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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 14

1 When Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard the report about Jesus,2 he said, "He must be John the Baptist risen from the dead! That is why he is able to work miracles."

3 Herod had arrested and imprisoned John because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife.4 John had confronted Herod, telling him, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."5 This enraged Herod, and he wanted to kill John, but he feared what the people would do, because they considered John a spokesman of God.

6 But on Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter danced for the guests, and Herod was extremely pleased–so much so7 that he promised her, under oath, whatever she wanted.8 Urged by her mother, she said, "I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter."9 Herod was conflicted, but because he had given an oath in front of his guests, he granted her request,10 and John was beheaded in prison.11 His head was brought to the girl on a platter, and she gave it to her mother.12 John's disciples took his body and buried it, and then went and told Jesus.

13 When Jesus heard what had happened to John, he went by boat to a place where he could be by himself. But the crowds from the nearby towns heard where he'd gone and followed him on foot.14 When Jesus came near the shore and saw the large crowds seeking him, his heart was moved with compassion for them, and he healed their sick.

15 As the day faded away, his disciples were hungry and said, "We are in the middle of nowhere, and it's getting late. Send the people back to town so they can buy something to eat."

16 Jesus replied, "There is no reason for them to leave. You give them something to eat."

17 The disciples were startled and said, "But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish between us all."

18 Jesus replied, "Bring them to me." 19 Then he gave instructions to the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking toward heaven, thanked his Father, and then broke the loaves into pieces and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples distributed them to the people.20 Everyone ate as much as they wanted, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of leftovers.21 Approximately five thousand men, plus women and children, were fed.

22 Immediately after feeding the crowd, Jesus directed the disciples to leave in the boat without him and go to the other side of the lake while he stayed to dismiss the crowd.23 After the crowd departed, Jesus climbed a hillside by himself to talk with his Father. When the sun set, he was there by himself.24 The boat was already well away from land, and was battered by the waves as the wind blew against it.

25 Around four o'clock in the morning, Jesus walked on the surface of the lake out to where the boat was.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were petrified with fear and shouted, "It's a ghost!"

27 But Jesus gently called out to them, "Calm down! It's me! Don't be afraid."

28 Peter immediately called back, "Lord, if it's really you, command me to come to you walking on the water!"

29 "Well, come on!" Jesus said. So Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus30 but when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind and waves, he was overcome with fear and began to sink. He cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31 Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and lifted him up. "Your trust is so small. Why did you doubt me?" he asked.

32 As soon as they were in the boat, the wind calmed down.33 The disciples knelt down in awe, worshipping him, and said, "You really are the Son of God."

34 They landed on the other side of the lake in a place called Gennesaret.35 When the people there recognized Jesus, they sent runners throughout the countryside, telling everyone. And the people brought to him all those who were sick, infirmed, or disabled,36 begging him to just let them touch the edge of his clothing; and all who touched him were healed.