The approach of God’s New Testament kingdom begins to reach a point of crisis in this chapter.
Herod Antipas ruled a fourth of the kingdom that had been ruled by his father, Herod the Great. What a worldly and vicious family. Politics is often a dirty and bloody business. The last great Old Testament prophet and forerunner of Jesus was killed by Herod Antipas. And why? John dared to challenge the immoral lifestyle of the ruler. The world was not worthy of such men as John. How do we respond to the sinful lifestyle of the world? Shall we keep our silence or stand up for the right? We live in a time when we are free to speak, but what if that should change? The world loves its ways and does not like being troubled by proponents of the Gospel. May God give us the courage to always do and say the right thing.
The feeding of the 5,000 is a miracle of truly grand proportion. A boy’s lunch is multiplied so as to feed the crowd who followed Jesus. Jesus always acted with compassion, and he supplied food to satisfy the hunger of the multitude. Much more was left over than the boy had in the first place! This certainly helped prove Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. Sadly, some who observed the miracle of the loaves and fishes pursued Jesus for the wrong reason (John 6:25-27). Would Jesus always supply their food instantly and without labor or cost? Would Jesus always supply a bread line? We should follow Jesus because he offers the bread of life. We should be involved in the church not merely for what we receive, but for what we can give. Jesus’ miracles and signs showed his mastery over life’s difficulties. Miracles went beyond what nature could do or science could explain. When Jesus walked on the water, his disciples were terrified, and rightly so. Peter responded to Jesus’ prompt to also walk on water. At first, he succeeded, but when he looked at the wind instead of the Savior, he began to sink. Jesus will lead us through the storms of life, and much more so when we keep our eye on him. Jesus may not enable us to walk on water, but he will save us from our sins and enable us to face the challenges of life.
My comments are not an inspired commentary, but rather a few words to draw attention to the background, context, and dynamic situation of Matthew’s gospel. May God bless your reading of His Word. T.C.