Matthew Chapter 14
John the Baptist beheaded

1 At that time the news about Jesus reached King Herod.

2 And he said to his servants, ¡°This man is John the Baptist. John has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.¡±

3 Herod had, in fact, ordered that John be arrested, bound in chains and put in prison be cause of Hero dias, the wife of his brother Philip.

4 For John had said to him, ¡°It is not right for you to have her as wife.¡±

5 Herod wanted to kill him but he did not dare, because he feared the people who regarded John as a prophet.

6 On Herod¡¯s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst of the guests; she so delighted Herod

7 that he promised under oath to give her anything she asked.

8 The girl, following the advice of her mother, said, ¡°Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a dish.¡±

9 The king was very displeased, but because he had made this promise under oath in the presence of the guests, he ordered it to be given her.

10 So he had John beheaded in pris on

11 and his head brought on a dish and given to the girl. The girl then took it to her mother.

12 Then John¡¯s disciples came to take his body and bury it. And they went to bring the news to Jesus.

First miracle of the loaves

13 On hearing this, Jesus set out secretly by boat for a secluded place. But the people heard of it, and they followed him on foot from their towns.

14 When Jesus went ashore, he saw the crowd gathered there and he had compassion on them. And he healed their sick.

15 Late in the afternoon, his disciples came to him and said, ¡°We are in a lonely place and it is now late. You should send these people away, so they can go to the villages and buy something for themselves to eat.¡±

16 But Jesus replied, ¡°They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.¡±

17 They answered, ¡°We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes.¡±

18 Jesus said to them, ¡°Bring them here to me.¡±

19 Then he made everyone sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fishes, raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced the blessing, broke the loaves and handed them to the disciples to distribute to the people.

20 And they all ate, and everyone had enough; then the disciples gathered up the leftovers, filling twelve baskets.

21 About five thousand men had eaten there besides women and children.

Jesus walks on the water

22 Immediately Jesus obliged his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowd away.

23 And having sent the people away, he went up the moun tain by himself to pray. At nightfall, he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the boat was very far from land, dangerously rocked by the waves for the wind was against it.

25 At daybreak, Jesus came to them walking on the lake.

26 When they saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, thinking that it was a ghost. And they cried out in fear.

27 But at once Jesus said to them, ¡°Courage! Don¡¯t be afraid. It¡¯s me!¡±

28 Peter answered, ¡°Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you walking on the water.¡±

29 Jesus said to him, ¡°Come.¡± And Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to go to Jesus.

30 But, in face of the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink. So he cried out, ¡°Lord, save me!¡±

31 Jesus immediately stret ched out his hand and took hold of him, saying, ¡°Man of little faith, why did you doubt?¡±

32 As they got into the boat, the wind drop ped. 33 Then those in the boat bowed down be fore Jesus saying, ¡°Truly, you are the Son of God!¡±

34 They came ashore at Genne sareth.

35 The local people recognized Jesus and spread the news throughout the region. So they brought all the sick to him,

36 begging him to let them touch just the fringe of his cloak. All who touched it became perfectly well.


Comments Mathew, Chapter 14

• 14.1 For chapters 14 and 15 see commentaries on Mark 6 and 7.

It would seem that this series of narratives that occupy chapters 14 and 15 and the beginning of chapter 16 formed a collection dating from the first years of the Church; an identical collection is found in Mark and a part in Luke. As in all these texts that have been passed on orally over a time, there were general ideas and keywords that helped them to be linked to each other. Here bread must have been one of the common themes.

Do not forget that bread was by far the main food and to eat bread signified to have a meal (15:2).

On the other hand there were few needs besides food and clothing, so religion gave much importance to everything related to food and cooking. That explains the questions presented in these chapters and the answers given by Jesus. Even the bread of the children (15:26) gave the opportunity to complete the teaching about the eucharist that was drawn from the two mira cles of the loaves.

• 13. See commentary on Mk 6:32 and Jn 6.

• 22. See commentary on Mark 6:45.

They were ter rified: thinking that it was a ghost. The apostles shared the same fears and superstitions that their kinsfolk had. Only in time would they reach mature faith which drives away these paralyzing beliefs.

Command me to come to you (v. 28). Matthew is not interested in emphasizing Peter¡¯s doubt, but his faith. Peter alone dared to attempt some thing that seemed to be reserved for Jesus, and after joining his companions again in the boat he was, though soaked, the happiest of them all.

Man of little faith (v. 31). Once more Jesus¡¯ reproa ches are addressed to his best disciples (as in 6:30; 8:26; 16:8; 17:20) ¨C in order to convince future disciples, like us, that much is still lacking in our faith.