What does Matthew 14:22 mean?
ESV: Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
NIV: Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
NASB: Immediately afterward He compelled the disciples to get into the boat and to go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.
CSB: Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
NLT: 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.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has just performed the astounding miracle of feeding five thousand men plus women and children from five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13–21). John's telling of that event ends with Jesus realizing the people "were about to come and take him by force to make him king" (John 6:15). That's likely why this verse begins with the word "immediately." Jesus knew He had not come to take the earthly throne of Israel at this time, so He acts quickly to send the disciples away and send the crowds home.

Matthew uses a forceful Greek word here, ēnankasen, which can be literally translated as "compelled" or even "forced," translated by the ESV as "made." This is a commanding order: Jesus urgently sent the disciples away in the boat with apparent instructions to meet Him on the other side. One reason is that He wanted time alone, truly by Himself, to go up on a nearby mountain to spend time in prayer.
Verse Context:
Matthew 14:22–33 contains the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. Immediately after feeding thousands of people from a single small portion, Jesus goes up to a mountain to pray. The disciples spend a long night rowing against a strong wind. Jesus walks across the lake to meet them. Peter walks on the water with Jesus briefly before becoming afraid of the wind and waves and beginning to sink. Jesus saves Peter and asks why he doubted. The wind stops when Jesus gets in the boat, and the disciples worship Him as the Son of God.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 14 begins with a backstory about the arrest and execution of John the Baptist by Herod the tetrarch, the Jewish ruler of the region. Jesus and the disciples take a boat to a desolate place only to find crowds waiting. Jesus heals many and then feeds as many as twenty thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Later, the disciples row against a strong wind until Jesus walks on the water to meet them and calm the wind. Peter walks on water briefly and then doubts and begins to sink. The disciples worship Jesus. On the other side of the lake, Jesus continues to heal the sick.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 13 included more of Jesus' parables and an unfortunate incident where His own hometown rejected His ministry. Chapter 14 begins with news that Herod the tetrarch—the man who killed John the Baptist—is aware of Jesus' fame and power. Jesus and the disciples intend to withdraw to somewhere desolate, but a crowd is waiting for them. Jesus heals people, miraculously feeds thousands, and walks on water. When they reach the other side, Jesus heals more people. Chapter 15 sees Jesus once again debating with His critics and performing more healings.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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