Matthew 14: Feeding the Five Thousand

Why did Herod think Jesus was the spirit of John the Baptizer returned from the dead?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 14:1–2 When Herod, ruler of Galilee, received reports about Jesus, he said to his aides, “He must have the spirit of John the Baptizer who has returned from the dead. That is why he has the power to do such miracles.”
King James
Matthew 14:1–2 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

What “wrongdoing” by John resulted in his imprisonment? By what right could he have been executed?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:3–5 Earlier, Herod had taken Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, to be his wife. He had John arrested, bound in chains, and put in prison for saying to him, “Under God’s law, you have no right to be married to her.” He would have put him to death, but he feared all the people who thought John was a prophet.
King James
Matthew 14:3–5 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

Who would have been present at Herod’s birthday feast?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:6–7 During Herod’s birthday feast, Herodias’s daughter danced before his guests in a way that immensely pleased him, so much so that he swore to give her anything she wanted.
King James
Matthew 14:6–7 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

Why was Herod so pleased with Herodias’s daughter’s dance?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 14:6–7 During Herod’s birthday feast, Herodias’s daughter danced before his guests in a way that immensely pleased him, so much so that he swore to give her anything she wanted.
King James
Matthew 14:6–7 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

What did Herodias think she would gain by having John dead?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:8 She answered with what her mother had told her to say. “Bring me John the Baptizer’s head on a platter.”
King James
Matthew 14:8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

Why did the daughter not ask for half the kingdom?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
Matthew 14:6–8 During Herod’s birthday feast, Herodias’s daughter danced before his guests in a way that immensely pleased him, so much so that he swore to give her anything she wanted. She answered with what her mother had told her to say. “Bring me John the Baptizer’s head on a platter.”
King James
Matthew 14:6–8 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.

Why couldn’t Herod judge the daughter’s request as absurd and say she would have to choose something else?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:9–10 This grieved the king, but because he had sworn an oath before his guests, he gave the order to have John beheaded in prison.
King James
Matthew 14:9–10 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

Was the beheading of John a part of Herod’s birthday celebration? Why?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:11 The head was given to her on a platter, and she took it to her mother.
King James
Matthew 14:11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

How might John’s disciples have learned of John’s death? What gave them authority to claim the body and bury it?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:12 John’s disciples claimed the body, buried him, and then went and told Jesus what had happened.
King James
Matthew 14:12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Could Jesus have known about John’s death prior to receiving news from John’s disciples? Why or how? What was his reaction to the news?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard about John the Baptizer’s death, he left by boat to a desolate place where he could be alone. But when the people heard where he was going, they left their towns and followed on foot.
King James
Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

If Jesus left by boat, how could people follow him on foot?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard about John the Baptizer’s death, he left by boat to a desolate place where he could be alone. But when the people heard where he was going, they left their towns and followed on foot.
King James
Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

If it was so late in the day, why hadn’t the crowd already left?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:14–15 At the seashore, Jesus saw the huge crowd waiting for him. He was moved with compassion and healed their sick. As evening grew near, the disciples said to Jesus, “We are far from town, and it is getting late. Send the people away so they can go to the towns and buy food.”
King James
Matthew 14:14–15 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Why did Jesus ask the disciples a question that was an obvious absurdity?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:16–17 Jesus said, “They do not have to leave. Why don’t you feed them?”
“With what?” they said. “All we have are five loaves and two fish.”
King James
Matthew 14:16–17 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

In the distribution of fish and bread, exactly where do you think the multiplication took place?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:18–19 “Bring the bread and fish to me.” After telling the crowd to sit on the grass, he took the five loaves and two fish, looked toward the sky, and gave thanks. He broke the loaves and fish and handed them to his disciples, who distributed the pieces to the people.
King James
Matthew 14:18–19 He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Where did the disciples get the twelve baskets they used to pick up the leftovers?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and the disciples gathered twelve baskets full of leftover bread and fish.
King James
Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

What happened to the food that was left over?

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Matthew 14:20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and the disciples gathered twelve baskets full of leftover bread and fish.
King James
Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

How much time would have been spent in distribution of the food?

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Matthew 14:21 Besides the women and children, about five thousand men were fed.
King James
Matthew 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Why did Jesus send the disciples away without him?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:22 After the five thousand had been fed, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and go to the other side while he dismissed the crowd.
King James
Matthew 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

How much trouble might Jesus have had in being alone to pray? What might the content of his prayers have been?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:23 When the people had gone, he went up the mountain to pray. In the evening, he was there alone.
King James
Matthew 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Why did Jesus walk on the water when he could just as easily have met the disciples on the far shore?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:24–25 The boat, now well out to sea, was being shoved back by high waves and a strong headwind. In the fourth watch of the night, between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus walked toward them on the water.
King James
Matthew 14:24–25 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

After walking with Jesus for so long, why did they not recognize him and think they were seeing a ghost? Why was this frightening?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:26 When they saw him, the disciples were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they cried.
King James
Matthew 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

How comforting do you think Jesus’ words were, when he said, “You do not need to be afraid”?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:27 “It’s all right. I am Jesus. You do not need to be afraid.”
King James
Matthew 14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Where did Peter get the idea that he could walk on water?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:28 Simon Peter said, “Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come walking on the water.”
King James
Matthew 14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Why didn’t the other disciples follow Peter on the water?

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Matthew 14:29 “Come!” Jesus said.
So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
King James
Matthew 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

How did the high waves affect Peter’s ability to walk straight toward Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:30 When he felt the strong wind and saw the high waves, he was frightened and began to sink. “Sir, save me!”
King James
Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Why did Peter lose his ability to walk on the water?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:30–31 When he felt the strong wind and saw the high waves, he was frightened and began to sink. “Sir, save me!”
At once, Jesus grabbed him. “You of weak faith, why did you doubt?”
King James
Matthew 14:30–31 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

What caused the wind to calm when Jesus and Peter got into the boat?

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Matthew 14:32 As soon as they climbed into the boat, the wind calmed.
King James
Matthew 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

What did the disciples learn from the walking-on-water experience?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:33 Utterly amazed and worshipful, the disciples said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
King James
Matthew 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

After Jesus and the disciples reached shore, how quickly did a crowd gather?

Author’s Thoughts
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Matthew 14:34–36 After crossing the lake, Jesus and the disciples came to shore near Gennesaret. People recognized him and news of his arrival spread throughout the region, so all the sick were brought to him. Some of them begged to touch the fringe of his robe. Those who touched his robe were healed.
King James
Matthew 14:34–36 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.