Matthew 14

Matthew 14:1

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus,

(a) Herod the tetrarch (4BC–39AD) was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.

When Herod the Great died, his kingdom was divided among three sons, Archelaus, Philip, and Antipas. Herod Antipas was given control of Galilee (Luke 3:1). Antipas is the Herod who is mentioned most frequently in the Gospels. Antipas was responsible for the murder of John the Baptist (Matt 14:10). He also tried to kill Jesus (Luke 13:31).

(b) Tetrarch. A tetrarch was a ruler of a quarter of a province. Antipas’s brother was Philip the tetrarch (see entry for Luke 3:1), but his other brother was known as Archelaus the ethnarch (see entry for Matt. 2:22).

Matthew 14:2

and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

John the Baptist; see entry for Mark 1:4.

Matthew 14:3

For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.

(a) Herod Antipas had taken the wife of his half-brother Philip. When John the Baptist spoke out against this immorality (see next verse), Herod had him imprisoned.

(b) Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus and the granddaughter of Herod the Great. She was married to her half-uncle Herod Philip before she divorced him and married her other half-brother Antipas (Mark 6:17). Because John opposed their union, Herodias held a grudge against him and looked for reasons to have him killed (Mark 6:19).

(c) Philip the husband of Herodias was Herod II, a.k.a. Herod Philip, yet another son of Herod the Great. He was not Philip the tetrarch (see entry for Luke 3:1).

Matthew 14:6

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod,

(a) Herod Antipas the tetrarch; see entry for Matt. 14:3.

(b) The daughter of Herodias is not named in the Bible but was identified by Josephus as Salome. Salome’s father was Herod Philip (see entry for Matt. 14:3) which meant she was both the granddaughter (through her father) and great-granddaughter (through her mother) of Herod the Great. Salome married her uncle Philip the tetrarch.

Matthew 14:14

When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.

Compassion. The original word for compassion (splagchnizomai) appears a dozen times in the New Testament and in every case it is associated with the divine compassion revealed in Jesus Christ. See entry for Compassion.

Matthew 14:30

But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Seeing the wind. Peter took his eyes off the Lord and got distracted by his circumstances.

Matthew 14:31

Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

(a) You of little faith. Peter’s faith had been displaced by doubt. Jesus is not saying there are degrees of faith, for even mustard-seed faith will move mountains (Matt. 17:20). Just as the disciples in the storm were captive to fear (Matt. 8:26), Peter was incapacitated by doubt.

(b) Why did you doubt? Doubt and faith cannot coexist (Matt. 21:21). The one who doubts has the mind of a storm-tossed sea (Jas. 1:6). The remedy to doubt is not to whip yourself into a frenzy of DIY faith, but to stay focused on Jesus.

Matthew 14:33

And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

God’s Son. The disciples had known Jesus as a gifted teacher and a prophet. Some had even realized that he was the Messiah (John 1:41). But now they all realized the Son of Man was truly the Son of God.

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