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14. Miracles of Jesus

1At that season Herod the tetrarch heard the report concerning Jesus, 2and said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore do these powers work in him. 3For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. 4For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 6But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, and pleased Herod. 7Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she should ask. 8And she, being put forward by her mother, saith, Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist. 9And the king was grieved; but for the sake of his oaths, and of them that sat at meat with him, he commanded it to be given; 10and he sent and beheaded John in the prison. 11And his head was brought on a platter, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 12And his disciples came, and took up the corpse, and buried him; and they went and told Jesus.

13Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew from thence in a boat, to a desert place apart: and when the multitudes heard thereof, they followed him on foot from the cities. 14And he came forth, and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. 15And when even was come, the disciples came to him, saying, The place is desert, and the time is already past; send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food. 16But Jesus said unto them, They have no need to go away; give ye them to eat. 17And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18And he said, Bring them hither to me. 19And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. 20And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And they that did eat were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

22And straightway he constrained the disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side, till he should send the multitudes away. 23And after he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when even was come, he was there alone. 24But the boat was now in the midst of the sea, distressed by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25And in the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking upon the sea. 26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a ghost; and they cried out for fear. 27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto the upon the waters. 29And he said, Come. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the waters to come to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32And when they were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And they that were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

34And when they had crossed over, they came to the land, unto Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place knew him, they sent into all that region round about, and brought unto him all that were sick, 36and they besought him that they might only touch the border of his garment: and as many as touched were made whole.

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Verses 1–12

The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God's people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.

Verses 13–21

When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ's creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men's souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ's gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Verses 22–33

Those are not Christ's followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ's disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God's people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord's power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ's disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world's Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come, Heb 11:6.

Verses 34–36

Whithersoever Christ went, he was doing good. They brought unto him all that were diseased. They came humbly beseeching him to help them. The experiences of others may direct and encourage us in seeking for Christ. As many as touched, were made perfectly whole. Those whom Christ heals, he heals perfectly. Were men more acquainted with Christ, and with the diseased state of their souls, they would flock to receive his healing influences. The healing virtue was not in the finger, but in their faith; or rather, it was in Christ, whom their faith took hold upon.




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