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Matthew 14

Herod's soldiers kill John the Baptist

1 At that time, people told Herod about the things that Jesus was doing. 2 Herod said to his servants, ‘That man Jesus is really John the Baptist. John died but he has become alive again. That is the reason why this man can do these very powerful things.’

14:1Herod was the ruler in one of the four parts of Israel at that time.

3 Before that, Herod himself had said to his soldiers, ‘Take hold of John. Tie his hands and feet and put him in prison.’ Herod had done this because of his wife Herodias. Before Herod married her, she was the wife of Herod's brother Philip. 4 John had said to Herod, ‘Herodias was your brother's wife. So it is not right for you to have her as your wife.’

14:4Herodias had left Philip, her husband. Herod married her. So John told him what Moses had written in the Law. The Law said, ‘A man must not marry his brother's wife while his brother is still alive.’ Herod was not happy with John when he told him that. So, Herod sent his men to put John in prison.

5 Herod wanted to tell his soldiers that they must kill John. But the people thought that John was a prophet from God. So Herod was afraid to kill him.

6 One day, when it was Herod's birthday, he asked people to come to a special meal. The daughter of Herodias danced in front of him and his visitors. Her dance caused Herod to become very happy. 7 He said to the girl, ‘Ask me for anything that you want. I make a strong promise that I will give it to you.’ 8 Herodias suggested to her daughter, ‘Ask Herod to give you John's head.’ So the girl said to Herod, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist on a plate.’ 9 Then Herod felt sad. But he had made a special promise to the girl, and his visitors had heard him. So he sent his men to do what she had asked for. 10 He said to a soldier, ‘Go to the prison and cut off John's head.’ 11 The soldier did this. Then he brought the head on a plate and he gave it to the girl. The girl took it and gave it to her mother.

12 After this, John's disciples went to the prison and they took away his body. They buried it. Then they went and they told Jesus what had happened.

Jesus gives food to 5000 men and their families

13 Jesus heard about what had happened to John. After that, he went away from that place. He sailed in a boat to a quiet place where he could be alone. But the crowd heard where Jesus had gone. So they left their towns and they went on land to the place where he was going. 14 Jesus got out of the boat. He saw a large crowd there on the shore. He felt sorry for them. There were sick people among them and he made them well again.

15 When it was almost evening, Jesus' disciples came to speak to him. They said to him, ‘We are in a place where there are no houses. It will soon be dark. Send the crowd away now, so that they can go to the villages near here. Then they can buy some food for themselves to eat.’

16 Jesus said to them, ‘The people do not need to go away. You should give them some food to eat.’

17 But the disciples said, ‘We only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes.’

18 ‘Bring the bread and fish here to me,’ Jesus said. 19 Then he said to the large crowd, ‘Sit down on the grass.’ He took the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fishes. He looked up to heaven and he thanked God for the bread and the fish. Then he broke the bread into pieces. He gave the pieces of bread to his disciples, and they gave it to the crowd. 20 Then everybody ate. They all had enough food and they were not hungry any more. Then the disciples picked up all the bits of food that people had not eaten. They filled 12 baskets with little bits of bread and fish. 21 About 5000 men ate the bread and fish. Women and children also ate it with them.

14:21This event is very important. Only God could make 5 loaves of bread and two fish become enough to feed 5000 men and their families. This showed them that God had caused Jesus to be very powerful.

Jesus walks on the water

22 Immediately after this, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Get in the boat and sail across to the other side of the lake.’ Jesus said that he would first send the crowd away. Then he would also leave. 23 So, Jesus sent the crowd away. After they had gone, he went up on a mountain alone to pray. When it became dark, he was still there alone. 24 At this time the boat with the disciples in it was in the middle of the lake. It was a long way from the land. The wind was blowing against the boat and the water was hitting it.

25 Then, when it was nearly dawn, Jesus walked on the water towards his disciples. 26 The disciples saw him walking on the water. They were very frightened. ‘It is a spirit,’ they said. They screamed loudly because they were afraid.

27 But immediately Jesus said to them. ‘Be brave! It is I. Do not be afraid.’

28 Peter replied, ‘Lord, is it really you? If it is you, say to me, “Come here! Walk to me on the water.” ’

29 Jesus said to him, ‘Come to me.’

So Peter got down out of the boat. He walked on the water and he came towards Jesus. 30 But then Peter saw that the wind was still blowing strongly. He became afraid and he began to go down into the water. He shouted to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me!’

31 Immediately, Jesus put out his hand and he took hold of Peter. He said to Peter, ‘You should trust me more than you do. Why did you not believe that I could help you?’

32 Jesus and Peter climbed up into the boat. Then the strong wind stopped. 33 The disciples who were in the boat went down on their knees. They praised Jesus and they said to him, ‘It is true. You are really the Son of God.’

34 They sailed across the lake and reached the shore at a place called Gennesaret.

14:34Gennesaret was a part of the country on the west side of Lake Galilee.

35 The people who lived in that place recognised Jesus. So they went to tell everyone who lived in places near there. People brought all their sick friends to him. 36 The sick people asked Jesus for help. They wanted to touch only the edge of his coat. Every sick person who touched him became well again.