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Herod Arrests John the Baptist

(Chapter 14, verses 1-5)

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       (1) District ruler Herod heard about Jesus' miracles. (2) Worried, he said to his servants: "This has got to be John the Baptist. I had him killed; he's risen from the dead; and now he's performing all these stunning miracles!" (3) Sure enough, Herod had John handcuffed, arrested, and thrown into prison. This was all on account of the incestuous relationship between Herod and his sister-in-law Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. (4) For John would always tell him: "It's just not right for you to have her. It's completely against God's law." (5) Herod wanted to kill him for saying this, but he was afraid of the crowd since they consid­ered John a prophet.

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Herod Celebrates Birthday

--Somebody Loses His Head

(Chapter 14, verses 6-13)

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       (6) During the celebration of Herod's birthday party his stepdaughter, the daughter of his wife Herodias, performed an especially sensual dance before everyone. Herod was so moved (7) that he swore on his honor to give the exotic dancer whatever her heart desired. Yes, anything she wanted. (8) After some sinister coaching from her vindictive mother, the young woman asked: "Chop off the head of John the Baptist and serve it to me on a tray." (9) The king was crestfallen. Even so, because he swore to give her whatever she wanted before his guests, he had to carry out the gruesome request. (10) He issued the order to have John beheaded in prison. (11) They brought John's head back on a tray, and gave it to the young woman. She, in turn, gave it to her mother. (12) After all was said and done, John's disciples went to the prison to retrieve his headless body, buried it, and then came to tell Jesus the whole story. (13) As soon as Jesus heard the news he left by boat for an isolated place to be alone in thought. It turned out to be a futile move because when the crowds from the surrounding cities learned of his whereabouts they followed him on foot.  

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Jesus Miraculously Feeds

Over 5,000 People

(Chapter 14, verses 14-22)

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       (14) When he turned and saw the great crowd of people who had followed him he felt sorry for them; so he cured the sick among them. (15) Since it was dark by now, his disciples approached and said: "We're out here in the middle of nowhere and it's already pretty late. Maybe you should dismiss the crowds so that they can go into nearby towns and buy something to eat." (16) However, Jesus said to them: "They really don't have to go anywhere. You guys feed them." (17) With some dismay they responded: "We don't have food for this crowd. All we have are five loaves of bread and two fishes." (18) He said: "Bring them to me." (19) Next, he directed the crowds to sit down and lounge on the grassy areas. He took the five loaves and two fishes, looked up to heaven; said a blessing; broke the bread; and gave these to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. (20) Everyone ate to satisfaction. In fact, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers, (21) even though there were about five thousand men, not including women and children. (22) Then he turned to his disciples and told them to quickly board the boat and meet him on the other side of the sea. He himself decided to stay and see the crowds off.

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Jesus Walks on Water

(Chapter 14, verses 23-36)

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       (23) After seeing the crowds off he ascended the moun­tain by himself to pray. Even though it was real late by now, he was there all alone. (24) In the meantime, the boat was many hundreds of yards away from land. There was a storm that night and the wind pounded the boat with large waves. (25) But sometime between three o'clock and six o'clock in the morning (while it was still dark) Jesus came to them, big as day, walking on water. (26) When the disciples saw him-not knowing it was him-walking on the sea, they were really scared. They shouted: "It's a ghost!" and started screaming at the top of their voices. (27) But Jesus said to them right away: "It's okay! Don't be scared. It's only me. Jesus." (28) After gaining his composure, Peter spoke up and replied: "Lord, if it's really you, make me walk on the water like you. In fact, make me come to you." (29) Jesus said: "Come on!" Peter then climbed out of the boat and started walking on the waters toward Jesus. (30) But as soon as he saw the strength of the windstorm, he panicked and started to sink, yelling: "Jesus Christ! Save me!" (31) Jesus reached for him right away, grabbed him, and said: "You have such a small amount of faith! You were doing well. Why did you start doubting?" (32) When they both reached the boat and got in, the windstorm subsided. (33) Then the disciples in the boat bowed in respect to Jesus, saying: "You really are God's Son." (34) After all the excitement, they finally reached land at Gennesaret.

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       (35) The men there recognized him and had the news spread far and wide that Jesus was in the area. The people responded by bringing all their sick to him. (36) And they started to implore him to allow them to just touch the edge of his outer garment. When they did this they were completely healed.

To Matthew Chapter 15