John the Baptizer Killed
1At that time Herod, # 14:1 This was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great who had the infant boys killed in Bethlehem. See Matt. 2:16. Herod Antipas was the one who Jesus stood before to be judged. See Luke 23:15. the Roman ruler over Galilee, heard reports about Jesus. 2He told his officials, “This man has to be John the Baptizer who has come back from the dead. That’s why he has this power to work miracles.” # 14:2 The Aramaic is “This is why powers are emanating from him.” Herod believed that it was the spirit of John working through Jesus, not the Spirit of God.
3For Herod had earlier arrested John for confronting him for taking the wife of his brother Philip. He had John thrown in prison and placed in chains 4because John had repeatedly said to him, “It’s not legal or proper for you to be married to Herodias, your sister-in-law!” # 14:4 Herod Antipas wanted to take his brother’s wife so he divorced his wife, a Nabatean princess, and Herodias divorced Philip so they could marry each other. This was why John confronted Herod. See Lev. 18:16. 5So Herod wanted John dead, but he was afraid of the crowds who flocked to John because they considered him to be a prophet.
6During Herod’s birthday celebration, the daughter of Herodias # 14:6 Josephus, the Jewish historian, notes that her daughter was named Salome. danced before Herod and all his distinguished guests, which greatly pleased the king. 7So he said to her in front of them all, “I give you my oath, ask of me anything you wish and it will be yours!”
8Because she had been instructed by her mother, she said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer here on a platter!”
9This grieved the king, but because of his oath in front of all of his guests, 10he had John beheaded in prison. 11They brought in his head and displayed it to her on a platter, and she then had it shown to her mother.
12John’s disciples went into the prison and carried his body away and buried it. Then they left to find Jesus and tell him what had happened.
Jesus Feeds the Multitude
13On hearing this, Jesus slipped away privately by boat to be alone. But when the crowds discovered he had sailed away, they emerged from all the nearby towns and followed him on foot. 14So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd. # 14:14 The Aramaic is “he nurtured them in love and cured their frailties.”
15Later that afternoon the disciples came to Jesus and said, “It’s going to be dark soon and the people are hungry, but there’s nothing to eat here in this desolate place. You should send the crowds away to the nearby villages to buy themselves some food.”
16“They don’t need to leave,” Jesus responded. “You can give them something to eat.”
17They answered, “But all we have is five barley loaves and two fish.”
18“Let me have them,” Jesus replied. 19Then he had everyone sit down on the grass and he then took the five loaves and two fish. He looked up into heaven, gave thanks to God, and broke the bread into pieces. He then gave it to his disciples, who in turn gave it to the crowds. 20And everyone ate until they were satisfied, for the food was multiplied in front of their eyes! # 14:20 The miracle took place as the disciples distributed what they had. Each disciple ended up with a basket full of leftovers. They picked up the leftovers and filled up twelve baskets full! 21There were about five thousand men who were fed, in addition to many women and children!
Jesus Walks on Water
22As soon as the people were fed, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and to go to the other side of the lake while he stayed behind to dismiss the people. 23After the crowds dispersed, Jesus went up into the hills to pray. And as night fell he was there praying alone.
24But the disciples, who were now in the middle of the lake, ran into trouble, for their boat was tossed about by the high winds and heavy seas.
25At about four o’clock in the morning, # 14:25 Or “during the fourth watch of the night” (between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.). Jesus came to them, walking on the waves! 26When the disciples saw him walking on top of the water, they were terrified and screamed, “A ghost!”
27Then Jesus said, “Be brave and don’t be afraid. I am here!” # 14:27 Or “I AM,” which was the name of God used in Ex. 3:14.
28Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!”
29“Come and join me,” # 14:29 Or “Go for it!” Jesus replied.
So Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. 30But when he realized how high the waves were, he became frightened and started to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he cried out.
31Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, “What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?”
32And the very moment they both stepped into the boat, the raging wind ceased. 33Then all the disciples bowed down # 14:33 Jewish disciples of Jesus bowed down before him, which was an amazing act of worship (Ex. 20:4–5). before him and worshiped Jesus. # 14:33 The Greek word used for “worship,” proskuneo, includes three concepts: to bow, to kiss, and to pay homage (worship). All three are included here. They said in adoration, “You are truly the Son of God!”
34After they crossed over and landed at Gennesaret, # 14:34 Gennesaret means “harp.” It was known as a lovely and fertile plain south of Capernaum. Lake Galilee was also called the Lake of Gennesaret. 35the people living there quickly recognized who he was. They were quick to spread the news throughout the surrounding region that Jesus had come to them. 36So they brought him all their sick, begging him to let them touch the fringe of his cloak. And everyone who touched it was instantly healed! # 14:36 See also Matt. 9:21–22; Mark 3:10; Luke 6:19. The power of God exuding from Jesus was so incredible that merely touching his prayer shawl (or cloak) would bring instant healing. This same power is available to the church today, for Christ, the healer, lives in every believer. See also Acts 19:12.