Matthew Bible Study (The Gospel of the King and the Kingdom of Heaven)

Matthew 14:13-36, Do Not Fear


We have noticed in our study of Matthew that this gospel stacks historical accounts together to teach us important messages about who Jesus is and what it means to follow him and belong to his kingdom. In our last lesson we noticed the rejection of Jesus and John. John was killed for preaching that it was unlawful for Herod to be married to Herodias. This event causes Jesus to leave where he is in Galilee. In Matthew 14:13 we read that Jesus now moves to a desolate place by himself. But this rejection will help us see an important picture of Jesus who gives us no reason to fear.

Jesus Satisfies (14:13-21)

Jesus moves to a desolate place but this does not keep the crowds from looking for him. He took a boat to a remote place but the disciples follow on foot. You can imagine the crowds watching Jesus is the boat from the shore. They are walking the shoreline in the direction where Jesus is going in the boat so that they can meet up with him. You have to love this picture. The crowds do not wait for Jesus to come back. They do not go home. They are following Jesus and they are walking the shore to track where he is going. So when Jesus comes ashore there is a great crowd there (14:14). I want you to see something about Jesus in verse 14. Jesus has compassion on the crowds and heals their sick. Jesus is not annoyed that they followed him. Jesus is not frustrated that he cannot get a break. Jesus does not send them away because he needs a moment. Jesus has compassion for people who come to him. Jesus does not turn away people who are truly seeking him.

But evening comes and they are in the middle of nowhere. The disciples come Jesus and they have concern for the crowds. They tell Jesus that he should send away the crowds so that they can journey to the nearest town to get some food for themselves. Now I want you to listen to what Jesus says because what is says is very important to what we are going to learn about Jesus in today’s lesson. Look at verse 16. Jesus said, “They do not need to go away.” Please rest your thoughts on this statement. The crowds do not need to leave me. They do not need to go away. They do not need to take care of themselves. They do not need to figure it out for themselves. They do not need to go away. Jesus continues by telling the disciples to give them something to eat.

The problem with Jesus’ command is that they do not have enough food to give the crowds. They only have five loaves of bread and two fish. Now Jesus knows this. Jesus did not bring food with him in the boat when he went across the sea to feed 10,000 people. He knows that they do not have enough food. But Jesus is going to use this moment and the event recorded in the next paragraph to teach his disciples. They do not need to go away. The disciples can feed them. How can this be?

In verses 18-19 Jesus takes the loaves and fish, gave thanks to the Lord, and then broke the loaves of bread and gave them to his disciples. The disciples take the food and gave it to the crowds. Every person in the crowd ate dinner and was satisfied (14:20). Not only were they satisfied, but there were twelve baskets full of leftovers. The leftovers were more than what they started with, never mind the fact that Jesus just fed 5000 men which did not count all the women and children who were there also.

The first picture given to us is that Jesus is the true bread that satisfies. Jesus is the satisfaction you need for your life. We make such a mistake by thinking we need to leave Jesus to find satisfaction. We make a mistake when we think we need to leave Jesus to get what we need or desire. Jesus is counteracting this thinking. The people do not need to leave. Jesus has what the people need.

I want us to see three important pictures here. First, Jesus provides for his followers. Second, Jesus satisfies his followers. Third, Jesus gives his followers abundantly beyond what they need. Do not go away from Jesus. Jesus will provide what you need. Jesus will satisfy your needs. Jesus will give you abundantly beyond what you need. The next account recorded for us is going to amplify this idea. So hold these three pictures about Jesus in your mind as move to the next scene where Jesus is going to prove these truths.

Jesus’ Power to Satisfy (14:22-33)

Notice the connection Matthew is making in these accounts. Verse 22 says that Jesus immediately made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to other side while he stayed behind to dismiss the crowds. So the disciples take off in the boat to cross back to the other side. After dismissing the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain by himself to pray. There is a little Moses symbolism here as Jesus has given bread in a desolate place like Moses did in the wilderness and is going up the mountain to have fellowship with the Father like Moses did at Mount Sinai. The boat that the disciples are in has now traveled far from the shore. But early in the morning before dawn, Jesus went out to the disciples in the boat by walking on the sea. Do not let those words pass by your eyes, ears, and heart too quickly. Jesus went out to his disciples and showed that he does not need a boat. He walks on the water to his disciples.

Obviously this would be very unexpected and frightening to his disciples. The disciples are fighting the waves of the sea and in the darkest of night before the sun began to rise, you see what looks like a person walking on the sea toward you. Who would not be terrified? Who would not feel sheer terror? Verse 26 says that these experienced fishermen are screaming into the dark out of fear.

As Jesus is approaching, the disciples are yelling in fear. So Jesus calls to them, “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid!” You can imagine the scene. As they are looking out into the darkness and seeing this figure coming toward you, you would be terrified. But the voice is recognizable. Though they cannot fully see him yet, they hear a familiar voice. Don’t worry. Take courage. It is just me. Do not be afraid. Well, Peter wants to double check this. If it is really you, Lord, then command me to come to you on the water.

Friends, that is bold request. Friends, that is a faith filled request. Peter is understanding the power and authority of Jesus. Jesus, if that is really you out there walking on the water, then tell me to come to you. You have the power to feed more than 5000 people and have leftover out of merely five loaves and two fish. You have the power to walk on water. You also have the power to tell me to come out there to you. Please look at verse 29. Jesus said, “Come.” Now stop here a moment. Would you do it? Would you even try? How nervous would you be? The waves are splashing. The wind is howling. We are told in verse 24 that the boat was being beaten by the waves because the wind was against them. The boat is not still. The boat is rocking up and down and side to side. But Jesus says, “Come.” Look at verse 29. Peter climbed out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. How amazing! What faith! He put his feet over the boat and stood up on the water. Then he walked on the water toward Jesus. What a moment!

We wish this could be the end of the scene. But it is not. Look at verse 30. “But when he saw the wind….” Peter is walking on the water toward Jesus. This is amazing! But he saw the wind and was afraid. The wind made him afraid and then he started to sink. Peter cries out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reaches out his hand and took hold of him. Jesus has a simple question for Peter. Why did you doubt?

Why did Peter doubt? The text tells us that his doubt came from looking at the wind. Peter saw the circumstances and saw what he was doing and he became afraid. He doubted because of what he saw. He doubted that Jesus would take care of him. He doubted that Jesus would not let him sink. He doubted that Jesus would help him. Peter looked at the situation and doubted Jesus’ ability and care.

So Jesus is going to continue to teach his disciples. Look at what happens next in verse 32. When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. I need you to see this. Jesus was in full control of the circumstances the whole time. We look at our situation and doubt Jesus. Jesus is saying that he is in full control of the situation. Jesus could have stopped this storm at any time. He could have made the wind stop and the waves die down at any time. But he didn’t. Why not? So that we would see that he has full control. So that we would see that Jesus has you no matter what the situation is. You are supposed to trust Jesus when the storm has completely spun out your life because Jesus is in control of the situation. Jesus will make the storm stop when he is ready to tell the storm to stop! Why did you doubt me? I am in full control of this storm. Why were you afraid?

This is the definition of a disciple of Jesus. Notice when they get into the boat that everyone in the boat worships Jesus. They confess, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Jesus’ power over the storm is to lead us to worship. Jesus’ power over the storm is to lead us to trust him as the Lord, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.


I want us to see the big message that has been presented to us about Jesus in these two accounts. We first saw Jesus feed over 5000 people. What did Jesus say? They do not need to go away because Jesus can provide, satisfy, and give you abundantly more than you need. Then we saw Jesus walking on the water. What is Jesus’ showing? It does not matter what is going on in life, Jesus can provide and satisfy. Jesus has full control to be able to give you what you need. Do not go away from him when you are struggling in life. Jesus can provide, satisfy, and give you abundantly more than you need. Do not go away from him to take care of your needs. Jesus can provide, satisfy, and give you abundantly more than you need. Do not leave Jesus and give into temptations to fulfill your desires. Jesus can provide, satisfy, and give you abundantly more than you need or desire. Do not leave Jesus because you see the winds howling in your life. Jesus can provide, satisfy, and give you abundantly more than you need. Do not doubt him.

When the disciples are screaming in fear in the boat, Jesus tells them to have courage and to not be afraid. Why should they have courage and not be afraid? Because Jesus is in complete control of the situation. Do not be afraid because Jesus has you in this moment. Do not run from him and do not doubt because he has you in this moment. This is your moment to walk to Jesus. This is not your moment to sink into the sea. Jesus is sufficient for your life. He will provide for you. He will satisfy you. He will give you abundantly more than you need. But you have to see him in charge of the storm. You have to see him as Lord over your life. You have to see that he will tell the winds to stop when it is time for the winds to stop. Jesus has the power to provide and he has the compassion to care for you.

Notice how verses 34-36 cap this teaching segment. Jesus crossed back to the other side of the sea. When the people recognized him, they went to him with the sick, believing that if they could just touch Jesus they would be healed. “And as many as touched him were made well” (14:36).

We must recognize him as the Son of God. Then we must go to him for our needs, for our desires, and for our healing. Jesus will provide, satisfy, and give abundantly more than we need. Then we worship him because he see him in control of the storm. Then we worship him because he has given us everything we need because we got out of the boat and trusted him with our lives and he did not let us sink. Peter’s failure did not end in catastrophe because Jesus did not fail him. You can trust him with your life.

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