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The Clear Word 

A Ministry Of Mid-State Bible Fellowship 

 
 

MATTHEW 14

 
What varying experiences characterize the pilgrimage of the Master? After the worship, adoration and enthusiasm of the last chapter, we now come to bitterness and hostility. Christ's worst foes were religious men. They made to secret of their hatred of His witness. The disciples were condemned by the Pharisees, not for the lack cleanliness, but for the violation of many, ridiculously minute, technical rules. In Christ's reply, we have a grave counter
charge: a tranchant quotation, and an appeal to the people. With the light of publicity turned on the Pharisees, the anger was roused. The withdrawal of Christ to Tyre & Sidon suggests the need of some rest. His body & mind, as instruments in service, needed refreshment. It may not be possible always to rest from work, but we can learn how to rest in it. Gentiles are as dear to God's heart as Jews. Out Lord commanded the faith of the Syrophenician woman, and there is evidence that the needy souls He likewise healed and fed were Gentiles. How sympathetic Jesus is.



MATTHEW 15:1


[1] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

SCRIBES: The Scribes, in antiquity, held various important offices in the public affairs of the nation. The Hebrew word so rendered (sopher) is first used to designate the holder of some military office Judges 5:14, The scribes acted as secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue decrees in the name of the king II Samuel 8:17; 20:25; I Chronicles 18:16; 24:6; I Kings 4:3; II Kings 12:9-11 & 18:18-37. The Scribes discharged various other important public duties as men of high authority and influence in the affairs of state.

There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers. Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" Jeremiah 36:4 & 32.

In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law, gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others Ezra 7:6; 10-12 & Neh. 8:1-13. It is evident that in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions Matthew 23 thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" are in the Gospels interchangeable Matthew 22:35; Mark 12:28 & Luke 20:39. They were in the time of our Lord the public teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the apostles Acts 45 & 6:12.

Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit, and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers. Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain from these men and let them alone" Acts 5:34-39 & 23:9.

PHARSEES: The Pharsees were known as extremely religious separatists. They were probably the successors of the Assideans a party that originated in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes in revolt against his heathenizing policy. The first mention of them is in a description by Josephus of the three sects or schools into which the Jews were divided 145 B.C. The other two sects were the Essenes and the Sadducees. In the time of our Lord they were the popular party (John 7:48). They were extremely accurate and minute in all matters appertaining to the law of Moses Matthew 9:14; 23:15; Luke 11:39 & 18:12. Paul, when brought before the council of Jerusalem, professed himself a Pharisee Acts 23:6-8 & (Acts 23:6-8; 26:4-5.
There was much that was sound in their creed, yet their system of religion was a form and nothing more. Theirs was a very lax morality (Matt. 5:20; 15:4, 8; 23:3, 14, 23, 25; John 8:7). On the first notice of them in the New Testament (Matt. 3:7), they are ranked by our Lord with the Sadducees as a "generation of vipers." They were noted for their self-righteousness and their pride (Matt. 9:11; Luke 7:39; 18:11, 12). They were frequently rebuked by our Lord (Matt. 12:39; 16:1-4).
From the very beginning of his ministry the Pharisees showed themselves bitter and persistent enemies of our Lord. They could not bear his doctrines, and they sought by every means to destroy his influence among the people.

JERUSALEM: Called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once "the city of Judah" II Chronicles 25:28. This name is in the original in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two mountains on which it was built, Zion and Moriah; or, as some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the "lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a mountain fastness" Psalms 68:15-16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1-2 & 122:3. It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands in Palestine, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.


It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem Genesis 14:18 & Psalms 76:2. When first mentioned under the name Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king Joshua 10:1. It is afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin Judges 19:10 & I Chronicles 11:4, but in the time of David it was divided between Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken and set on fire by the men of Judah Judges 1:1-8, but the Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of Goliath thither I Samuel 17:54. David afterwards led his forces against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the city of David" II Samuel 5:5-9 & I Chronicles 11:4-8. Here he built an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite II Samuel 24:15-25, and thither he brought up the ark of the covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the kingdom.


After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah 1010 B.C.. He also greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the great center of all the civil and religious affairs of the nation Deuteronomy 12:5; 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16 & Psalms 122


After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by the kings of Israel II Kings 14:13-14; 18:15-16; 23:33-35; 24:15; II Chronicles 12:9; 26:9; 27:3-4; 29:3; 32:30 & 33:11, till finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon II Kings 25 II Chronicles 36 & Jeremiah 39, 588 BC. The desolation of the city and the land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into Egypt and by the final carrying captive into Babylon of all that still remained in the land so that it was left without an inhabitant 582 BC Compare the predictions, Deuteronomy 28 & Leviticus 26:14-39.


But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built, in troublous times Daniel 9:16-25, after a captivity of seventy years. This restoration was begun 536 BC "in the first year of Cyrus ." The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews, consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia, till 331 BC, and thereafter, for about a century and a half, under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till 167 BC. For a century the Jews maintained their independence under native rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, 70 AD The city was then laid in ruins.


The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site, there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are now what they were in the ancient city. Till 131 AD the Jews who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the Roman sway. But in that year the emperor, Hadrian, in order to hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the leadership of one Bar-Chohaba in revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards 135 AD, however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter, and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."


In 326 A.D. Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated 335 AD. He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force, and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."

In 614 AD, the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it till 637 AD, when it was taken by the Arabians under the Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in 960 AD, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt, and in 1073 AD under the Turcomans. In 1099 AD the crusader Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this day. In 1187 AD the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the Christians. From that time to the present day, with few intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems. It has, however, during that period been again and again taken and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.


In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon, the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish exclusiveness.


Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean." This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25 geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the mountains of Ephraim and Judah.


"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains, whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."


Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim "city of peace". Another monumental record in which the Holy City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in 702 BC. The "camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about 70 AD, on the flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of the city.


The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name Zion, Sion appears to have been, like Ariel "the hearth of God", a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and the Temple II Chronicles 27:3 & 33:14.


Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were first shown in the 4th and later centuries AD, and have no authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and the course of the old walls having been traced.





MATTHEW 15:2


[2] Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
 
What makes this verse so interesting is that the religiosity does not accuse the disciples of breaking any religious or spiritual observance, they accuse the disciples of breaking with the “TRADITION” of the elders.
TRADITION: A tradition is any kind of teaching, written or spoken, handed down from generation to generation. In Mark 7:3-13 & Colossians 2:8. This word refers to the arbitrary interpretations of the Jews. In II Thessalonians 2:15 & 3:6, it is used in a good sense. Peter, I Peter 1:18, uses this word with reference to the degenerate Judaism of the "strangers scattered" whom he addresses. Matthew 15:10; Acts 15:10 & Galatians 1:14.
ELDER: The term/name of elder is a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence Genesis 50:7. . It also denoted a political office Numbers 22:7. The "elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of authority. Moses opened his commission to them Exodus 3:16. They attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them attended on him at the giving of the law Exodus 24:1. Seventy also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the burden of the people Numbers 11:16-17. The "elder" is the keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case among the Arabs, where the sheik, "the old man,” is the highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of Israel were the representatives of the people from the very first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors Deuteronomy 31:28, as local magistrates 16:18, administering justice 19:12. They were men of extensive influence I Samuel 30:26-31. In New Testament times they also appear taking an active part in public affairs Matthew 16:21; 21:23 & 26:59.
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the only permanent essential office of the church under either dispensation."
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors" Ephesians 4:11, "bishops or overseers" Acts 20:28, "leaders" and "rulers" I Thessalonians 5:12 & Hebrews 13:7 of the flock. Everywhere in the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one and the same officer of the Christian Church. He who is called presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay upon him Acts 20:17-28; Philippians 1:1 Titus 1:5-7.
Acts 15:10...Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?



MATTHEW 14:3


[3] For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip'swife.
 
 PRISON: The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, "Joseph's master, took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound"Genesis 39:20-23. The Hebrew word sohar, means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to have been a part of Potiphar's house, a place in which state prisoners were kept.

The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a punishment. In the wilderness two persons were "put in ward" Leviticus 24:12 & Numbers 15:34, but it was only till the mind of God concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are mentioned in the book of Psalms Psalsms 69:33; 79:11 & 142:7. Samson was confined in a Philistine prison Judges 16:21-25. In the subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to prisons I Kings 22:27; II Kings 17:4; 25:27-29; II Chronicles 16:10; Isaiah 42:7 & Jeremiah 32:2. Prisons seem to have been common in New Testament times Matthew 11:2 & 25:36-43. The apostles were put into the "common prison" at the instance of the Jewish council Acts 5:18-23 & 8:3. At Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust into the "inner prison" Acts 4:4; 12:4-5 & 16:24.

HERODIAS: Matthew 14:3-11; Mark 6:17-28 & Luke 3:19. Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus and Bernice. While residing at Rome with her husband Herod Philip I. and her daughter, Herod Antipas fell in with her during one of his journeys to that city. She consented to leave her husband and become his wife. Some time after, Herod met John the Baptist, who boldly declared the marriage to be unlawful. For this he was "cast into prison," in the castle probably of Machaerus and was there subsequently beheaded.

BROTHER: One beloved or closely united with another in affection II Samuel 1:26; Acts 6:3 & I Thessalonians 5:1. Brethren of Jesus Matthew 1:25; 12:46-50; Mark 31-32; I Corinthians 9:5 & Galatians 1:19, were probably the younger children of Joseph and Mary. Some have supposed that they may have been the children of Joseph by a former marriage, and others that they were the children of Mary, the Virgin's sister, and wife of Cleophas. The first interpretation, however, is the most natural.

PHILIP: Mentioned only in connection with the imprisonment of John the Baptist Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17 & Luke 3:19. He was the son of Herod the Great, and the first husband of Herodias, and the father of Salome.

WIFE: The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise Genesis 2:24 & Matthew 19:4-6. Monogamy was the original law under which man lived, but polygamy early commenced Genesis 4:19, and continued to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A wife's legal rights Exodus 21:10 and her duties Proverbs 31:10-31; I Timothy 5:14 are specified. She could be divorced in special cases Deuteronomy 22:13-21, but could not divorce her husband. Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of adultery Matthew 19:3-9. The duties of husbands and wives in their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the New Testament I Corinthians 7:2-5; Ephesians 5:22-23; Colossians 3:18-19 & I Peter 3:1-7.

Please note that even though Philip and Herodias had gone through the proper channels of divorce and remarriage, under the inspiration of Scriptures, God still considered Herodias to be the wife of Herod.





MATTHEW 14:4


[4] For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
 
 This union of marriage was not lawful for two reasons. First, she was his niece, and secondly, she was the wife of his brother.

Leviticus 18:6...None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 18:16...Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.

Leviticus 20:21...And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.




MATTHEW 14:5


[5] And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
 
 PROPHET: In the Bible, the word Prophet means "to bubble forth, as from a fountain," hence "to utter", Psalms 45:1. This Hebrew word is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the time of Samuel another word, ro'eh, "seer", began to be used I Samuel 9:9. It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel. Afterwards another word, hozeh, "seer" II Samuel 24:11, and was employed. In I Chronicles 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer" (hozeh). In Joshua 13:22, Balaam is called a kosem "diviner," a word used only of a false prophet. The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the "seer" beheld the vision of God. Numbers 12:6 Thus, a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by his authority Exodus 7:1. He is the mouth by which God speaks to men Isaiah 51:16 & Jeremiah 1:9, and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God Acts 4:25; 28:25; II Peter 1:20-21; Hebrews 3:7. (2 Pet. 1:20, 21. Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men Deuteronomy 18:18-19. The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government.”

Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers of God's message Genesis 20:7; Exodus 7:1; Psalms 105:15, as also Moses Deuteronomy 18:15; 34:18 & Hosea 12:13, are ranked among the prophets. The seventy elders of Israel Numbers 11:16-29, "when the spirit rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied with a harp" I Chronicles 25:3. Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses Exodus 15:20 & Judges 4:4. The title thus has a general application to all who have messages from God to men.

But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel. Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order I Samuel 19:18-24; II Kings 2:3; 15 & 4:38, which continued to the close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or "disciples" of the prophets were young men II Kings 5:22 & 9:1-4, who lived together at these different "schools" 4:38-41. These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all attempts at illegality and tyranny.

In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet Luke 13:33 & 24:19. He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 2:20 & 3:5, who made new revelations from God. They differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart truths already revealed.

Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided into four groups.

(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom, Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.

(2.) The prophets of Judah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.

(3.) The prophets of Captivity, Ezekiel and Daniel.

(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.




MATTHEW 14:6


[6] But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
 
 BIRTHDAY: The observance of birthdays was common in early times Job 1:4;13 & 18. They were specially celebrated in the land of Egypt Genesis 40:20. There is no recorded instance in Scripture of the celebration of birthdays among the Jews. On the occasion of Herod's birthday John the Baptist was beheaded Matthew 14:6.

Birthday can be either the obersance of his physical birth, or an observnce in celebration of the day he became king. I Samuel 13:1 & Hosea 7:5. Granting gifts to women of carnel entertainment was quite common. Esther 5:3 & 7:3. According to Josephus, the young girl's name was Salome. In Mark 6:22, we see this was not a private dance of Herod only, but that she danced for Herod and and all of his banquet guest.




MATTHEW 14:7


[7] Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
 
OATH: An oath is a solemn appeal to God, permitted on fitting occasions Deutaronomy 6:13 & Jeremiah 4:2, in various forms Genesis 16:5; II Samuel 12:5; Ruth 1:17; Hosea 4:15 & Romans 1:9. and taken in different ways Gensis 14:22; 24:2 & II Chronicles 6:22. God is represented as taking an oath Hebrews 6:16-18, so also Christ Matthew 26:64 and Paul Romans 9:1; Galatians 1:20 & Philippians 1:8. The precept, "Swear not at all," refers probably to ordinary conversation between man and man Matthew 5:34-37. But if the words are taken as referring to oaths, then their intention may have been to show "that the proper state of Christians is to require no oaths; that when evil is expelled from among them every yea and nay will be as decisive as an oath, every promise as binding as a vow."

Herod was so moved by this young girl, that he made an oath that he would keep his promise to her.





MATTHEW 14:8


[8] And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
 
 In the previous verse, verse 7, Herod makes a promise to this young girl with an oath. What Herod is saying to the young girl, is that he is promising her that he will keep the oath he is about to make to her.

Apparently the young girl is too young to fully understand what Herod is saying to. The young girl feels she has no recourse but to go ask her mother what this means. This is when her mother instructs her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter.

In speculation, at first perhaps the young girl had no concept of what she was asking for due to innocense. However, when the executioner brought to her silver platter with the head to John the Baptist on it, she saw a sight that would literally haunt her for the rest of her life.





MATTHEW 14:9


[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.
 
 In speculation, two things instantly happened to Herod at this moment. First, he sobbered up really quick. Secondly, his lewd interest in this young girl subsided instantly.

This being a birthday banquet, this would mean to only the top of Herod's court would be in attendance. They are sitting there in a stunned silence waiting to see what Herod would do. Everyone knew that Herod did not wish to see John the Baptist die. Yet Herod could not deny the young girl her request after using words like promise and oath.

The one and only thing Herod could do, was to be politically expedient. Give the young girl what she wanted.





MATTHEW 14:10


[10] And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
 
 An event which no doubt haunted Herod all of this life, but also, all of eternity.



MATTHEW 14:11


[11] And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
 
 A clear cut case of like mother like daughter. When you break down the progression of events, the head would have first been brought to Herod. This would have been quite a spectacle to his dinner guest. Then the platter with the head of John the Baptist would have been beheaded over to the young girl who would have been in her early to mid teens in age. Then the platter would have been delivered to the one who really wanted all of this to happen...her mother.

What kind of woman would literally prostitute her own teenage daughter, just to see the death of a true man of God?





MATTHEW 14:12


[12] And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
 
The disciples spoken of here would be, originally, the disciples of John the Baptist. You must admire the courage of these disciples. They risked the wrath of Herod in asking the body of John the Baptist. Yet they went anyway. And then afterwards, they did the right thing. They took their shock and pain to Jesus.




MATTHEW 14:13


[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.
 
Jesus, being the perfect mentor and teacher, knew when He needed to push the disciples, and when to withdraw Himself. The disciples just now have gone through a horrible ordeal with the murder of John the Baptist. Jesus was wise enough to get them to place of quiet and rest. For right now, Jesus was wise enough to know that the disciples need a break.

Also, with the murder of John the Baptist, Jesus knew that there could be a great riot. He did not want Himself nor His disciples to be accused to this. Therefore, He got them out of town.

But as usual, people from surrounding cities come out to seek Him. They come out even on foot. And as we see in verse 14, Jesus not only received them, He went out to meet them.

Mark 1:37...And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.






MATTHEW 14:14


[14] And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
 
 Here we see where our Lord is focused on His ministry and the purpose of His coming.

Right now Jesus' disciples are tired. They have been traveling much and ministering even the more. And then on top of all this, is the murder of John the Baptist. Most modern day ministers of today would step back and discourage the people from approaching them. But not Jesus.

Jesus has a compassion on the people which compels Him to move toward the people. And to not only move toward the people, but to minister to their needs.

This same Jesus even of today, awaits to move toward His people with compassion to minister to their needs.





MATTHEW 14:15


[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.
 
 At the peak of Jesus' ministry, he would be followed by thousands of people at one time. On this particular day, this will be no exception. In this particular region, it would be normal of daily temperatures to reach upwards to 120-130 degrees. By the time evening comes, everyone is exhausted and hungry. It is the suggestion of the disciples that Jesus send them away so they can go into town and purchase food.

The disciples are using the views of a child. That being, ignore it and it will go away. Send them away so that out of sight out of mind.





MATTHEW 14:16


[16] But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
 
 Jesus wants to demonstrate to His disciples that there is not situation which He cannot handle, and there in His life there is no crisis.

He also wants the disciples to see the value of reaching out to the saints around them in what may appear a time of crisis, and enlisting the assistance of the saints.

It is a situation whereby the only way for the disciples to understand a crisis is for them to have a crisis.





MATTHEW 14:17


[17] And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
 
Here we have to provision. Five loaves of bread and two fish. It is possible that these could have been just five biscuits and two small dried fish. The provision will be perfect for the lesson wishes to instruct the disciples.




MATTHEW 14:18


[18] He said, Bring them hither to me.
 
Notice how Jesus handles this situation. He does not go into a long discourse of what He is about to do. He commands them in small steps. Then He will perform the great miracle.

In our individual lives He will do the same thing. Lead us into small steps to slowly and methodically lead us to the great and final goal.





MATTHEW 14:19


[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.
 
What we see here is order and patience. Though Jesus wants to feed the multitudes, and though He will perform an all out miracle in feeding the multitudes, He is still insisting on order and patience.

Jesus will first bless the food. Then distribute it equally to the disciples. Then the disciples will distribute the food to the multitudes.

This is how the ministry still works today. Jesus gives unto His disciples of today something burning on their hearts. And then they share it with the multitudes of today.






MATTHEW 14:20


[20] And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
 
Each of these baskets were of considerable size and each disciple had a basket. Therefore, they retrieved a considerable about of left overs.

The fulness spoken of here indicates a very thorough fullness to absolute satisfaction.

In these days many Jews were basket carrying peddlers. This means there would be an abundance of baskets on hand.

II Kings 4:1-4...Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. [2] And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. [3] Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. [4] And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.




MATTHEW 14:21


[21] And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
 
The Greek word used here for eaten is esqiw/esthio. It literally means to devour. Therefore, Jesus and the apostles were correct in their assessment of the situation. These people were too hungry to attempt to send them home or to town. But notice my notes in verse 20. They were totally filled and satisfied.

The multitudes went from being hungry to the point of devouring their food due to intense hunger, to being filled and satisfied.






MATTHEW 14:22


[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.
 
 Jesus had to order the disciples to get into the boat and take off for the other side of the Sea. The disciples were experienced fishermen and boatmen. They knew these waters and the skies over these waters. They knew a horrendous storm was coming that selfsame night. Therefore they did not want to be in the sea when it hit. Though with great reluctance, they went anyway.

What they were not aware of, is that Jesus also knew this storm was coming. And that Jesus needed this storm to make His point.





MATTHEW 14:23


[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.
 
PRAYER: Prayer is conversation with God; the communion of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" Exodus 32:11; "pouring out the soul before the Lord" I Samuel 1:15; "praying and crying to heaven" II Chronicles 32:20; "seeking unto God and making supplication" Job 8:5; "drawing near to God" Psalms 73:28; "bowing the knees" Ephesians 3:14.
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all their actions.
Acceptable prayer must be sincere Hebrews 10:22, offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answered of prayer, and that he will fulfill his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive" Matthew 7:7-8; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; and in the name of Christ John 16:23-24; 15:16; Ephesians 2:18; 5:20; Colossians 3:17 & I Peter 2:5.
Prayer is of different kinds, secret Matthew 6:6; social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined Numbers 6:23; Job 32:8; Isaiah 62”6; Psalms 122:6; I Timothy 2:1 & James 5:14, and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers. For example, Abraham Genesis 17:18-20; 18:23-32; 20:7 & 17-18. Of Moses for Pharaoh Exodus 8:12-31 & 9:33. For the Israelites Exodus 27:11-13; 32:11-14; 31-34; Numbers 21:7-8 & Deuteronomy 9:18-25. For Miriam Numbers 12:13. For Aaron Deuteronomy 9:20. Of Samuel I Samuel 7:5-12. Of Solomon I Kings 8 & II Chronicles 6. Elijah I Kings 17:20-23. Elisha II Kings 4:33-36, Isaiah II Kings 19. Jeremiah Jeremiah 42:2-10. Peter Acts 9:40. The Church Acts 12:5-12. Paul Acts 28:8.
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling in prayer I Kings 8:54; II Chronicles 6:13; Psalms 95:6; Isaiah 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40 & Ephesians 3:14. Of bowing and falling prostrate Genesis 24:26; 52; Exodus 4:31; 12:27; Matthew 26:39 & 14:35. Of spreading out the hands I Kings 8:22; 38;54; Psalms 28:2; 63:4; 88:9 & I Timothy 2:8. Standing I Samuel 1:26; I Kings 8:14; 55; I Chronicles 20:9; Mark 11:25 & Luke 18:11-13.
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" Matthew 6:9-13 which is, however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture Exodus 22:23-27; I Kings 3:5; II Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 37:4; Isaiah 55:6; Joel 2:32 & Ezekiel 36:37. We have very many testimonies that it has been answered Psalms 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5 & James 5:16-18.





MATTHEW 14:24


[24] But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
 
 THE SEA of GALILEE: The Sea of Galilee Matthew 4:18 & 15:29, is mentioned in the Bible under three other names:
(1.) In the Old Testament it is called the "sea of Chinnereth" Numbers 34:11; Joshua 12:3 & 13:27; , as is supposed from its harp-like shape.
(2). The "lake of Gennesareth" once by Luke 5:1, from the flat district lying on its west coast.


(3.) John 6:1 & 21:1 calls it the "sea of Tiberias.” The modern Arabs retain this name, Bahr Tabariyeh.
This lake is 12 1/2 miles long, and from 4 to 7 1/2 broad. Its surface is 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its depth is from 80 to 160 feet. The Jordan enters it 10 1/2 miles below the southern extremity of the Huleh Lake, or about 26 1/2 miles from its source. In this distance of 26 1/2 miles there is a fall in the river of 1,682 feet, or of more than 60 feet to the mile. It is 27 miles east of the Mediterranean, and about 60 miles north-east of Jerusalem. It is of an oval shape, and abounds in fish.
Its present appearance is thus described: "The utter loneliness and absolute stillness of the scene are exceedingly impressive. It seems as if all nature had gone to rest, languishing under the scorching heat. How different it was in the days of our Lord! Then all was life and bustle along the shores; the cities and villages that thickly studded them resounded with the hum of a busy population; while from hill-side and corn-field came the cheerful cry of shepherd and ploughman. The lake, too, was dotted with dark fishing-boats and spangled with white sails. Now a mournful, solitary silence reigns over sea and shore. The cities are in ruins!"
This sea is chiefly of interest as associated with the public ministry of our Lord. Capernaum, "his own city" Matthew 9:1, stood on its shores. From among the fishermen who plied their calling on its waters he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John, to be disciples, and sent them forth to be "fishers of men" Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20 & Luke 5:1-11. He stilled its tempest, saying to the storm that swept over it, "Peace, be still" Matthew 8:23-27 & Mark 7:31-35 and here also he showed himself after his resurrection to his disciples John 21.
"The Sea of Galilee is indeed the cradle of the gospel. The subterranean fires of nature prepared a lake basin, through which a river afterwards ran, keeping its waters always fresh. In this basin a vast quantity of shell-fish swarmed, and multiplied to such an extent that they formed the food of an extraordinary profusion of fish. The great variety and abundance of the fish in the lake attracted to its shores a larger and more varied population than existed elsewhere in Palestine, whereby this secluded district was brought into contact with all parts of the world. And this large and varied population, with access to all nations and countries, attracted the Lord Jesus, and induced him to make this spot the centre of his public ministry."
The storms on the Sea of Galilee can be come up very quickly and be very dangerous. In speculation, the disciples being experienced fishermen and boatment, could tell by the setting sun that a horrible storm was going to come up during the night. For this reason, they did not want to be out on the lake during the night. This is Jesus had to constrain, or force, them to go in verse 22.




MATTHEW 14:25


[25] And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
 
 First Watch: 6 P.M. – 9 P.M.

Second Watch: 9 P.M. - 12 MIDNIGHT

Third Watch: 12 MIDNIGHT – 3 A.M.

Fourth Watch: 3 A.M. - 6 A.M.






MATTHEW 14:26


[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.
 
Over the years, a number of fishermen, sailor and boatmen have drowned and died in the Sea of Galilee. Therefore, it was the opinion of many that the sea was haunted and that at night the spirits of the dead arose from out of the sea.

When the disciples saw Jesus they were afraid that it was such a spirit. It ispossible that Jesus was in the glow of His glory and the disciples then really did think it was a spirit.

Why did Jesus do this? Of the 613 commandments of the law, I would like to draw your attention to law number 60. Law number 60 comes from Leviticus 19:26. This tells us not to be superstitious. Jesus needed to dispell this legendary rumor. He could not have disciples who need to found the Church scared of ghost that did not exist.





MATTHEW 14:27


[27] But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
 
 Notice Jesus spoke to them straightway. He wanted to stop the fear and the crying before it grew out of control. He told them not to be afraid for it was only Him. This will be yet another step on the part of Jesus to dispell all rumors and fears of ghost haunting the Sea of Galilee.





MATTHEW 14:28


[28] And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
 
Many times in studying a verse, one word will put the entire verse into a logical perspective. In this case it is the word said.

The English word said, in this particular case, come from the Greek word epw/epo. It means to speak as a military commander would speak to his troops.

Peter is truly afraid that one of the long lost ghost of the past is approaching the boat he is in.

In verse 27 Jesus never does say that He is Jesus. He just says it is I. Therefore, it would seem that the disciples are using voice recognition to identify Jesus.

The English word bid comes from the Greek word keleuw/keleuo. It means to command. Peter is telling Jesus that if it truly is Jesus, then command him to come to Jesus.

Then Peter throws out yet another challenge. If it is treaty Jesus, then Jesus should be able to give Peter the ability to walk on water just as Jesus is doing.





MATTHEW 14:29


[29] And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
 
Jesus uses a commanding military voice by telling Peter to get out of the boat and try walking on the water.

In this episode of events, both Peter and the disciples learn two very important lessons. One, there are to ghost in the Sea of Galilee. And two, That with Jesus anything is possible.

Mark 10:27...And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Philippians 4:13...I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.






MATTHEW 14:30


[30] But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
 
Many times in the Christian life, God will give us the challenge of stepping out of our comfort zone and attempting a new and deeper walk with Him. As we will find out, new level, new devil.

Peter had only seen a storm like this from the shore line or from the inside of a boat. He had never seen it from the point of view of being out there in the midst of it.

Then he knew that he had either listened to a ghost or to the real Lord Jesus. In the Greek rendering, Peter began to sink as in the process of drowning and dying. It was not until he called on the Lord Jesus to save him that he found out that this truly was Jesus and a ghost.






MATTHEW 14:31


[31] And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
 
Jesus was very quick to reach forth and rescue Peter. Again, judging from the Greek render, if Jesus would not have been quick enough to reach out to Peter as He did, Peter would have drowned.

Jesus question to Peter brings to mind and statement I have used many times in the Christian life...”Never doubt in the dark, what Jesus promised you in the light!”






MATTHEW 14:32


[32] And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
 
Here we have yet another miracle which would convince the disciples that Jesus was truly the Messiah.





MATTHEW 14:33


[33] Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him,saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
 
WORSHIP: Worship is homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being Exodus 34:14 & Isaiah 2:8. Such worship was refused by Peter Acts 10:25-26 and by an angel Revelation 19:10 & 22:8-9.





MATTHEW 14:34


[34] And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
 
GENNESARET: The wordname Gennesaret means a garden of riches. Gennesaret is a town of Naphtali, called Chinnereth Joshua 19:35. Sometimes in the plural form Chinneroth Joshua 11:2. In later times the name was gradually changed to Genezar and Gennesaret Luke 5:1. This city stood on the western shore of the lake to which it gave its name. No trace of it remains. The plain of Gennesaret has been called, from its fertility and beauty, "the Paradise of Galilee." It is now called el-Ghuweir.




MATTHEW 14:35


[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;
 
 Apparently in the Gennersaret region, there were numerous people of various diseases. It would seem that even the physicians were helpless in these matters. The only recourse was to seek out Jesus while He is in the area, and ask Him to come to their city and heal the people.




MATTHEW 14:36


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

HEM OF THE GARMENT: The Hem of the garment are the fringe of a garment. The Jews attached much importance to these, because of the regulations in Numbers 15:38-39. These borders or fringes were in process of time enlarged so as to attract special notice Matthew 23:5. The hem of Christ's garment touched 9:20; 14:36 & Luke 8:44.