Matthew 14 begins with an account of John the Baptist's death. John was bold enough to speak out about Herod's (the ruler) unlawful union with his brother's exwife and got put into prison because of this. Herod did not have John killed since the people thought John was a prophet. However when Herodias' (the ruler's wife) daughter danced at Herod's birthday party and pleased him so much, he declared that he would give her anything she desired! Her mom instructed her to ask for John the Baptist's head so thus ended the prophet's life.
Jesus heard of John's death and "withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place." Yet the crowds followed on foot and when Jesus landed they were waiting. And Jesus didn't say, "Go away, please! My friend just died and I need to grieve alone for a while." Nope.
14When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
When the disciples noticed it was getting late, they suggested Jesus send them away to buy food in the village. Jesus told his disciples that the people need not leave, but for them to feed the group.
Did I mention there were about five thousand men along with women and children?
17"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
No problem. Jesus had been healing the sick already. What's the big deal about feeding a group of thousands from so meager a supply?
18"Bring them here to me," he said. 19And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
After this Jesus sent the disciples away on the boat while he went alone to pray on a mountainside. If Jesus needed to pray, this should tell us how important our own prayers are. I guess this begs the question for those of us who believe Jesus is God...ummm, why does Jesus need to pray to himself?
My Quest Study Bible offers this answer:
Jesus himself is God, but he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. Because he lived in constant communication with the heavenly Father, Jesus' consistent prayer life provided a living example for his disciples and enabled him to identify with our humanity (Heb. 4:14). He demonstrated what it means to live in complete harmony with the Father's will and to pray continually (I Thess. 5:17).
Remember the disciples had gone on ahead so Jesus wanted to catch up to the boat.
No problem. He just started walking on the lake.
The disciples were frightened thinking they were seeing a ghost!
Jesus assured them it was him and they didn't need to be afraid.
Peter wanted to walk on the water too. Jesus said "Come." Peter walked on the water and started towards Jesus.
But then he got caught up in watching the wind stir up the sea, became scared and started sinking!
"Lord, save me!"
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
34When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
Any questions or comments?