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John the Baptist Beheaded by King Herod Antipas, Jesus
Feeds Five Thousand and Walks on Water
John the Baptist is Beheaded by King Herod Antipas
Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great, after whose death he ruled Galilee. Antipas was not king, but tetrarch of Galilee, while his two brothers were tetrarchs of two other areas of Israel. Herod first married the daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia, but then lived with his own half-brother Herod Philip's wife, Herodias. This union and the beheading of John the Baptist were blamed for his defeat in a war against Aretas by the historian of that time, Josephus (Antiquities, XXVII, v).
Flavius Josephus, a non-Christian Jewish priest who lived from 37 to 100AD, is one of the world's greatest historians. He wrote that John, who was called the Baptist, was slain by Herod the tetrarch at his castle at Machaerus, by the Dead Sea. The destruction of his army by Aretas, king of Arabia, was ascribed by the Jews to God's anger for his crime.
John had been imprisoned by Herod Antipas when John the Baptist chastised him for his adulterous life with Herodias. Josephus wrote that Herod was also jealous that John was very popular with the people. Matthew told us that Herod wanted to kill John, but was afraid of the people because they believed John was a prophet.
While the disciples were traveling to many cities as evangelists and Jesus was teaching and preaching in other cities, it was Herod Antipas' birthday and he gave a banquet for his ministers, commanders and top echelon people. Salome, Herodias' and Philip's daughter danced before the guests at the birthday celebration and flattered Herod, making him look good before his guests. This pleased Herod and those dining with him and he swore an oath to her, "Ask me whatever you wish, and I will give it to you. I will give you whatever you want, up to half my kingdom."
Salome went out and asked her mother, "What shall I ask him for, mother?" Her mother, who hated John the Baptist for chastising her, quickly replied, "Give right now the head of John the Baptist."
Salome immediately but casually went back to the tetrarch and said, "I do wish that you might give me the head of John the Baptist on a tray in this very hour."
Herod was put in a tight spot and was very sorry; but because he had made the oath in front of all the guests, he did not want to refuse or distress her. He immediately sent the executioner, commanding him to bring the head of John; so the executioner went and beheaded John in the prison and returned with it on a tray. He gave it to the little girl, who gave it to her mother.
When John's disciples heard of this, they came and took up his corpse and consecrated him in a grave. Then they went and informed Jesus.226
226. Mark 6:2129; Matthew 14:612.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
What Jesus said when He was informed that John the Baptist was beheaded is not recorded; but we will get an insight into what He said when He talks about John the Baptist later.
When Jesus heard this from John's disciples, He went to the port at Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus' disciples returned and told Him everything they did and what they had taught. Jesus said, "Come, let us go to the desert alone so you can rest awhile; for many were coming and going and they did not have a place to go, or even a chance to eat. They left by boat and went alone by sailboat to a desert area in the outskirts of Bethsaida to pray but a great many people from all the towns saw them leave, so they ran and followed Him by land ahead of Him because they had seen the many miracles He performed on sick people.
When Yshua Immanuel, God who came to instruct us, saw the large crowds who met them there, He had pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He healed their sick and began to teach them a great many things and told them about the kingdom of God. Jesus went up on the mountain with His disciples and sat down with them, but the crowd followed. The Jewish Passover was approaching.
Evening came, and the disciples came up to Jesus and said, "This is a lonely place and it is getting late. Dismiss the people that they may go to the villages around us and to the farms, to lodge there and find food to buy."
Jesus said to Philip, "They do not need to leave. You feed them. Where can we buy bread that all these can eat?" He said this merely to test Philip; for He knew what he would do. Philip answered, "Two hundred dollars worth of bread would not be enough for them, even if each one should take just a little. There are too many people here!"
Jesus said, "Go and see how much bread you already have." Andrew, Simon Peter's brother answered, "There is a boy here that has five loaves of barley bread and two fish, and what are these for all of them? Shall we go to town and buy two hundred dollars worth of bread and give it to them to eat?"
Jesus said, "Bring the bread and fishes up here to me." When they did, Jesus shouted to them, "Everyone who wishes to dine with us, lie down on the ground." There was much grass there, and He told the disciples to have them recline in groups of fifty each. There were one hundred groups of fifty people each, and they numbered five thousand people in all.
Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and He gazed up to heaven and blessed them. He took the bread and broke it and gave it to the disciples to distribute to those sitting down; likewise, He broke up the fish and gave it them. The disciples took them and placed them before each group and the people reclined and ate as much as they wanted until they were all filled and satisfied.
Jesus told His disciples, "Gather up their leftovers so that none is lost." They gathered up the fragments of what was left, and there were twelve full baskets of bread and fish. There was more than enough food to feed five thousand people, not counting the women and children! All those who saw this miracle which Jesus performed said, "Truly this is the prophet who has come into the world." 227
If God could make the entire universe from nothing, surely He could multiply five loaves of bread and two fishes by a thousand.
When the word of this spread and some of the people told Herod the tetrarch about Jesus, Herod said in amazement, "This man is John the Baptist whom I beheaded! He has risen from the grave! This is why great miracles are wrought by him."
But those among him said, "No, your majesty, He is Elijah who has reappeared, or a prophet just like one of the prophets." Others said that one of the old prophets has risen. And Herod said, "I chopped off John's head. Who is this I hear about?" and he desired to see him.228
6:3044; John 6:114; Matthew 14:1321; Luke 9:1017.
228. Mark 6:14-16; Matthew 14:1, 2; Luke 9:7-9.
Violation of Laws of Nature - - Jesus Walks on Water
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known [1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV].
Before the concept of evolution, most of the greatest scientists believed in God. Most of the greatest advancements in the world today are the result of engineers and technicians utilizing the discoveries of these scientists. Science today has degraded into a conglomeration of scrambled eggs and wild theories as a result of the theory of evolution.
Most scientists today believe that the laws of chemistry and physics that they have learned cannot be violated. Water cannot be changed into wine without fermenting grapes, producing alcohol, enzymes and many other organic compounds; bread and fishes cannot be multiplied. Except for atomic reactions, matter is neither created nor destroyed. Scientists can believe that a rock came from Mars with bacteria in it without any proof that it did not come from Earth as a result of God opening up the fountains of the deep at the time of the flood of Noah, blasting rocks into the stratosphere. They can believe that aliens from outer space brought life to earth, without knowing what made the aliens, and most scientists cannot believe that God came to earth and created life. They can believe that bodily reactions can heal, but cannot believe that living creatures are composed of inorganic chemicals that have been intelligently designed and combined to form organic chemicals that have self-perpetuating life and consciousness, and they cannot believe that faith can heal. A body weighing more than water will sink and not float, so no man can walk on top of water. Therefore they believe that Jesus is folk lore fabricated by a group of deluded followers. Even though evolution and dozens of other wild theories that they do believe cannot be proven, they believe that God is superstitious mythology, and God and Jesus cannot be proven.
Jesus came to earth to show us that if we ask, believing, whatever we ask, if it is according to God's will, will be done by the Father of us all. He also came to earth to prove to us that with faith the laws of the universe that God put together can be violated. These thousands of violations such as the multiplication of bread and fishes were witnessed by hundreds of thousands or even millions, and He gave those who believe in Him the ability to do even greater things. In a court of law, two or three witnesses are enough to make a decision. To a scientist, millions of witnesses are merely hearsay unless a scientist can confirm it by those laws of physics and chemistry that are accepted by the scientific community.
All a scientist has to do to confirm the multiplication of bread and fishes is look around him. The universe originally was nothing. Matter came into existence from nothing. Matter has the ability to combine to create life, and life could not have existed without matter coming into the universe from nothing. Matter has the uncanny ability to make millions of life forms, all in harmony with one another so that without one life form, the other life forms cannot exist. Life in its near-infinite complexity can only be the result of an unimaginably intelligent designer. The existence of an unimaginably intelligent Creator came into a universe that had to be initially nothing, or as god Himself said, He is the Self-existent One, a concept that cannot be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry. Why is it that a scientist can accept the Big Bang, black holes, dual opposite lives that supposedly live in an imaginary antimatter universe, neutrinos, photons, ethereal space and many other fabrications of the human mind, all of which violate the laws of physics, but scientists cannot accept Jesus and what He came and proved to us with millions of witnesses?
After Jesus multiplied the bread and fishes, He knew that Herod's soldiers wanted to capture Him, and those who saw the multiplication of bread and fishes and the many healing miracles wanted to make Jesus king. Jesus took His disciples up the mountain alone to pray. When evening came, He told the disciples to go down to the sea and sail from Tiberius to Capernaum without Him; so they left Jesus alone on the mountain to pray.
When the boat was many miles away from the land, the wind was strong against it and the boat was being tossed by the waves. As Jesus was praying, He saw the disciples struggling as they were rowing. About 3 6 AM when the disciples had rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water.
This is in fulfillment of Job 9:8: 'He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea.'
As He drew near, they thought it was a false vision, and they screamed because of their fear. Jesus immediately spoke to them, "Have courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter answered, "My Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
Jesus answered, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Him. The wind was strong, and Peter became afraid and began to sink. He shouted, "My Lord, save me!"
Jesus immediately stretched out His hand, grasped him and said, "Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?"
The wind quieted down and they got into the boat. The disciples were confused, both about Him walking on the sea and about the bread and fish, and they worshipped Him saying, "Truly you are the Son of God!"
They rowed and came to the port at the land of Gennesaret and when they got out of the boat, the men of that country immediately recognized him. They ran to the surrounding villages and brought all who were seriously sick, carrying them in quilts. Every village that Jesus went to, they laid the sick in the streets, and begged Him to just let them touch the edge of His robe; and all who touched Him were healed.229
The great mathematician, physicist and moralist Blaise Pascal (1623 62) wrote, "God is or he is not.' But to which side shall we incline? . . . Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate the two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is."230
In 1730 English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642 1727) wrote, "Whence it is that Nature does nothing in vain: and whence arises all that order and beauty which we see in the world? . . . does it not appear from phenomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent, who in infinite space, as it were in his Sensory, sees the things themselves intimately, and thoroughly perceives them, and comprehends them wholly."231
Are you hurting? Are you sick, crippled, blind, deaf, imprisoned, in a hospital, hungry or depressed? You also can touch the hem of Jesus' robe. In Revelation 3:20, after Jesus was resurrected, Jesus told John, "Behold, I stand at your door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with me." Open the door of your life and touch Jesus. Let Jesus touch you. Jesus never told a lie (see 1st John 5:14, 15).
14:2236; Mark 6:4556; John 6:15-21.
230. Thought (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 4, no. 277.
231. Newton, Isaac, 1730 ed. Opticks bk. 3, pt. 1, question 28.
The Bread of Life
"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread [Psalm 37:25NIV].
This is not only true of every Jew that believed and followed God, but also of every Christian who believed in and followed Jesus. But the bread that Jesus gives results in eternal life.
Earlier Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she came to Him, He would give her water such that she would never thirst.
The next day after Jesus multiplied the bread and fishes the people stood waiting at the seaport, wanting more food. There was no other boat there other than the boat in which the disciples came, and Jesus was in it. They knew that Jesus had remained on the mountain when the disciples left. Other boats had come from Tiberius where they had eaten the bread and fishes when Jesus blessed and multiplied it. The people in these boats had looked on the mountain and saw that He was no longer there, so they came to Capernaum, looking for him. Jesus then went to the synagogue.
When they found Him there, they asked Him, "Teacher, when did you come here?" He told them, "Truthfully, you do not seek me because you saw the miracles, but only because you ate and were filled. Do not work for the food that perishes, but work for the food that endures to everlasting life. This is what the Son of man will give you; for this is the one whom God the Father has sealed."
They asked, "What do we have to do to work the works of God?"
"This is the work of God," Jesus answered, "that you should believe in him whom God has sent."
Astonishingly, the people said, "What miracle did you perform that we should see and believe in you? What have you performed so unusual? Our forefathers ate manna in the wilderness. As it is written, 'He gave them bread to eat.' "
Jesus told them, "Truthfully I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven. It was my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world is the bread from God."
So they asked Him to always give them this bread.
Jesus answered saying, "I am the bread of life; those who come to me will never hunger and those who believe in me will never thirst. I have already told you that you have seen me and yet you do not believe. Every one of you that my Father has given me will come to me and believe. And whoever comes to me, I will not cast out. I came down from heaven not merely to do my own will, but to do the will of Him who sent me. "
It is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all those that He has given me, but I should raise them up on the last day. The will of my Father is that whoever sees His Son and believes in him will have everlasting life; and I will raise him up on the last day."
When the Jews heard this, they murmured against Him because he said that He is the bread that came down from heaven. The Jews said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he say that he came down from heaven?"
Jesus said, "Stop murmuring among your selves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him; and that person will I raise up on the last day.
"The prophet wrote, 'All your children shall be taught by the LORD'232. Everyone therefore, who hears from the Father and learns from Him will come to me. No one can see the father except he who is from the father. So truthfully I say to you, 'He who believes in me has eternal life.' I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and they still died. This is the bread that came down from heaven that a person may eat of it and not die.
"I am the living bread [the manna] because I came down from heaven; if any persons eat of this bread, they shall live forever; and the bread which I give is my body, which I am giving for the sake of the world."
When the Jews were wandering in the wilderness out of Egypt, God sent manna, which was like bread to feed them, and it kept them alive for 40 years. See Exodus 16:11-35. Jesus likened Himself to that manna.
Then the Jews started asking themselves, "How can this man give us his body to eat?"
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, 'Unless you eat the body of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. Those who eat of my body and drink of my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up at the last day; for my body is truly food and my blood is truly drink. Those who eat my body and drink my blood will abide with me, and I will abide with them. Just as the living Father sent me and I am alive because of the Father, so whoever eats of Me will also live because of Me.'233
"This is the bread that came down from heaven. It is not like the manna that your fathers ate and then died. Whoever eats of this bread shall never die, but will live forever."
This is what Jesus taught them in the synagogue while He was teaching at Capernaum, yet when His disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying . . . who can listen to it?"
Jesus knew what His disciples were whispering among them, so He asked them, "Does this cause you to stumble? What would you believe if you saw the Son of man ascending to the place where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life and the body is of no account. The words that I have spoken to you are words of spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus had known for a long time who it was that did not believe, and He knew who was going to betray Him.
He added, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is given to that person by my Father."
The number 666 is the number of the beast, those who turn against Jesus234. And there is only one verse in the entire Bible that is 6:66. That verse is John 6:66: "Just because of this saying, from that time on, a great many of His disciples turned away and walked with Him no more."
Jesus then said to His twelve disciples, "What! Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered Him, "My Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed and known that you are the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of the living God."
Jesus said, "Did not I choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is Satan?"
The Aramaic word satana, or Satan, comes from the word sta, meaning to slip or to miss the mark, and applies to a person who causes himself or herself or others to miss the mark, or come short of God's expectations.
Jesus was referring to Judah, the son of Simon Iscariot, because he was the disciple who was going to betray Him.235
233. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20.
234. Revelation 13:1618.
235. John 6:2271.
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