“Emmanuel’s Domain Part 4” – Matthew 14:13-36

November 29th, 2015

Matthew 14:13-36

(See also: Ex 16; 2 Kings 4:42-44; Mk 6:30-56; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-21)

“Emmanuel’s Domain Pt 4”


Service Orientation:  Jesus is Lord over all creation.   He is life and truth incarnate.  And yet He does all that He does for the sake of others.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45


Background Information:

  • He healed all the sick (4:24). He cleansed a leper (8:1-4).  He cured a Roman centurion’s servant (8:5-13).  He cooled a fever (8:14, 15).  He stilled the wind (8:23-27).  He exorcized demons (8:28-32).  He restored a paralytic (9:1-8).  He stopped a desperate woman’s twelve-year discharge of blood (9:20-23).  He raised a little girl from the dead (9:18, 23-26).  He opened the eyes of the blind (9:27-30; cf. 12:22).  He made the mute speak (9:32, 33; cf. 12:22).  He healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath (12:9-13).  And he took five loaves and two fishes and fed over 5,000 people (14:19)!

These are the miracles of Jesus thus far in Matthew’s Gospel.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 409)

  • The first party is given by a king in his palace, the second by a Galilean preacher in the desert. The first was for the important people of this world, the second for the masses.  The first was for Herod; it was his birthday.  The second was centered on the crowds.  The first was a drunken orgy, the second a pleasant country meal.  The first was immoral; the high point was Salome’s provocative dance.  The second followed holy, edifying teaching by the Lord.  The first ended with the murder of John the Baptist, the second by the feeding of those who had no food.  The first was for this world only; the second anticipated the heavenly marriage supper to which people from every tribe and nation are invited and to which the poor of many nations will come.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 265)
  • (v. 13) The land was Gennesaret, a small but very beautiful plain located between Capernaum and Magdala. According to Josephus it was a lush and extremely fertile area that produced a wide variety of crops.  The fields and vineyards were irrigated from no less than four large springs, enabling farmers to produce three crops a year.  Because the soil was so rich, it was all devoted to farming, and the area contained no towns or villages.  It was therefore a quiet, peaceful region, inhabited by many kinds of birds and offering a good place for retreat and rest.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 449-50)
  • (v. 15) The feeding of this great crowd is the only miracle found in each of the four Gospels (see Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-15), so it must have made a tremendous impact on those who were present. (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 264)
  • (v. 16) He said, “You give them something to eat” (Mt 14:16; Mk 6:37; Lk 9:13). The emphasis does not come across as forcefully in the English translation as it does in Greek.  In Greek there is the added and usually unnecessary pronoun you.  The emphasis seems to have been, “You, you do it; why do you come to me?”  Since Jesus knew the nature of the problem and was already aware of what he was going to do, the only reason he said what he did was to impress on the disciples that they could do nothing by themselves.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 266-7)
  • (v. 19) They are seated as if at an impromptu open-air banquet, the verb for “sit” being one which is normally used for the practice of reclining on coaches in a triclinium in the Greek and Roman world and which in the Jewish context can suggest a more formal or special meal. (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 562)
  • (v. 20) The idea that each received only a token piece of food (as in most modern communion services) is not only unrealistic but is also expressly ruled out by Matthew’s wording. The collecting of the leftovers is probably mentioned not so much as an example of avoiding untidiness or waste, but to underline how much food has been provided–hence perhaps the focus on this aspect of the two feeding miracles in 16:9-10.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 563)
  • (v. 22) When Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (6:14-15). . . . The political ambitions of this multitude were not in line with His mission, so He firmly and swiftly dismissed them. Perhaps the disciples were being carried along by the delirium of the crowd, and that was why Jesus sent them away, too.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 462)
  • (v. 22) Why did Jesus wish to send the crowds away? A simple answer would be: by now many of these people have been with Jesus a long time, and are a considerable distance away from their homes; moreover, on the basis of 14:16 it can be added that the region is about to be–or is already–engulfed in darkness.  Another very general answer, applicable to many an occasion, suggests itself, namely, the people had to be sent home because, having just now witnessed–rather experienced–an astounding miracle, they are by no means eager of their own accord to leave the Miracle-worker.  There is, however, a more specific reason for the decision of Jesus to dismiss this multitude.  It is given in Jn 6:15:  the people “were about to come and take him by force that they might make him king.”  Jesus, whose kingdom is spiritual, refuses to become involved in any such definitely earthly, Jewish, political scheme.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 598)
  • (v. 22) A belief that the event reveals Jesus as a new Moses, leader of God’s people in the wilderness, may be a factor in the “political” enthusiasm which John associates with this event (Jn 6:14-15). Matthew does not directly draw attention to that aspect of the incident, though it is possible to interpret the urgency in the verb “compelled” in v. 22 as indicating that the disciples were infected with the unhealthy popular enthusiasm so that Jesus wanted to get them away from the scene before he himself dealt with the crowd.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 559)
  • (v. 23) Maybe his prayer on the lonely mountainside focused on fulfilling the mission of suffering when it seemed (at least humanly speaking) more credible to accept their offer of kingship. Jesus, in his humanity, may have continued to face the temptation to turn away from the difficult path and take the easier one.  He constantly sought strength from God.  Going into the wilderness, alone with the Father, helped Jesus focus on his task and gain strength for what he had to do.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 293)
  • (v. 24) They were about halfway across the lake and the sensible thing to do would have been to turn the boat around and let it run before the wind back to the shore from which they had come. But the Master had told them to go to the other side and there could be no turning back.  Come what may, with what little strength they had, they would do what He said.  They had no warrant to give up just because the wind was contrary.  What a fine lesson in obedience! (John Phillips, Exploring the Gospels: Matthew, 297-8)
  • (v. 25) Jesus’ walking on water is recorded rather as a spectacular instance of his supernatural power, which evokes a suitably awed and theologically loaded response from the disciples (v. 33). Behind their reaction lies the OT imagery of God walking on or through the sea (Job 9:8; Ps 77:19; Isa 43:16), a potent symbol of the Creator’s control over the unruly forces of his world.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 566)
  • (v. 25) As with the feeding of the five thousand, all three evangelists go out of their way to eliminate the sort of rationalistic explanation which some modern scholars have proposed, such as that Jesus was walking on a hidden reef or sandbar. Not only is this hardly likely to have impressed fishermen who knew the lake well, but all the evangelists emphasize that the boat was a long way from the shore.  The Lake of Galilee is deep, and there are no such shallows away from the shores.  Matthew’s version throws further doubt on any such naturalistic explanation, in that he portrays Peter as sinking where Jesus was walking.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 567)
  • (v. 25) He did not come to them until “the fourth watch,” that is, between 3 and 6 a.m., and if we read between the lines of this story, it seems that He came to them closer to dawn than to 3 a.m. So, the disciples must have been very tired after rowing fruitlessly almost all night.  That exhaustion probably exacerbated their fear.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 464)
  • (v. 26) They knew that human beings could not remain on the surface of the water but always sank into it. But a ghost, a disembodied spirit, would have no problem coasting across the water without sinking.  I doubt that it ever crossed their minds that they were seeing Jesus.  So, on top of the stress caused by the storm, by their exhaustion, and by the unnatural sight of a human figure walking on water, they believed they were encountering a ghost.  It is little wonder they cried out in fear.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 464)
  • (v. 28) Peter’s proposal might be regarded as coming rather too close to the “testing” of God which is forbidden in 4:5-7. Peter’s leading role among the Twelve is particularly emphasized in Matthew, especially in this central part of his narrative (cf. 15:15; 16:17-19; 17:24-27; 18:21, all peculiar to Matthew), but he does not always appear as a model of true discipleship or an example to be followed (16:22-23; 26:33-35, 69-75).  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 568)
  • (v. 30) The tense of the verb in Peter’s cry signifies, “Lord save me, and do it quickly.” (J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Studies in Matthew’s Gospel, 84)
  • (v. 31) The verb for “doubt” will recur in 28:17, its only other use in the NT. We shall note there that it denotes not so much a theological uncertainty or unbelief as a practical hesitation, wavering, being in two minds.  Peter’s problem was not so much lack of intellectual conviction as the conflict between the evidence of his senses and the invitation of Jesus.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 570-1)
  • (v. 33) This is the first time Jesus is called the Son of God by the disciples, and the words build on what they had said earlier. In chapter 8 they had asked, “What kind of man is this?  Even the winds and the waves obey him” (v. 27).  Here they say, “Truly you are the Son of God.”  They still have a long way to go.  If Peter’s confession in chapter 16 is the all-important breakthrough in the disciples’ spiritual understanding, what they say here could not have had its full spiritual significance.  Still, it was a step on the way.  They were growing in their faith and understanding.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 277)
  • As the religious and political opposition became more intense and the allegiance of the crowds more vacillating, Jesus began to spend less time in public and more time in private with His disciples. During the last year of His life, He devoted the majority of His attention to the twelve, preparing them for what was soon to happen to Him in the crucifixion and for what would soon after that happen to them as they embarked on their task of laying the foundation for His church.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 426)


The question to be answered is . . .  What does Matthew want us to learn from these passages demonstrating Jesus’ domain over all Creation?


Answer:  That even though Jesus was master over all creation, Lord over sickness and disease, and was gifted so that many wanted to make Him King, he chose to be a servant and suffer and die on the cross rather than enjoy all the rights and privileges that come with being God incarnate.


The Word for the Day is . . . Others


What does Matthew tell us Jesus does for others?:

I-  Jesus as Lord and Master of the Universe gives up His rest and down time.  (Mt 14:13-14, 22-27; see also: Mt 9:36; Mk 6:30-34; Lk 6:27-38; Jn 13:14-15; Eph 4:32-5:2)


Interruptions are God’s agenda.   Plans are yours.  (Steve Brown; “Frustrating Impossibilities”:  Mt 14:13-21)


Once mobilized, however, the crowd need not take any longer to cover a few miles on foot than it took in the boat.  The result was complete disruption of the planned retreat.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 561)


What matters is that Jesus immediately shelved his own plans in favor of the needs of the crowd.  For “his heart went out” see on 9:36.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 561)


Jesus never found anyone a nuisance, even when his whole being was crying out for rest and quiet–and neither must his followers.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 117)


The needs of people, sick, ignorant, disconsolate, and also hungry (as they were soon to become, verses 15, 16), meant far more to him than his own convenience and ease.  So he healed their sick (cf. 4:23, 24; 8:16, 17; 9:35; 11:4, 5), this in spite of a. his own need for rest, and b. their earthly, materialistic motivations (Jn 6:2, 15, 26, 66).  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: Matthew, 593)


Interruptions may be opportunities in disguise.


Far from feeling impatience and frustration toward these needy people, Jesus had compassion on them.  While Jesus had hoped to be alone with the disciples for a time of rest, he did not send away this needy crowd.  He had compassion for the people and took it upon himself to meet their needs.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 288-9)


We must never deal with people with one eye on the clock, as if we were anxious to be rid of them as soon as we decently can.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 117)


Note the frustration in the disciples’ statement:  Without the normally respectful “Lord,” they told Jesus where he was, what time it was, and what he should do.  The disciples were upset and thought that Jesus would be wise to let the people go before it got dark in order for them to find food and lodging for the night.  So they brought their suggestion to Jesus: send the crowds away.  No doubt, the disciples also hoped to soon get the rest they had anticipated when they had set out on this journey.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 289)


Some of the people even arrived before Jesus and the disciples did (Mk 6:33), while the lame and sick obviously took much longer.  But almost all of them came out of selfish motives, “because they were seeing the signs which he was performing on those who were sick” (Jn 6:2).  They came to be healed or to watch the healings.  Few came for what Jesus could do for them spiritually.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 426)


II-  Jesus as Lord and Master of the Universe feeds 5000+ with what He provides. (Mt 14:15-21; see also: Ps 105:40; 136:25; Isa 25:6; Mt 6:19-33; Mk 6:35-44; Jn 6:1-21, 32-35, 55)


What you have is sufficient.  The gifts you have are the gifts you are supposed to have.  If they aren’t sufficient for the tasks you are you have not been called to complete that task. The money you have is the money you were supposed to have.  If it isn’t sufficient for what you need money for and God doesn’t provide more you weren’t supposed to have what you thought you needed.  The brains you have are adequate.  The gifts you have are adequate.  The money you have is adequate.  The time you have is adequate.  That is what God’s grace is all about.  (Steve Brown; “Frustrating Impossibility”)


The God who multiplied the bread was authenticating Jesus as his Son and portraying the munificent blessings of the kingdom.  Just as God had provided manna to the Hebrews in the wilderness (Exodus 16) and had multiplied oil and meal for Elijah and the widow at Zarephath (1 Kgs 17:7-16) and for Elisha (2 Kgs 4:1-7), he was providing bread for the people on this day.  It points to the feast that the Messiah will provide for people in the wilderness (Isa 25:6).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 290-1)


We often feel that our contribution to Jesus is meager, but he can use and multiply whatever we give him, whether it is talent, time, or treasure.  When we give to Jesus, our resources are multiplied.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 291)


Given the numbers involved, Jesus’ response, “You give them something to eat,” must have seemed like a hollow joke; cf. Elisha’s similar command to his servant in 2 Kgs 4:42-43.  Even their own provisions of five loaves and two fish are not enough for a group of thirteen.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 562)


Philip was from that area and would most likely have known what food would have been available; but Jesus was hoping Philip would look to Him rather than to human and earthly resources.  Unfortunately, Philip was more awed at the magnitude of the crowd than the magnitude of Jesus’ power, and he responded incredulously, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little” (Jn 6:7).  A denarius was the normal day’s wage for a common laborer, but it was obvious that nearly six month’s of such wages would not be enough to feed the thousands of people that were assembled.  Philip knew they did not have a fraction of the money needed to buy enough food, even if they bought the cheapest bread available.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 428-9)


The significance of the verbs used becomes clear when the five Synoptic feeding narratives are compared with the three Synoptic accounts of Jesus’ eucharistic action at the Last Supper.  In all eight pericopae we find the same sequence: “took…blessed/gave thanks…broke…gave.”  The same sequence of verbs also occurs in Lk 24:30, where Jesus “resides” at the meal at Emmaus.  This can hardly be accidental, and suggests that the evangelists framed their accounts of the feeding (and of the Emmaus story) to reflect the wording of the eucharistic formula with which they and their readers were by now familiar.  The feeding of the crowd is therefore presented as a “foretaste” of the central act of worship of the emergent Christian community, even though the menu was not quite the same.  And since the Last Supper was itself a foretaste of the messianic banquet (26:29), that dimension, too, can legitimately be discerned in this story.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 558-9)


There is evidence that some Jews expected a return of manna in the messianic age (2 Bar. 29:8; Eccl. Rab. 1:28; cf. Rv 2:17).  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 559)


The prophet Elijah had caused a widow’s jar of flour and a jug of oil to last throughout a drought (1 Kgs 17:8-16), while Elisha had fed a hundred men with twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain (2 Kgs 4:42-43).  However, Jesus took these prophetic miracles to new heights by feeding over five thousand people with a very small amount of food.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 192)


I believe that Jesus fed those people that day, because I believe that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, who made me and has absolute authority over me.  That is why I call him Lord.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 460)


That same day He offered Himself to them as the Bread of life which came down from heaven, which to eat would cause them never to hunger or thirst again and would give them eternal life (Jn 6:33-35, 48-51).  But when they realized what it meant to eat that heavenly food and drink that heavenly drink, many of the shallow followers were offended and left Him (vv. 52-60, 66).  Like so many people today who look to God only for what they want and care nothing for what He wants, most of the multitude had little to do with Jesus after He healed them.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 450)


In each gospel account this miracle is placed at the climax of the Lord’s ministry.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 425)


III-  Jesus as Lord and Master of the Universe gives healing.  (Mt 14:35-36; see also Mt 4:24; 8:1-15; 9:1-8, 18, 20-33; 12:22; Mk 6:54-56)   


Perhaps the story had spread of the woman in Capernaum who had been healed by touching Jesus’ cloak.  For at this time the people begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak.  Jewish men wore tassels on the hem of their robes in order to obey God’s command in Dt 22:12.  By Jesus’ day, these tassels were seen as signs of holiness (Mt 23:5).  It was natural that people seeking healing should reach out and touch these.  No one missed out on Jesus’ loving compassion, even if they could only touch the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.  But as the woman in Capernaum learned, healing came from faith in Jesus, not from his garment (9:20-22).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 297)


By far the greatest amount of soil on which the gospel of the kingdom fell that day was hard and thorny.  Most of the people saw nothing more than what seemed an amazing feat of magic.  They saw the human Jesus plainly, but they could not see the divine Son of God at all.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 433)


For the expectation of healing by the impersonal means of touching Jesus’ cloak, see on 9:20-21.  What was there presented as an exceptional expedient has now become an accepted method (cf. Also Mk 3:10; Lk 6:19), and no indication is given that Jesus was reluctant to allow this apparently “mechanical” means of benefitting from his healing power.  Surprisingly, the specific mention of “faith” which followed in 9:22 has no counterpart here.  Indeed, the statement that “all who touched” found healing seems to encourage such a practice, and Acts 5:15; 19;12 testify to the continued expectation of such “automatic” healing through the apostles.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 572)


Splanchnizomai (to have compassion) means literally to be moved in one’s bowels, or viscera, where the ancients considered the emotions and feelings to reside.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 427)


IV-  Jesus as Lord and Master of the Universe gives the fearful Himself.  (Mt 14:25-34; see also: Josh 1:5, 9; 11:6; 1 Chr 29:11; 2 Chr 32:7; Neh 4:14; Job 9:8; Ps 27:1; 107:23-32; 121:1-2; 124:8; 146:5-6; Mt 8:23-27; 17:7; 28:10; Mk 4:41; 5:36; Jn 14:1, 27; 15:1-8; Acts 18:9;  Heb 12:2; 13:5; 1 Pt 3:14)  


Faith is confidence in Christ.  Faith is also courage through Christ.  Faith is courage through or by means of the power of Christ.  Jesus said, “[W]hy did you doubt?” (v. 31).  Faith is confidence in Christ.  But he also said, “Do not be afraid” or “fear not” (v. 27).  As doubt is contrary to faith (21:21), so fear is contrary to faith.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 415)


He identified himself and told them not to be afraid any longer.  The literal reading for “It is I” is “I am” (Greek, ego eimi); it is the same as saying “the I AM is here” or “I, Yahweh, am here” (see Ex 3:14; Isa 41:4; 43:10; 52:6).  Jesus, the “I AM,” came with unexpected help and encouragement during the disciples’ time of desperate need.  Their need was real; their fear was real.  But in the presence of Jesus, fear can be dismissed.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 294)


Jesus’ presence in the storm caused Peter to exercise a fearless faith.  Peter overcame his fear and attempted the impossible.  But notice that he did so only with Jesus’ command to come.  Notice also that he asked only to do what Jesus was doing; that is, he wanted to share in Jesus’ power, some of which the disciples had already been experiencing (10:1).  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 294)


Is it not comforting to reflect that our Lord watches us in the storms of life and takes the initiative in coming to our help?  And He will never come too late.  He will even use the very element we dread as a path for His feet.  Often the greatest blessing comes to us through the circumstances we most dread, or the people we most fear.  (J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Studies in Matthew’s Gospel, 83-4)


Peter’s faith was little because he took his eyes off of Jesus, the object of his faith.  This is what caused Peter to sink.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 196)


Instead of trying to be stronger, trust in Jesus’ strength.  When you are weak, He is strong.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 196)


The faith which can move mountains (17:20) would have kept Peter safe, if he had not allowed his obedience to Jesus’ call to be overwhelmed by his very natural perception of the danger to which he had rashly exposed himself.  It is thus an illustration of the vulnerability of the disciple who allows doubt, the natural human perspective, to displace the faith which relies on the supernatural power of God.  (R.T. France, The New International Commentary on the NT: Matthew, 567)


In verses 13-21 we saw faith in the face of need.  Now in the second picture of faith, we see faith in the face of fear.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 193)


One of the fascinating features of the Gospel of John is his record of Jesus’ “I am” statements.  Jesus repeatedly crafted metaphors for Himself:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6), “I am the vine, you are the branches” (15:5), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), “I am the door” (10:9), “I am the bread of life” (6:48), and so on.  Each time Jesus said “I am,” He used a unique combination of Greek words, egō eimi.  Both the word ego and the word eimi mean “I am,” so it was as if Jesus were saying, “I am, I am.”  However, this same combination of words, egō eimi is rarely found outside of John’s Gospel, but here it is in Matthew as Jesus said, “It is I.”  I am sure the disciples noticed this and were comforted by it.  (RC Sproul, St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary: Matthew, 464-5)


When Peter looked around and became aware of the fierce wind and saw the rolling waves, he became afraid and started to sink.  His faith faltered at this point.  But it is important to recognize that Peter’s faith did not fail utterly.  He had lost faith in Jesus’ ability to keep him above the water, but he still trusted Jesus at some level since he immediately called out to him for help.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 275)


His faith was enough to get him out of the boat, but it was not enough to carry him across the water.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 443)


Yet Spurgeon said something else with which I agree entirely.  He said that “Peter was nearer his Lord when he was sinking than when he was walking.”  It was when Peter was in trouble that he was driven to Jesus and was closest to him.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 275)


Worship Point:  Jesus, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  (Phil 2:6-11)


They were now more than simply amazed, as the crowds and they themselves had always been.  They were taken past amazement to worship, which is what Jesus’ signs and miracles were intended to produce.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 445)


Gospel Application:  To the extent you know your service for others does not match what it should be as exemplified in Jesus, praise and thank God that Jesus has done everything you were supposed to do for you.


But Peter never finally failed, for always in the moment of his failure he clutched at Christ.  The wonderful thing about him is that every time he fell, he rose again; and that it must have been true that even his failures brought him closer and closer to Jesus Christ.  As has been well said, a saint is not someone who never fails; a saint is someone who after a fall gets up and goes on again every time.  Peter’s failures only made him love Jesus Christ the more.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 125)


As long as life is going along smoothly, we may be genuinely trusting Jesus for our salvation as true Christians, but our faith can be somewhat distant, abstract, or even peripheral.  We trust Jesus, true enough, but if the truth be told, we also trust ourselves and our abilities.  We may even trust ourselves more than we trust Jesus.  Let trouble come, and suddenly we are confronted with our own lack of ability and weakness, and we are driven to Jesus simply because we have nowhere else to turn.  It is in times such as these that faith in Jesus grows strong.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 275)


The kingdom of heaven is for rich and poor, religious and non-religious, Jew and Gentile, male and female, adult and child.  The kingdom is for all who recognize their spiritual sickness and come to Christ in faith for rest, satisfaction, and the forgiveness of sin.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 409)


Here I think we are taught that faith is confidence not in self or self-righteousness but in Christ.  We may doubt, but there is no need to doubt.  (Douglas Sean O’Donnell, Preaching the Word: Matthew, 415)


He had to tell the disciples to do what, by this time, should have been second nature to them.  He was saying in effect, “I knew that you did not have sufficient food or money to feed the people, and I knew that you had no way of getting it.  I never expected you to feed them from your own resources or by your own power.  In asking you to feed them I was asking you to trust Me.  Without having to tell you, I was giving you the opportunity to bring to Me what little you had and trust Me for the rest.”  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 430)


We learn from Mark that their amazement resulted from their not having “gained any insight from the incident of the loaves”–or from Jesus’ earlier stilling of the storm or from any other great work He had done–because “their heart was hardened” (Mk 6:52).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 445)


Spiritual Challenge:  Jesus shows us what it means to be fully human, made in God’s likeness and image.   Endeavor to live a life of sacrifice and service to others, especially as we enter the holidays.


Jesus taught the disciples that, in meeting the physical needs of others, they were also to minister the truth of the kingdom.  A “social gospel” that does not witness to men’s need for spiritual salvation through Christ is no gospel at all (see Gal 1:6-9).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 432)


These individuals were like the second type of soil in the parable of the Sower, people who received Jesus gladly one moment, and then rejected Him completely the next (13:20-21).  Even in the face of such shallowness, Jesus was compassionate.  (David Platt, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Matthew, 191)


If you are a Christian, you will be given in direct proportion to how open your palm is to others.   (Steve Brown, “Frustrating Impossibility”, Mt 14:13-21)


The majority of the multitude were thrill seekers, whose ranks at this time were probably swelled by Jews passing through Galilee on their way to the annual Passover celebration in Jerusalem (Jn 6:4).  Their perspective was self-centered and self-indulgent.  In addition to wanting to be healed or entertained, many no doubt hoped this great miracle worker would prove Himself to be the political Messiah who would use His power to overthrow the hated Roman oppressors and their puppet Herod.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 8-15, 426-7)


No one can read this passage without seeing in it the grim fact that there were hundreds and thousands of people who desired Jesus only for what they could get out of him.  Once they had received the healing which they sought, they were not really prepared to go any further.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 2, 127)




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