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Matthew Chapter 14:1-36

 Memory verses for this week:   Psa 16:11  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 

Introduction: In last week’s lesson, we studied the last of the seven parables concerning the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.   The Lord used these parables to allow those who knew the Lord to come to a rich understanding, whereas those who were not saved could not comprehend.


I.   Herod’s Troubled Conscience and the Record of John’s Death

Mat 14:1  At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,

Mat 14:2  And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.

Mat 14:3  For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.

Mat 14:4  For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

The picture we have here is a man who trifles with his conscience rather than turning from his sin.  Herodias, who King Herod had taken for his own although she was his sister in law, has a great hatred towards John the Baptist.   John had called their hand on what was going on, and had told the king that it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife.  Herod had silenced John’s voice by putting him in prison, and later having him put to death.   But even though John was dead, he could not still the sound of his conscience.  When a person does wrong, there is a knowledge of that.   In a saved person, the Holy Spirit convicts us to turn back to the Lord.  The lost have that nagging voice of the conscience in the background.   Again and again the memory of what he has done wrong comes back to torment him.  When he hears of the fame of Jesus, he now fears that John the Baptist has risen from the dead. Amazing sometimes what the wicked think and fear.

Prov 28:1  The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Have you ever been around someone who is constantly in the wrong.   They can’t sit still… they are always looking around expecting someone to come up on them and condemn then.   We used to be like that before Christ came into our lives, but now we don’t have to fear condemnation.

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


Mat 14:5  And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

Mat 14:6  But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

Mat 14:7  Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

Mat 14:8  And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.

Mat 14:9  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.

Mat 14:10  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

The real instigator of the crime in having John the Baptist beheaded was Herodias.   She was the one in behind the scenes that told her daughter what to ask the King for when he made his offer unto her.   The woman was mad because John had pointed out that if her husband was still alive, Herod could not take her for his own wife.  John the Baptist had great courage, and even though it was the king to whom he spake, he told him that it was sin.   Herodias hated him for his rebuke.  She knew that if the king listened to John, that she might lose her position of queen of the country.  Never be surprised what wicked men and women may do to obtain authority and power.   Riches and power have corrupted many good men and women through the years.   Herodias had forsaken her husband so that she could secure a position of royalty.   Herod had originally wanted to kill John, but feared the reaction of the people since they knew he was a prophet.   Once Herodias’ daughter danced, Herod promised to give her whatever she wanted.   And the wicked mother told her to ask for John’s head in a charger.   Herod realized that he basically had to go through with it or break his own oath.  So he does what she asks.   I might add that the third thing that causes many to fall is a lack of control.  When lusts overcome people, they will do bad things.    Whether it be lusts for sexual favors or for money or any other thing, it can bring us down.   Remember the three things that the Lord warns us against in I John.

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

1 John 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


Mat 14:11  And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.

Mat 14:12  And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

 Mat 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.

Mat 14:14  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

After John is beheaded, his disciples come and take the body and bury it.   When Jesus hears of John’s death, he withdraws to a desert place.   Many of the followers of Jesus heard of Him going out into the desert and they follow after them.  And even while in agony of John’s death, it says that Jesus was moved with compassion upon the multitude and healed their sick.  What an example Jesus gave to us that we might have the heart of a servant.   Here was the creator of the universe, caring and healing those that were sick in a time when he must have been in grief over John’s death.


II.  The Five Thousand Fed

Mat 14:15  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.

Mat 14:16  But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

Mat 14:17  And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

Mat 14:18  He said, Bring them hither to me.

The lesson that we can all learn here is that Jesus can take a little and do a lot with it.   How many pastors would agree with this?   I know as a worker in the church, I am so happy with what God has done with the efforts we put into the weekly S/S lessons.  We don’t realize the impact that these lessons may have not only here in our church but also to those who receive them via our weekly email lessons.   Jesus can take a little and do much with it.  That should encourage us that no matter how little we may have, that we should put it in the Master’s hands.   There were 5 loaves and two fishes, giving us the total of 7.  Then number 7 is the number of God which speaks of completion.  The number 6 is the number of man, and seems to always come up lacking.   We know from our study in Revelation that the number of the beast will be based upon 666.   Jesus takes these 5 loaves and 2 fishes and feeds this great multitude.  Not only does he feed them, but it says that they were filled in verse 20.  Jesus satisfies when he makes provision for us.

Mat 14:19  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.

Mat 14:20  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Mat 14:21  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

We see that not only did he feed them all, but there were 12 baskets full left over.   How can you wind up with more than you began?   Never doubt how far God can go when we offer what we have to the Lord.   It says that little bit of food fed 5,000 men and the women and children also.   This miracle is recorded in all four accounts of the Gospel.

God can take a little and make it go a long ways.   Remember the story of the widow lady who had hit the bottom of the meal bucket and was about to make that last cake to feed her and her son so they could die.   The prophet Elijah come on the scene and asked her to make him a small cake by faith.

1 Ki 17:8  And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,

1 Ki 17:9  Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

1 Ki 17:10  So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

1 Ki 17:11  And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

1 Ki 17:12  And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

1 Ki 17:13  And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

1 Ki 17:14  For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.

1 Ki 17:15  And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

1 Ki 17:16  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.


III. Jesus Walks on the Water

Mat 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.

Mat 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.

Jesus commanded the disciples to precede him across the lake while he remained to dismiss the multitudes which He had fed with the five loaves.   Jesus sends them on, and then goes up on a mountain by himself to pray.   Jesus many times went out alone to pray, setting an example that we all need at times to get alone with God and pour out our hearts to Him.

Mat 14:24  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

Mat 14:25  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

Mat 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.

Just because the disciples did what Jesus commanded them did not exempt them from facing the storm this night.   In this life, there will be many storms, and we as Christians are not exempt from them.  Matter of fact, if we live Godly, we are promised that we will receive persecution.  But we are also sure of something great… no matter what we face Jesus will be with us every step of the way and will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.  Just as Jesus comes to the disciples amidst the storms, he will be there for us no matter what kind of storm comes our way.   It says that it was the fourth watch of the night, and as Jesus approached the ship, the disciples look out and cry out for fear.   They perceived a spirit was walking on top of the water.  This was a very unnatural manner in which Jesus came to them.  In their defense, not too many humans had been able to walk on water before this night.   I think it is worthy to note that they had to ride out the storm for a while before Jesus appeared.    Sometimes the storms may test our faith, but he sure that God is in total control.   And Jesus is always ready to save those who are in need, particularly when it comes to a soul that needs salvation.

Mat 14:27  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Mat 14:28  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Mat 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.

Mat 14:30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

Mat 14:31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Mat 14:32  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

Peter shows us what can be done when we step out by faith and approach the Lord.  And like we said earlier, no matter how high the winds or the storm, Jesus is in the midst of that storm and can save us.   Christ did not rebuke Peter for asking to come out of the boat… he rebukes him for his lack of faith when the waves overwhelm him and he takes his eyes off of Christ.   There is a real lesson here.   No matter what we face, if we want total peace and deliverance, we need to keep our eyes focused on Christ.  Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world.  Satan is no match for Jesus Christ.   Christ never rebukes us for attempting too much, but he is saddened when we don’t have the faith that we should have.  A lack of faith can cause us to come to a position of peril.  But no matter where we are, Jesus is there ready to save us from our situation.   When Peter cried out, Jesus came immediately it says there in verse 31.   He stretched forth his hand and Peter took that hand.   If you are here this morning and you’ve never reached out to Jesus Christ, I hope you’ll consider what you are missing.

Heb 2:2  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;

Heb 2:3  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Heb 2:4  God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

J. Vernon McGee said this about Peter and his experience.

Peter has certainly been criticized for this. They say that he should not have asked to walk on water. Well, I rather admire the man. William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Certainly Peter did that! I am afraid that most of us are satisfied with little things from God.


Notice that Jesus did not rebuke Peter for asking— I hear people say that Peter failed to walk on the water, but that is not the way my Bible reads. My Bible says that Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. This is not failure! Peter asked a tremendous thing of God. No wonder God used him in such a wonderful way during the days that followed. No wonder he was chosen to preach the sermon on the Day of Pentecost. 

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me [Matt. 14:30].

Peter took his eyes off the Lord Jesus while he was walking on the water. When he began to sink, he prayed the shortest prayer in the Bible, “Lord, save me”! If Simon Peter had prayed this prayer like some of us preachers pray, “Lord, Thou who are omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent … ,” Peter would have been twenty-nine feet under water before he would have gotten to his request. Peter got right down to business, and you and I need to pray like that.  Peter’s problem was that he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves rolling. You and I are in a world today where we see the waves rolling, and this is the time when we need to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Mat 14:33  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Mat 14:34  And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

Mat 14:35  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;

Mat 14:36  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

When Jesus comes on the scene, the winds cease.   This caused the disciples to worship Christ and speak the truth when they proclaim “Thou art the Son of God.”  He is worthy of our praise… and only he.   All others before or after Christ who claimed to be God are men dead in their graves.  But Jesus is the only one that ever claimed to be God and rose from the dead and lives forever more.   The people come out from the land of Gennesaret, and Jesus healed those that were diseased.   Some had the faith that if they could but touch the hem of his garment, they could be made whole.     And by faith, those that did touch him were TOTALLY healed.   


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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