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Matthew 14 Reading Guide


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  • v1-12 - This opening passage is a flashback to events that happened months before, narrating the details of John the Baptist's death.

  • Herod's paranoid nature is evident in v1 when he concludes that somehow Jesus is a reincarnated version of John.

  • Although as 'tetrarch' (a Roman proxy ruler in charge of a quarter of Israel) Herod had quite a bit of power, it didn't really matter because he was "afraid of the people (v5)."

  • v13-23a - The humanity of Jesus comes out in v13. Yes, He's certainly God incarnate, but He's also fully man, and the emotions that result from hearing about His cousin John's death settle in.

  • In this difficult moment, Jesus relies on one of His favorite Spiritual Disciplines: He tries to get away for some silence and solitude to pray.

  • But the crowd follows Him.

  • Put yourself in Jesus' position here. You're overcome by grief, exhausted and you just want to be left alone. Nobody would blame Jesus if He lashed out at everyone and told them to get lost.

  • But Jesus doesn't do that. Instead, Matthew writes that Jesus "had compassion on them and healed their sick (v14)."

  • Time quickly slips away, and soon it's late, people are hungry and there's no McDonald's near by.

  • Jesus directs the disciples to distribute the few meager rations that they could find and miraculously feeds the crowd of "about 5,000 men (v21)."

  • As amazing as the miracle of the mass feeding is, I think the most important line in this passage comes at the end in v23, where after the crowd and disciples are finally gone, Jesus goes right back to what He had set out to do in the first place: "he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray."

  • v23b-33 - Having been left alone by everyone, including the disciples (which was Jesus' desire so that He could pray without distraction), Jesus walked out over a stormy lake to catch up with the boat full of disciples.

  • Notice how Matthew uses the word 'immediately' twice in this passage: