The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 14: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/14?lang=eng
John the Baptist is Killed for the Sake of an Unrighteous Oath
Herod, the tetrarch, had put John in prison, because John had told him it was against the law for Herod to have his brother’s wife Herodias for his own wife.
Because the people thought of John as a prophet, Herod was reluctant to have John put to death; but, on his birthday, Herodias danced for him, and pleased him. So he promised her, with an oath, that he’d give her whatever she asked for. Her mother told her to ask Herod, “Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger” (vs. 8).
Even though this made the king sorry, he had John beheaded and his head given to Herodias, because he’d made an oath. Herodias gave his head to her mother, and his disciples buried his body (vs. 11-12).
Further thought: Oaths were so important in that day that the person often felt bound by them, no matter the consequence. Question: Is it sometimes the more moral thing to do to break an oath? Maybe this is one of the reasons why the Lord told us to not swear at all, but just to say yes or no. We don’t always make the best decisions, and when we are given more light and knowledge, we should use that to reevaluate and act appropriately.
So when Herod heard about the fame of Jesus, he “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’” (vs. 2).
When Jesus learned that Herod was noticing His miracles and thought that maybe John had risen from the dead, Jesus left by ship into a desert place. The people followed him on foot. Jesus had compassion on the great multitude, “and he healed their sick” (vs. 14).
Jesus Fed the Multitude
At evening time, the disciples were concerned for the multitude, knowing they’d be hungry. They asked Jesus to send the multitude away, so they could go buy themselves food.
Further thought: They were all far away from home, because they’d followed Jesus out of the city to a more secluded place. They wouldn’t have had access to food, and they may not have had money to buy food, or had access to any until they returned home.
‘But Jesus said unto them,
“They need not depart; give them to eat.”
‘And they say unto Him,
“We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.”
‘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. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (vs. 16-21).
Further thought: I have no idea how Jesus was able to feed the multitudes. There would have been over 15,000 people there if each man had at least one wife and one child. But, certainly, He who had the power to create all things also had the power to command the elements in order to accommodate the multitudes. The multitudes were small in comparison to His might, majesty, and power; and to His numberless creations and infinite knowledge.
Peter Walks out on the Water to Meet the Lord
After feeding the multitudes, Jesus’s disciples went into the ship to go over to the other side. Jesus first spent some personal time in the mountain to pray to His Father in heaven.
Meanwhile the ship was being tossed in the waves of the sea, ‘for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying,
“Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
‘And Peter answered Him and said,
“Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.”
‘And he said,
‘And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying,
“Lord, save me.”
‘And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him,
“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
‘And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying,
“Of a truth thou art the Son of God”’ (vs. 24-33).
Further thoughts: Jesus must have prayed for a very long time. It was 3 a.m. when he walked out on the water to meet His disciples.
His disciples, already troubled by the storm, must have been even more frightened to see someone walking on the water. Peter may have lacked faith to continue, once he saw the boisterous waves around him, but I think it was admirable that he had enough faith in the Lord to walk out to meet Him in the first place. He may have not had faith in His own abilities, but He certainly had faith and trust in the Lord. I’m so glad that when I falter, I can also cry out, “Lord, save me;” and I know that He will every time.
When they again docked the ship, “they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole” (vs. 34-36).
Further thought: These people, the multitudes that sought after Jesus and had faith in Him, received great blessings. Truly His fame still goes before Him into all the world. Do we have faith in Him so that we can be made perfectly whole according to His timing and His will? Are we willing to seek after Him and to put our whole faith and trust in Him? He is the Only One who can heal us all and make us perfectly whole.