“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.’ For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.”
John the Baptist was sent to prison for telling King Herod it was unlawful to marry Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herodias was furious at John for rebuking them and wanted to have him killed “but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him.”
However, Herodias got an opportunity to destroy John the Baptist when her daughter was dancing for her husband, King Herod, and all the other important men in Galilee at Herod’s birthday dinner. Herod was so pleased with the girl that he told her he would give her anything she wanted, up to half the kingdom!
The excited girl ran to her mom to bounce off ideas of all the amazing things she could possibly ask for. Herodias, full of anger and bitterness which blinded her to her daughter’s best interests or to pleasing her husband, told the girl to ask for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. “So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.”
“When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” When evening comes, the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowd home so they may find food to eat. “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.”
Jesus is not only concerned with caring for the masses, He is also training and teaching His disciples so that their faith may increase. So Jesus performs a miracle by feeding about five thousand men, plus their wives and children, with five loaves of bread and two fish. “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’”
We end the reading with Jesus walking on water to meet His disciples who are struggling in a boat during a windstorm. Peter asks if he can walk on the water to meet Jesus, and Peter does well staying on top of the water as long as his gaze is fixed upon Jesus. But as soon as he takes his eyes off Jesus and puts them on his surrounding circumstances, he becomes fearful and begins to sink. So Jesus rebukes Peter by saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Even Peter, Jesus’ disciple, is on a faith journey just like Abraham, just like Isaac, just like Jacob, and just like all the men and women of God before him and since him. The Lord will never give up on His chosen ones. God has big plans for Peter! And Jesus will continue to grow Peter into the man who will start the church.
Keep reading to see Peter become all that the Lord has planned for him to be. (Luke 9:7-9, Mark 6:14-29, Matthew 14:1-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15, Mark 6:45-52, Matthew 14:22-33, John 6:16-21, Mark 6:53-56, Matthew 14:34-36)