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Matthew chapter 14

New International Version

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, 'This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.'
3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: 'It is not lawful for you to have her.' 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.
6 On Herod's birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, 'Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.' 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.'
16 Jesus replied, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'
17 We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,' they answered.
18 Bring them here to me,' he said. 19 And 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. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'
28 Lord, if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'
29 Come,' he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'
34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
English Standard Version

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, 7 so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.
13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
King James Version

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2 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. 3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. 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. 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
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. 14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 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. 16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 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. 20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
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. 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. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 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. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 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; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
New American Standard Bible

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, 2 and said to his servants, 'This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.'
3 For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4 For John had been saying to him, 'It is not lawful for you to have her.' 5 Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Having been prompted by her mother, she said, 'Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.' 9 Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.
13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, 'This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.' 16 But Jesus said to them, 'They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!' 17 They said to Him, 'We have here only five loaves and two fish.' 18 And He said, 'Bring them here to Me.' 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, 'It is a ghost!' And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.'
28 Peter said to Him, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' 29 And He said, 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?' 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, 'You are certainly God's Son!'
34 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.
New Living Translation

1 When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus, 2 he said to his advisers, 'This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.'
3 For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod's brother Philip). 4 John had been telling Herod, 'It is against God's law for you to marry her.' 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.
6 But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias's daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, 7 so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. 8 At her mother's urging, the girl said, 'I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!' 9 Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. 10 So John was beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. 12 Later, John's disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.
13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.'
16 But Jesus said, 'That isn't necessary--you feed them.'
17 'But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!' they answered.
18 'Bring them here,' he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. 20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!
22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, 'It's a ghost!'
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. 'Don't be afraid,' he said. 'Take courage. I am here!'
28 Then Peter called to him, 'Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.'
29 'Yes, come,' Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. 'You have so little faith,' Jesus said. 'Why did you doubt me?'
32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. 'You really are the Son of God!' they exclaimed.
34 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. 36 They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.
Christian Standard Bible

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus. 2 "This is John the Baptist," he told his servants. "He has been raised from the dead, and that's why miraculous powers are at work in him."
3 For Herod had arrested John, chained him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, 4 since John had been telling him, "It's not lawful for you to have her." 5 Though Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd since they regarded John as a prophet.
6 When Herod's birthday celebration came, Herodias's daughter danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 So he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she answered, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter." 9 Although the king regretted it, he commanded that it be granted because of his oaths and his guests. 10 So he sent orders and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came, removed the corpse, buried it, and went and reported to Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard about it, he withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
15 When evening came, the disciples approached him and said, "This place is deserted, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves."
16 "They don't need to go away," Jesus told them. "You give them something to eat."
17 "But we only have five loaves and two fish here," they said to him.
18 "Bring them here to me," he said. 19 Then he commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of leftover pieces. 21 Now those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the boat was already some distance from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. 25 Jesus came toward them walking on the sea very early in the morning. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said, and they cried out in fear.
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter answered him, "command me to come to you on the water."
29 He said, "Come." And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, "Truly you are the Son of God."
34 When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret. 35 When the men of that place recognized him, they alerted the whole vicinity and brought to him all who were sick. 36 They begged him that they might only touch the end of his robe, and as many as touched it were healed.

What does Matthew chapter 14 mean?

Matthew 14 begins with the news that Herod the tetrarch, also known as Herod Antipas, has heard about Jesus' fame and power. This is the son of Herod the Great, who once tried to have Jesus killed (Matthew 2:7, 13). Antipas was assigned, by the Romans, to govern the region of Galilee and Perea where Jesus lived and ministered.

Herod believes Jesus to be John the Baptist resurrected, possibly out of guilt or superstition. After noting Herod's belief, Matthew provides a sort of "flashback" to explain Herod's execution of John the Baptist. John was imprisoned after publicly condemning Herod's marriage to his own sister-in law, Herodias (Mark 6:17–20). Herod hesitated to execute John because the prophet was popular with the people of Israel. He overcame that hesitation after making a foolish, likely drunken promise. Following her dance, performed for him and his guests, Herodias's daughter is offered "anything" by Herod. Herodias prompted her daughter to ask for John's head on a platter. Herod agreed (Matthew 14:1–12).

Knowing that Herod is aware of Him, Jesus leaves behind the crowds, moving toward a more desolate area along with the with the disciples, via boat. But when they arrive in Bethsaida, on the northeast shore, they find the crowds have run around the north side of the lake and are waiting. Jesus feels compassion for the people and spends the day healing them (Matthew 14:13–14).

Late in the day, the disciples suggest that Jesus send the people away to nearby villages to get food for themselves. Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people. It's important to realize that this is an entirely impossible task, and Jesus knows it. The disciples are only able to muster five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus asks for those, tells everyone to sit on the grass, and begins to break the loaves and give them to the disciples to distribute to the people. By the time all the food is handed out and everyone has eaten all they want, twelve baskets of leftovers remain. When Christ commands something, He will also provide the power to see it done. Matthew notes that some five thousand men were fed in this miracle, in addition to the women and children. This would bring the total number fed to as many as twenty thousand (Matthew 14:15–21).

Immediately after that astounding miracle, Jesus send the crowds away by foot and the disciples away by boat to the other side of the lake. He goes up onto a mountain and prays until late in the evening. The disciples have spent a long night rowing against a strong wind on rough seas. That struggle is not a result of their sin, or poor decision-making. Rather, it's because of their obedience; this reminds us that not all hardships are the result of our own mistakes. Somewhere between 3 and 6 a.m. a figure emerges from the darkness walking on the water toward their boat. The disciples are afraid, but Jesus announces Himself (Matthew 14:22–27).

Peter then demonstrates both the advantage and disadvantage of his impulsive faith. He asks Jesus to command him to come walk on the water toward Him. Jesus says, "Come." Peter climbs out of the boat and walks on the water, too, before becoming frightened by the wind and the waves. Rather than focusing on the miracle occurring at that moment, Peter's human nature succumbs to doubts and fears. He sinks and cries for help. Jesus saves Peter and asks why he doubted. After the two climb into the boat, the wind immediate stops and the disciples worship Jesus. They tell Him, "Truly, you are the Son of God" (Matthew 14:28–33).

When the disciples and Jesus finally arrive at Gennesaret, on the northwest shore of the lake, the people there recognize Jesus and gather the sick and afflicted from around the region. They beg Jesus to allow them to touch the fringe of His garment. Perhaps the people had heard about the woman who did exactly that earlier in Jesus' ministry (Matthew 9:20–22). Many, many people approach Jesus and are made well (Matthew 14:34–36).