Matthew 14 Questions & Answers
1. Read Matthew 14:1-5. By whom & why had John the Baptist been arrested?
- Herod the Tetrarch (ruler of a fourth part), also called Herod Antipas who was the son of Herod the Great, had arrested John the Baptist because John had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to take his brother Philip's wife Herodias.
2. a)What had Herod wanted to do John but didn't? Why? (see also Mark 6:20)
- Herod wanted to kill John but didn't because he was afraid of the people, for they considered John a prophet.
- He was also afraid of John the Baptist and yet liked to listen to him.
b) What does that tell us about Herod?
- He was a people pleaser.
- He lived in fear - feared John the Baptist, his wife, his peers, for his reputation (vs. 9). He however feared his wife & friends more than John the Baptist.
3. Why did Herod the tetrarch think that Jesus was John the Baptist resurrected? What does this say about Jesus' ministry? How do you think Herod felt when he heard about the miracles Jesus was doing? (see also Luke 9:7-9)
- Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist resurrected because of the miraculous powers that he heard were at work in Jesus.
- This tells us that Jesus was doing miracles and it reached Herod's ears
- I would think Herod had a guilty conscience. Perhaps he was afraid of the consequences of him beheading John.
- Perhaps he thought Jesus had come back from the dead to seek revenge. He probably felt threatened by Jesus and would have been happy to do to Jesus what he had done to John.
- According to Luke 9:7-9 when he heard about Jesus' miracles he heard some say that John had been raised from the dead
- He tried to see Jesus but Jesus never came to him. Jesus called Herod "a fox" in Luke 13:32.
- The first time Herod saw him was when Jesus was brought to him for trial.
4. Read Matthew 14:6-12.What led to the eventual death of John?
- Herodias' daughter danced beautifully (seductively) before Herod and in his drunken state he offered her anything she wanted.
- The daughter asked her mother what she should ask for.
- Herodias requested for the head of John the Baptist put on a platter and given to her.
- Although Herod was grieved it had nothing to do with repentance - He feared everything except God so Herod cowardly gave in to this injustice.
5. What does Herodias' request tell us about her?
- She was bitter and revengeful, trying to please her husband.
- She was vindictive, cunning, scheming, conniving
6. What do you think this request would do for her daughter?
- Traumatize her or harden her toward brutality
7. Do you think the death of John the Baptist got rid of the problem, guilt and resolved the issue of an illegal marriage?
- No, but Herodias got her way so at least John wouldn't be bothering them anymore.
8. Do you think this kind of barbaric action could happen today?
- A story is circulating that Kim Jong Un, the young leader of North Korea recently put his uncle Jang Song Thaek who had helped him get into power into a cage with a pack of starved dogs to get rid of him.
- There are countries where Christians are disowned, declared dead, sometimes murdered, many forfeit their job, their freedom to worship, the right to teach their faith to their children, many are imprisoned, tortured, exiled and publicly maligned but they will not deny their Lord to save their rights, their freedom or their lives.
9. Read Matthew 14:13-21. What was Jesus' response to hearing about John's death? (See also Mark 6:31)
- He withdrew privately with his disciples by boat to a solitary place. This would show his humanness - that he grieved and wanted to be alone
- Mark 6:31 also talks about there being so many people coming and going so they didn't even have a chance to eat - He invited his disciples to come with him to go to a quiet place and get some rest.
10. What motivated Jesus to help the people who were looking for Him? What was his response?
- Even though he wanted to be alone and grieve when he saw the large crowd he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
11. How many people had come to this lonely place to see Jesus? Why do you think they followed Jesus to the other side of lake?
- 5000 men plus women and children were there
- Perhaps they wanted to witness or experience a miracle of healing, hear him teach, or observe his love and compassion
- Probably the majority of the people would have been thrill seekers - in addition to wanting to be healed or entertained, many probably hoped this great miracle worker would prove Himself to be the political Messiah that would use His power to overthrow the hated Roman oppressors and Herod.
12. a)What was the disciples' response to the crowds after it was getting late?
- The disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away so they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.
b) What attitudes do you think this demonstrates?
- On the surface it looks like they care about the crowds but by sending them away, they show their real attitude of thinking the crowd can look after themselves.
- They looked at their own resources and said they couldn't possibly feed so many people. It didn't even seem to enter their minds that Jesus had the resources to feed so many people.
13. a) What was Jesus' response to the needs of the crowd?
- They don't need to go away - you give them something to eat
b) How did the disciples respond to Jesus' command?
- 'We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,' they answered. There is no way that will feed everyone.
14. What did Jesus do to take care of the needs of the crowd? (see also Mark 6:37-44)
- Jesus asked for the food, told the people to sit down on the grass in groups of 50 & 100, took the 5 loaves and 2 fish & looking up to heaven gave thanks and broke the loaves.
- Jesus had the disciples give the food to the people and they ate until satisfied.
15. a) Can Jesus multiply the gift that we give to others?
- Sometimes we might think we don't have much but Jesus can multiply the blessings we share with others.
b) Does that motivate you to give even more?
16. a) How much was left over?
- They ended up picking up 12 basketfuls of left overs, one for each disciple.
b) What does this tell us about leftovers? Any application here?
- Nothing is to be wasted. Everything God gives us is valuable
17. Read Matthew 14:22-33. Why do you think Jesus was in a hurry to get the disciples off? (John 6:14-16) What did Jesus do after He dismissed the crowd?
- According to John, He knew that people were wanting to make Him King by force so He withdrew and made the disciples leave by boat.
- The disciples probably thought the recognition of the crowd was long overdue and rejoiced that Jesus was finally being acknowledged as the Messiah, the coming King who would overthrow the Romans. Jesus had taught them to pray, "Thy Kingdom come (Matthew 6:10) so perhaps this seemed like an opportune time for Him to begin making the answer to that prayer a reality. If that was the case, Jesus would have wanted to remove the disciples by commanding them to get into the boat (Were they reluctant?)
- Perhaps He needed time to refocus his mission or grieve the loss of his cousin John.
- After He dismissed the crowds He went up on a mountainside to pray alone.
- Jesus was giving His disciples an example of withdrawing from the temptation to get political power.
18. What are some lessons the disciples could have learned from this experience of Jesus feeding the 5000+ people?
- Show compassion for those in need even if they are fickle or undeserving.
- In meeting a physical need they were also to minister the truth of the kingdom
- Jesus demonstrated God's generosity to providing enough food for every person to be fully satisfied.
- To trust God to supply what seems impossible.
- Withdraw from people who want to make Jesus take political power.
19. Why was Jesus praying alone? What kind of issues do you think Jesus was praying about? Do you think Jesus knew what was going to happen that night? How long was He praying?
- Jesus needed to spend time alone with God, His Father. He didn't have time to rest or spend unhurried hours with his disciples, but He had time to pray.
- Perhaps He was praying about what God wanted Him to do. I'm sure God told Jesus what was happening out at sea and what He wanted Jesus to do.
- He prayed until it was close to dawn.
20. Why do you think Jesus waited until near dawn before He went out to help them?
- He could have been testing their faith after the miracle God performed. Would they apply what they had learned about the power of prayer?
21. a) How long would they have been out at sea, most of the time battling a storm?
- The night was divided into 4 watches or shifts. The first from 6 - 9 pm, the second from 9 - 12 am, the third from 12 - 3am, the forth from 3 - 6 am.
- When evening came, would be at 6 pm, and they were at that time, according to John 6:19, already 3 - 3½ miles away from land buffeted by the winds. That means that they had been in the storm at least 9 hours. Being in a storm is bad enough, but being in the storm without Jesus is much worse.
b) What might have gone through their minds as the disciples battled the storm?
- Where is Jesus? Why did He send us away to our death? Why doesn't He come and help us?
22. What would you think if you saw something coming to you if you were in a boat on the lake?
- I'm sure I would have been afraid too. The unknown is always a little frightening especially if your life is in danger already.
23. How did Jesus respond to their cries of fear?
- Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'
- Jesus is understanding and caring and shows us that when we are with Him we do not need to fear.
24. a) Have you ever cried out in fear?
- I have been afraid at times, but I'm not sure that I have ever cried out in fear. Usually I freeze rather than vocalize.
b) Do you think that Jesus can calm our fears? Do you have any fears? What gets rid of fear?
- Jesus does calm my fears - Usually with scripture.
- I have fear of icy roads and high speeds. Fear of disappointing people I love and who are very vocal when you do disappoint them.
- He will put a verse into my mind to remind me that "when I am afraid, I can trust in Him." Psalm 56:3
- Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer with thanksgiving, make my requests known to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and mind through Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
- 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
25. a) Who spoke up in response to Jesus and what did he ask? Why do you think he asked that question?
- Peter said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to walk on the water." My first thought was that Peter checking out to see if it really was the Lord. Only the Lord would accept such a question and ask Peter to walk on water.
- However, I like John MacArthur's idea better. The "if" probably did not reflect doubt. Rather he was so overjoyed at seeing Jesus that he wanted to be safely with Him. He knew better than to just jump out of the boat so he asked Jesus to command him to come to Him. Peter's request was an act of affection built on confident faith. He did not ask to walk on water for the sake of doing something spectacular but because it was the way to get to Jesus. Although he was impulsive and made many blunders, he genuinely loved Jesus and sincerely wanted to serve and please Him. Peter love was imperfect and weak but real.
b) How did Jesus respond to Peter?
- Jesus told him to come. This shows that Peter had the right motive. Jesus invites, never mind commanding someone to do something that is sinful, prideful or presumptuous.
26. What lesson did Peter learn about stepping out in faith? What can we learn from this about stepping out in faith?
- You got to keep your eyes on Jesus. If you look at the problems (the wind) you will become afraid, start to doubt and then sink.
- Peter had enough faith to get him out of the boat, but not enough to carry him across the water. At least Peter was wise enough to ask the Lord to save him.
- Our doubt is sometimes the limiting factor for faith to work. God's sovereignty is another factor.
- Jesus never rejects weak faith, but accepts it and builds on it.
- Faith is strengthened by being taken to extremities of what we have not faced before.
27. What was the response of the disciples in the boat to the miracle they saw?
- They worshipped Jesus acknowledging that truly Jesus is the Son of God. The crowds were amazed when they saw a miracle but the disciples had by now gone past amazement to worship.
- God had announced at Jesus' baptism that Jesus was His own Son, the demons at Gadara addressed Him as the Son of God.
- But this is the first time that the disciples declare that Jesus is God's Son.
28. Do you worship God when you see a miracle or are you just in awe? What kind of miracles do we fail to worship God for?
- I know I thank and praise God. I need to be more intentional on worshipping Him as well.
- There are many little miracles that happen in our life and maybe we take them for granted.
29. Even though the disciples obeyed Jesus and got into the boat, they faced a storm. Can we face storms too in life even if we are obedient to the Lord? How did God honor the disciple's obedience? Does God honor our obedience too?
- It is encouraging to know that storms in our life are not always a result of us doing something wrong. We may be exactly where God wants us and still face storms.
- God honored the disciple's faithfulness and brought them through safely. When we as believers are in the place of obedience we are in the place of safety, no matter what the circumstances.
30. Read Matthew 14:34-36. Where is Gennesaret on the Sea of Galilee?
- To the west and south of Capernaum
31. What happened when word got out where Jesus was?
- People brought their sick people and begged Him to let the sick just touch the edge of His cloak so they could be healed
- The people's confidence in Jesus' miraculous powers was so firmly established that they just wanted to touch the edge of His cloak.
32. What happened to those who came who were sick?
- Jesus had compassion on them and honoured their faith. All who touched Jesus were healed
33. Could that happen today? What is Jesus' real desire to do in our life?
- Jesus isn't here physically but His main desire isn't just to heal physically but to heal people's sin-diseased hearts. Many people today like in Jesus' day looked to God just for what they wanted and not what He wanted. I wonder how many had anything more to do with Jesus after He healed them physically. Yet, in spite of the people's superficiality, ingratitude and self-centeredness, He mercifully healed them in order to reveal the compassionate heart of God.
34. How about on a personal level - What is our motive for coming to God or asking for help from God? Is it to get what we want for ourselves or are we willing to have God do in our lives what He wants to do?
35. If you had to summarize what Matthew teaches in this chapter what would the main points be?