Matthew Chapter 14
The Herod family were consistent enemies of Christianity. Herod The Great tried to have Christ killed at the time of His birth. His son, Herod Antipas, was the Herod that spoke with Jesus Christ after His arrest and who sent Him back to Pontius Pilate for a wrongful death sentence. Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the Great who had the apostle James executed. Herod Arippa II was great-grandson of Herod the Great to whom the apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) was brought after his arrest (see The Herods).
Herod Antipas not only presided over the execution of Jesus Christ. He also had John the Baptist beheaded after he arrested John for publicly rebuking Herod's unlawful marriage to his adulterous/incestuous sister-in-law/niece Herodias (Herodias was first married to her uncle, her father's half-brother Philip, with whom she had a daughter named Salome; Herodias later left Philip and married Herod Antipas, Philip's brother, thereby making her the wife of two of her uncles) i.e. "14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife" (Matthew 14:3 KJV).
"14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 14:2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist [see John's Last Days]; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.
14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison [see Machaerus] for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 14:4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 14:5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
14:6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 14:7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
14:8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger [see Chargers]. 14:9 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. 14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison [see also Beheadings]. 14:11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. 14:12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus." (Matthew 14:1-12 KJV)
Like all of Christ's miracles, there was an ultimate symbolism to Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 (see Christ, The Bread of Life).
"14:13 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. 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great Multitudes, and was moved with Compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
14:15 And when it was evening [see Eventide], his disciples [see Disciples and Apostles] 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.
14:16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
14:17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes [see St. Peter's Fish]. 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me. 14:19 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. 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children." (Matthew 14:13-21 KJV)
Jesus' walking on the water was something that anyone, if they have enough faith, could do - as Peter (see also Peter's Ministry) was given to prove: "14:29 And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus" (Matthew 14:29 KJV). Peter only started to sink when his faith did. Faith has always been more powerful than water (or anything else) e.g. "11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned" (Hebrews 11:29 KJV). See also The Manifestation Of Faith.
"14:22 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. 14:23 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. 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
14:25 And in the fourth watch [see Hours Of The Day] of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 14:26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
14:27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
14:28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
14:29 And he said, Come.
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 14:32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 14:33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
14:34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 14:35 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; 14:36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole." (Matthew 14:22-36 KJV)
Matthew Chapter 15
"15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9 KJV) was and is a warning to Christians, not merely the religious (mis)leaders of that ancient time. See I Did It My Way.
"15:1 Then came to Jesus Scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 15:5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 15:7 Ye Hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men [see Do You Know Him?].
15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
15:12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
15:15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
15:16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart [see A Pure Heart]; and they defile the man. 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." (Matthew 15:1-20 KJV)
One of the greatest ironies of the coming of The Messiah was that the people of Judah, as a nation, failed to recognize Him, while many "Gentiles" did (e.g. see The Christians of Tyre and The Samaritans Of Israel).
"15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
15:22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
15:23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
15:25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
15:26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs.
15:27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith [see Faith and Healing]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matthew 15:21-28 KJV)
Jesus' feeding of the 4,000 was nevertheless plain evidence of how He was at times accepted by the general population of Judah, and the neighboring foreign nations, but ultimately rejected by the few men at the top: "15:30 And great multitudes came unto him" (Matthew 15:30 KJV). This too was a "Lord's supper."
"15:29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:
15:31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
15:33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?
15:34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye?
And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
15:35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 15:36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 15:37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. 15:38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. 15:39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala." (Matthew 15:29-39 KJV)
Matthew Chapter 16
The Pharisees and the Sadducees, men who were given to archive the written Word of God, were in the darkness to the ultimate Word of God (see The Logos) when He came right before them: "1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him [see Christ The Creator]; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not ... 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-5,14 KJV).
"16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas [see Three Days and Three Nights and The Son Rose As The Sun Set]. And he left them, and departed." (Matthew 16:1-4 KJV)
Why couldn't the Pharisees and Sadduccess see what should have been so plain? Apart from the fact that they obviously didn't yet have the Holy Spirit (see The Cure For The Carnal Mind), they were moreover not yet ready for the Holy Spirit because of their arrogance and self-righteousness. They were too "full of themselves" for the Holy Spirit to come in.
"16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees [see The Two Kinds Of Pride].
16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:5-12 KJV)
Peter's Ministry began after Christ's resurrection. Why didn't he fully understand (although he certainly understood that Jesus was the Christ, as stated below) until then? See the Fact Finder question below.
"16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias [see The Elijahs]; and others, Jeremias, or one of the Prophets.
16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ." (Matthew 16:13-20 KJV)
Jesus knew almost all that was coming upon Him at His sacrifice (He had only one major surprise - see Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?). Peter had just acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but what followed showed that Peter meant that he thought that Jesus was going to become just another physical king (again, see the Fact Finder question below). Peter, at that point, would have fought (as in fact he did when he drew his sword to defend Christ from the mob - see Malchus) to prevent Christ being sacrificed.
"16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matthew 16:21-28 KJV)
Fact Finder: When did Peter and the other apostles come to fully understand what Christ had spent years teaching them?
See When Their Eyes Were Opened