Matthew Chapter 14:13-36


Matthew 14:13. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by a ship into a desert place apart:

It is well for us to get alone with God when he takes home the best and most faithful of his servants. Neither the Church nor the world could afford to lose such a man as John the Baptist; so it was well for Christ’s disciples to retire with him to a desert place that he might teach them the lesson of that proto-martyr’s death.

Matthew 14:13-14. And when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

He needed quiet, but he could not get it; yet he was not “moved” with indignation against the crowd that had sought him out, but he “was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” Out of the fullness of his heart of love, he condescended to do for the people what they most needed.

Matthew 14:15. And when it was evening, his disciples 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.

Human compassion might have moved the disciples to say something more kind than that heartless request, “Send the multitude away.” Perhaps they wished to spare themselves the sight of so much distress; but they evidently did not expect the answer that Christ gave them: —

Matthew 14:16. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.

Christ seemed to say to his disciples, “If you only exercise the power that is within your reach, with Me in your midst, you are equal to this emergency:

‘Give ye them to eat.’ “

Matthew 14:17-18. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.

“They are little enough in your hands, but they will be ample when they get into mine.” When everything that we have is in the hands of Christ, it is wonderful how much he can make of it. Bring your talent to the Lord Jesus, be it never so little; sanctify to him every possibility that lies within your reach; you cannot tell how much he can and will do with it.

Matthew 14:19. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, —

It must have been a beautiful sight to see those thousands of men, women, and children at once obeying his command. There were five loaves and two fishes, — probably five small barley cakes and a couple of sardines; so the people might have said, “What is the use of such a multitude sitting down on the grass to partake of such scanty fare as that?” But they did not say so; there was a divine power about the very simplest command of Christ which compelled instant obedience: “He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass,” —

Matthew 14:19. And took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, —

This was that “blessing of the Lord” of which Solomon says that “it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” If you get this blessing on your five loaves and two fishes, you may feed five thousand men with them, besides the women and the children.

Matthew 14:19-20. And brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Much more than they began with; for it is a law of the Heavenly Kingdom that he who gives to God shall be no loser; his five loaves and two fishes shall turn to twelve baskets full after thousands have eaten, and been satisfied. The more there is of complete consecration to Christ, and his blessed service, the more reward will there be in the world to come; and,

possibly, even here.

Matthew 14:21-22. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 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.

He always takes the heavier task upon himself. They may go off by themselves, but he will remain to send the multitudes away. Besides, no one but Christ could have done it, only he who had made them sit down to the feast could make them go to their homes.

Matthew 14:23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray:

He had had a long day of preaching, and healing, and distributing the bread and fish, and now he closed the day with prayer to his Father.

Matthew 14:23. And when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Dr. Watts was right in saying to his Lord, —

“Cold mountains, and the midnight air

Witnessed the fervor of thy prayer.”

He is not now on the bare mountain side, but he is engaged in the same holy exercise up yonder before his Father’s throne.

Matthew 14:24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

This is the case with the good ship of the Church of Christ today; it is “tossed with waves,” and “the wind” is “contrary.” It is very contrary just now; but, then, Christ is still pleading for the ship and all on board; and while he pleads, it can never sink.

Matthew 14:25-29. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit: and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him, and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

You, who are wanting to get to Jesus, should make a desperate effort to get to him; even walk on the water to get to Jesus. Walking on the water might be an idle and evil exhibition; but to walk on the water to go to Jesus is another matter. Try it, and the Lord enable you to get to him!

Matthew 14:30-32. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

The Greek word implies that the wind was tired, weary, “done up,” as we say. It had had its boisterous time, and spent its force; and now it knew its Lord’s voice, and, like a tired child, fell asleep.

Matthew 14:33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

This seems to have been the first time that the disciples arrived at this conclusion so as to state it so positively; yet, do you not think that, after the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes, they might have very fitly said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God”? Sometimes, however, one wonder will strike us more than another; and, possibly, it was because they were in danger when this second miracle was wrought, and therefore they the more appreciated the coming of Christ to them at midnight. They were in no danger when the multitude were fed; perhaps they were not themselves hungry. That strikes us most which comes most home to us, as this miracle did.

Matthew 14:34-36. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 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; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.




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