The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Matthew 14

Mat 14:1

Source of this story: Manaen, former friend of Herod (Act 13:1)?

Mat 14:2

JOHN... HAS RISEN: Was there a family resemblance between John and Jesus?

Mat 14:3

Herod believed John was fomenting political rebellion in the guise of religious preaching.

HIS BROTHER PHILIP'S WIFE: Was Philip still legally married to Herodias -- even though she now "lived" with Herod?

Mat 14:6

ON HEROD'S BIRTHDAY: The only other person whose birthday is recorded in the Bible was another Gentile king, Pharaoh: Gen 40:20.

THE DAUGHTER OF HERODIAS DANCED FOR THEM AND PLEASED HEROD: Are we pleased to allow the "goddess" of pleasure to dance before us? "The character of the dance and the quality of the appreciation of it may well be imagined" (WGos 314).

Mat 14:7

TO GIVE HER WHATEVER SHE ASKED: "Up to half my kingdom" (Mar 6:23).

Mat 14:8

The pattern of Elijah: John also incurred the ruthless vengeance of the consort (Jezebel) of a weak monarch (Ahab).

PROMPTED: Or "instructed" (AV): the sw Deu 6:7, LXX -- but what a contrast.

Mat 14:13

The time of this incident: the 3rd of 4 Passovers in Christ's ministry (Joh 6:4n).

Jesus needs solitude for thought and prayer (cp Isa 50;4; Psa 119:147,148). A list of "solitude passages": Mar 1:35-37; 3:7,9,20,21; 4:35-38; 6:31; 7:17,18,24; 8:10,11,27; 9:30; 10:32; 14:32.

HE WITHDREW BY BOAT: He separates his disciples from the world -- by water.

Mat 14:14

He submerged his personal sorrows (at the death of John the Baptist) by ministering to others.

HE HAD COMPASSION ON THEM: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb 4:15).

Mat 14:16

Contrast the two great feasts: (1) There is Herod's feast -- which is sumptuous, attended by captains and kings, and the entertainment is provided by a "strange woman". It is a feast of death -- for a righteous man is slain on a whim. (2) Then there is Christ's feast -- which is frugal, with food for the poor. Here is no strange, lewd woman, but rather Christ's "bride", for whom he provides the bread of life. In contrast to Herod's feast of death, this is a feast of life, for it typifies the death of one who lays down his life for his friends.

THEY DO NOT NEED TO GO AWAY. YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT: None need depart empty-handed or hungry from the presence of Jesus. The bread that he provides is for all.

Mat 14:19

Cp special ordering of wilderness encampments (Num 2).

THE GRASS: Which was "green" (Mar 6:39; cp Joh 6:10), indicating Passover time.

HE GAVE THANKS...: The language of the Last Supper.

Mat 14:20

THEY ALL ATE AND WERE SATISFIED: "Satisfied with the bread of heaven": Psa 105:40; cp Psa 22:26; 132:13-16; Isa 25:6-8.

AND THE DISCIPLES PICKED UP TWELVE BASKETFULS OF BROKEN PIECES: Twelve baskets = twelve apostles! In ministering to others, they lost nothing themselves. (In the atonement of Christ, there is ample provision for all.)

BASKETFULS: "Kophinos" = small basket, in ct "spuris" (large basket) of Mat 15:37; Mar 8:8.

BROKEN PIECES: Which the Canaanite woman, like a "dog" under the Jewish "table", was only too willing to eat (Mat 15:27; Mar 7:28).

Five broken things in the Bible and the results achieved by them: (1) broken pitchers (Jdg 7:18-20), causing the light to shine forth; (2) a broken jar (Mark 14:3), causing the ointment to be poured out; (3) broken bread (Mat 14:20), causing the hungry to be fed; (4) a broken body (1Co 11:24), causing the world to be saved; and (5) a broken will (Psa 51:17), leading the sinner back to God.

Mat 14:22

From the "mount", Christ could see his disciples on the troubled sea, going toward Bethsaida (Mar 6:45). At the appropriate time, ie when they were in the greatest need, he could go to them.

WHILE HE DISMISSED THE CROWD: Why? Because they intended to make him king (Joh 6:15).

Mat 14:23

HE WENT UP ON A MOUNTAINSIDE BY HIMSELF TO PRAY: Jesus knew they intended to make him king by force (Joh 6:15). "The waves of popular acclaim might have drowned him in a glory which was suffocation in the sea of men" (ADN 63).

Instances of Jesus withdrawing into a mountain, apart -- sometimes for privacy and prayer, and sometimes to instruct his followers: Mat 5:1; 8:1; 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; 24:3; 28:16; Mark 3:13; 6:46; 9:2; 13:3; Luke 6:12; 9:28; 22:39; John 6:3,15; 8:1.

WHEN EVENING CAME: Lit, "between the two evenings": as in Exo 12:6.

Mat 14:24

BUFFETED BY THE WAVES... THE WIND: "Life can present a picture of a dark and turbulent sea with Jesus afar off. It is the slow triumph of faith to see him on the heights above in communion and intercession with his Father. Sometimes he comes to us in the midst of the storms and darkness, in unfamiliar form which we must learn to recognize. We are quick to appreciate, if we are slow to learn, that when we walk over the waters to meet him, we must not be dismayed by the darkness, the wind or the waves; we must believe that his power is greater far; that he can save even unto the uttermost: that faith can only be sustained by keeping our eyes fixed lovingly and obediently upon him" (MP 193).

Mat 14:25

Christ first breaks bread -- signifying his own body in death -- and then, when his disciples are in distress on a troubled sea, comes to calm and save them -- his second coming!

JESUS WENT OUT TO THEM, WALKING ON THE LAKE: "He was about to pass by them" (Mar 6:48).

Mat 14:28

"A deliberate demonstration of loyalty in the face of coolness of the rest" (WGos 322).

Mat 14:29

A Galilean "space walk" -- with no life-line!

Mat 14:30

BEGINNING TO SINK: Sinking times are praying times with the Lord's servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his journey, but when he began to sink his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry though late was not too late

LORD, SAVE ME!: Short prayers are long enough. There were only 3 words in Peter's petition, but they were sufficient for his purpose. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity.

Can we not understand Peter's failings, when winds drown out voice of Christ, and towering waves of trouble obscure our view of him? "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O LORD, supported me" (Psa 94:18; cp Psa 73:2).

Mat 14:33

WORSHIPED HIM: See Lesson, Worship of Christ?

Mat 14:36

AND ALL WHO TOUCHED HIM WERE HEALED: All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

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