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This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of SouthPointe Bible Fellowship in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the March 6 reading. Select here for a new reading date:

BibleTrack Summary: March 6
<< Matt 13
<< Mark 6
<< Luke 9
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For New King James text and comment, click here.

Matthew 14:1-21; Mark 6:14-44     Listen Podcast
Luke 9:7-17; John 6:1-14


In these passages, we see the following events in Jesus' ministry:



Background: John the Baptist beheaded (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9)

Matthew 14
Mark 6
Luke 9
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.
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.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.
18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.
19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

These actions regarding John the Baptist are history with regard to this passage. That story is told in this passage to explain Herod's thinking at the time when he hears about the works of Jesus. He naturally thinks of John the Baptist, but at the same time he recognizes that he had already beheaded him. Herod concludes that perhaps John the Baptist is resurrected.

Luke simply states the speculations regarding Jesus in relation to the belief that he might be John the Baptist, but Matthew and Mark go into great detail about the previous death of John the Baptist. These retrospective passages contain the only record we have on John's death.

This is Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great (King Herod when Jesus was born). Herod Antipas was ruler over the region in Northern Israel that included Galilee. This is the same Herod that declined to intercede in the trial of Jesus. Herod's brother (Herod Philip), to whom Herodias had been married, was not a ruler.

Here's what we know from first-century Jewish historian, Josephus: After meeting Herodias on a trip to Rome, Herod Antipas divorced his wife, and Herodias divorced her husband (Philip, Herod Antipas' brother); the two subsequently married.

John the Baptist had been very outspoken at this blatant disregard for Jewish law. In this passage we see that after a night of birthday entertainment focused on the dancing of the daughter of his wife, he foolishly grants her a wish - a wish to include anything up to half his kingdom (he must have been drunk). After conferring with her mother, the daughter requests John's head. Matthew indicates that Herod would have executed John the Baptist early on had it not been for John's popularity with the Jewish people. According to Mark, however, Herod had warmed up somewhat to John and had a lot of respect for him. Obviously, Herodias had no tolerance whatsoever for John the Baptist. Immediately upon the request of the daughter of Herodias, Herod sorrowfully sends an executioner to the prison and delivers to her John's head.

Keep in mind, this story is told here in retrospect to explain Herod's thinking at the time when he became aware of the fame of Jesus. He thought that perhaps John the Baptist had risen from the dead. Matthew and Mark, therefore, include this account to explain the fact that John the Baptist is no longer alive.

The Apostles give a mission report (Matthew 14:13; Mark 6:30-32; Luke 9:10)

Matthew 14
Mark 6
Luke 9
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. 30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Remember the mission trip Jesus had sent his Apostles on in Matthew 10:1-15, Mark 6:7-13 and Luke 9:1-6 (see notes)? Well...they're back. They report to Jesus what had taken place, and Jesus arranges for a little rest and relaxation after their tour; they depart by ship and reach shore on the north side of the Sea of Galilee near the town of Bethsaida. However, the fame of Jesus is too great at this point, and "a great multitude" join them at their vacation spot.

Feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:1-14)

Matthew 14
Mark 6
Luke 9
John 6
14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
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.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
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.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
42 And they did all eat, and were filled.
43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men
11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,
9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

This account is found in all four Gospels. Of the four Gospel writers, Matthew and John would have likely been the only ones actually present that day since they were numbered among the twelve Apostles; they had inside, first-hand knowledge of the events. Though both were present, Matthew gives the shortest account while John goes into great detail. John even mentions the names and conversations of the Apostles working on this feeding project. Remember John's mission as presented in John 20:31 (see notes), "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John apparently wants to make certain that we understand the magnitude of this miracle of the feeding by carefully detailing all the relevant facts. He does not want to generalize his account; details lend credibility.

Let's first of all get our bearings with regard to the time in Jesus' ministry when this event takes place. According to John 6:4, the Passover Feast is approaching. That Passover will be Jesus' last before his crucifixion on Passover day one year later. Therefore, this event takes place just days before Jesus' last year of earthly ministry before his crucifixion. You will notice that the venue here is a place near Bethsaida, but in order to secure some privacy, they take a ship to a desert place near the town. Even though Jesus and his disciples go by ship, the people follow by foot.

The object here is the miracle, not the teaching that brought them to that spot that day. Since they were out and away from provisions, they were faced with the choice of sending the people away early or feeding them. Jesus feeds all 5,000+ people (5,000 men plus women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish (small fish, according to John), and then ends up with leftovers - more than they started with. The significant verse of this occasion is found in John's account in John 6:14, "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." Their expectation of a prophet was based upon the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-22 (see notes). So John uses this occasion to further validate that the people believed Jesus to be the Messiah.

Incidentally, three of the four accounts tell us that Jesus healed the sick in the multitude that day prior to the feeding. Only Mark's account skips that detail. While all four accounts mention that the 5,000 number consisted of men, Matthew wants to make certain we understand that there were additional women and/or children there that day being fed also in 14:21. The accounts of Mark and John go into some additional detail regarding the dynamics of this feeding project. Mark tells us that upon the command of Jesus to feed the multitude, the disciples ask if Jesus wants them to go buy food - 200 pennyworth (Greek: denarion). How much is a denarion? We see in Matthew 20:2 (see notes) that a laborer worked one full day for a denarion. Whoa! That food bill would be equivalent to a man's wages for 200 days! John then reports that it was time for a little test for Philip when Jesus asks Philip where the food should be purchased (John 6:5-6). Philip responds to Jesus by saying that 200 denarion won't buy enough food for the multitude. In John 6:8-9 we see that it was Andrew (Peter's brother) who suggests that enough food might be distributed from the two fish and five loaves. Only John mentions the lad who owned the meager food supply. All four accounts are very specific to say that everyone ate enough to be full.

For commentary on another passage, click here.

Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner