Bible Walks & Talks: Matthew 14

Posted 6/17/22

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, email her at BibleWalksandTalks@gmail.com with BIBLE in the subject line.

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Bible Walks & Talks: Matthew 14

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SUGGESTED READING: Matthew 14

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this column Annette Dammer examines the New Testament one chapter at a time. If you’d like to join Dammer’s fellowship group, email her at BibleWalksandTalks@gmail.com with BIBLE in the subject line.

Matthew 14 is well-known and exciting. John the Baptist is beheaded. Jesus feeds the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. Even in exhaustion, Jesus walks on water and moves on to heal all He can find. It could be an entire movie!

Let’s begin with the drama that leads to John the Baptist’s misfortune. He is beheaded because he came up against ruler Herod the Tetrarch who was sleeping with his sister-in-law, Herodias. On Herod’s birthday he offers Herodias’ dancing daughter anything she wants for her talent. Prodded by mom, she wants John’s head on a platter. She gets it! (Matthew 14:1-12)

Jesus learns of this and is so upset he withdraws privately by boat to a “solitary place.”

Next, the crowds follow him from the towns. He lands, sees the large crowd, has “compassion on them” and heals their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14)

But that evening, the disciples say, “‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’”

Jesus says there is no need. “‘You give them something to eat.’” But, they say, they only have five loaves of bread and two fish for the crowd. (Matthew 14:15-17)

Jesus takes the loaves and fish and looks up to heaven. He gives thanks and breaks the loaves. He gives them to the disciples, who pass them out among the people. All ate “and were satisfied.” Afterward, the disciples collect 12 basketfuls of leftovers. About 5,000 men ate, in addition to women and children. (Matthew 14:18-21)

Immediately, Jesus makes the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side. He dismisses the crowd and heads up the mountainside, alone, to pray. Later that night, the boat is far away and tossed by the rough wind and waves. (Matthew 14:22-24)

Just before dawn, Jesus walks out to the boat – walks on the lake. The disciples spot him and are “terrified.” “‘It’s a ghost,’” they say, and cry “out in fear.” (Matthew 14:25-26)

Again, Jesus is immediate. He says, “‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Peter replies, “‘Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.’” Jesus says, “‘Come.’” (Matthew 14:27-29a)

Peter, and only Peter, takes Jesus up on His offer. But a moment on the stormy water and he freaks and begins to sink. He cries out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, this third time, Jesus reaches out and catches Peter. And He has words: “‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” Those in the boat say, “Truly you are the son of God.” (Matthew 14:29b-33)
Finally, all cross over and land at Gennesaret. When the residents recognize Jesus, they send word to the “surrounding country.” The people bring all their sick and beg Jesus to let them just “touch the edge of his cloak.” And all who touch it are healed.

John the Baptist’s head on a platter, more than 5,000 miraculous meals, walks on water and healings. Quite an adventure for one small chapter of the Bible!

Copyright © 2022 by A. Dammer

Scripture Notations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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