Unbeliever can cry them - Lord (you are God) Save (I am a sinner needing to be saved from my sins) Me (I’m personally in need).
      2. The Believer can cry them - Lord save me from: my enemy, my flesh, my greed, my lusts, my covetousness, my pride, my ego, my corrupt heart, my immoral mind, my doubt.
    27. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(31) His response? Immediately.
      1. 1st He caught him, then He taught him. Afterward, his Lord took him by the hand...Peter sank no farther.
      2. Peter, though wet to the skin, was a wiser man for his adventure. Wetter but wiser
    28. Oh you of little faith - I don’t think a rebuke...because a little faith was considered good.
      1. I don’t think it was the quality of his faith, nor the quantity of his faith, but the duration of his faith. It just stopped. Like each of ours at times.
      2. Are you trying to live a mistake-free life? Failure is not an option it’s a necessity.
      3. Because it is the point of this passage...he had to fail to learn that God is our Protector/Deliverer/Savior.
    29. Peter knew when to cry out - He didn’t wait till he was drowning...but when he began to sink.
      1. This was a difficult situation for Peter. But he grew in the knowledge of himself & the Lord.
    30. Is this the story of Peter walking on water and then falling?1. We can relate with Peter, we did some pretty dumb stuff back in the 80s (90’s).
      1. How about the story of, the 11 who never got out of the boat? [this might be a conspiracy theory but...when John tells this story in his gospel, he didn’t even put the part about Peter in it]
      2. Never worry about anyone in the boat that is criticizing you. Keep walking.
    31. Then Jesus held Peter under water for 30 seconds & said, don’t do that again Rocky.
      1. ​​​​​​​No the story is all about God’s grace. About Jesus reaching down. About Jesus walking Peter back to the boat.
      2. Jesus loves you when you walk on water with Him, and when you’re sinking.
      3. Maybe it’s not even a story about a great faith, but about greater grace!
      4. A grace greater than my failure, greater than my divorce, greater than my bankruptcy, greater then the layoff, greater than my addiction, greater than my slip-up, better than my screwup. Steven Furtick sermon
    32. Peter failed at what he set out to do...but Jesus succeeded w/exactly what He intended to do.
      1. Why does Jesus command Peter to do something that He knew would end in failure? Why does Jesus have you start off a relationship that He knows will end in failure? Why does Jesus have you achieve something that He knows He’s going to take away?
    33. STORM PARTNER (32,33)
    34. Why didn’t the wind cease until they were both back in the boat?
      1. I think Jesus was giving Peter another shot at the water-walking-thing. His story was not going to end at him getting cut from the water-walking-team.
      2. Jesus is not about shaming us or embarrassing us. Peter’s story would not end until he had walked on water w/Jesus back to the boat.
      3. Isaiah reminds us, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.43:2,3a
        1. He may not come when you think He should. He may wait till the boats as far away from land as possible...so that all human hope is gone.
          1. Every element we dread, His foot doth simply tread.
    35. The 1st time Jesus calmed the water, their reaction was what manner of Man is this? (Mt.8) Now their clear testimony is Truly You are the Son of God.
    36. (33) What did they do immediately, they enjoyed God...they worshipped Him.
  3. SEAL (SEa Air Land) (34-36) acronym
    1. ​​​​​​​Navy SEALs are trained to operate in all environments (Sea, Air, and Land) for which they’re named. We watched Jesus operate on Sea & in the Air walking on water...now on land.
      1. Our King is Master both on Land & Water.
    2. If the hem of His Garment is so rich w/blessing, how rich must be His hand & heart?
      1. They came to Jesus for Physical healing, but what about Spiritual healing?
      2. Many want to prolong their life on earth, but do they come to secure their eternal lives?
    3. Let’s note...Peter is still wet [Jn.6:21 & immediately the boat was at the land where they were going]
      1. This is great to know, we can worship wet!
      2. ​​​​​​​We immediately want to get em a towel, or a fresh change of clothes, at least a cover up. Let’s get em dry & all cleaned up first.
      3. At churches sometimes we don’t want people to think that we sink around here. We do, but we don’t want to show it. Instead, we want to compare w/ each other, I only went down to my knees. Ohhh, I went down to my waist :(
      4. At CM we need to continue over & over to promote, we have a “wet section!” Oh we make em sit in the back 1/2 of the church (jk).
        1. We have wet people, soaked people, saturated soggy saints. And we need to learn to say, I know your soggy but come-on, there’s work to be done in the kingdom...you coming? Jesus must have said, come on Peter I need you wet, help me out.
        2. Sometimes we have to worship wet. Lead wet. Preach wet. Lead our families wet.
    4. Where should our focus be? Peter all wet, aka soaked Simon. Or, on Jesus’ hand, i.e. Jesus is in control.
      1. Focus on Jesus’ hand. For a righteous man may fall/sink 7 times, & rise again. Prv.24:16
    5. Last point...30 yrs later. Many Bible Scholars believe that Mark’s gospel is a record of Peter’s reports of the ministry of Christ. Justin Martyr referred to it as the Memoirs of Peter.
      1. Read Mark 6:45-52 quickly. - What’s missing? Peter!
      2. The point was never about Peter walking on water. The point was...We were in a terrible storm, and Jesus made it stop. And when He did, we knew He was the Son of God..Now write that down, and tell everyone Mark!
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 14". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-14.html. 2017.
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