After concluding His discourse at the Sea of Galilee, the Lord went back to Nazareth, His hometown. He was called Jesus of Nazareth.
In His earlier visit, Luke 4:16-29, the people with whom He had been raised attempted to throw Him over a cliff.
His second and final visit produced the same rejection. Even though they were astonished at His wisdom and reported miracles, they still refused to believe that He was the Son of God. They said, “He is just a carpenter’s son.” Even His own family refused to believe in Him. John 7:5 “For neither did His brethren believe in Him.”
The people of Nazareth are eternally the poorer for rejecting the Lord because, “He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”
The tragedy of unbelief. The rejection of the Nazarenes reflected the attitude of the nation.
There is a brighter side---at this point, the Lord’s family would not believe Him. After the resurrection, His family evidently believed in Him. In Acts 1:14, we find Mary and the Lord’s brothers, engaged in prayer and supplication with those in the upper room.
“James” is singled out for special mention in 1 Corinthians 15:7. "After that He was seen of James - the Lord’s brother." Later he became a leader in the church in Jerusalem. Acts 12:15-21. He also wrote the Epistle of James.
Matthew 14:1-12 The murder of John the Baptist
At this point in Matthew we are introduced to Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. His title was “tetrarch,” which means, “ruler of the fourth part of the kingdom.”
When he heard of Christ’s miracles, his conscience began to bother him. He was convinced that John the Baptist had risen from the dead.
In verses 3 thru 12 we have a literary flashback. Matthew goes back in time to the circumstances surrounding the death of John the Baptist.
John had denounced Herod for his adulterous relationship with Herodias, his brother’s wife. He was living in unblushing adultery. For his faithfulness to the Word of God, he was put in prison. 2 Sam 12. Nathan. “Thou art the man.”
Later, on his birthday, as the daughter of Herodias performed a lascivious and lewd dance, he was so infatuated that he offered her anything up to the half of his kingdom.
The wicked Herodias asked, through her daughter, for the head of John on a platter. John was executed - the king was sorry - and her action haunted him for the rest of his life. When he heard of the activities of Jesus, the gruesome episode returned to torment him.
Though Herod was conscience stricken, he was determined to kill Jesus just as he had killed John. Luke 13:31-32. Get Thee out and depart from here; for Herod will kill Thee. Jesus said to His informants, “Go and tell that fox” etc.
The word fox is feminine. Jesus said, “Go tell that vixen.” Was He really referring to Herodias, the real power behind the throne?
Herod finally met Jesus. Luke 23:6-11. He was exceedingly glad - he was desirous to see him for a long time - He hoped to see a miracle. Instead, the Lord answered him nothing. He was met by stunning silence.
Then Herod and his soldiers treated Him with contempt, mocked Him, arrayed Him in a purple robe and sent Him back to Pilate.
Maybe this final rejection precipitated his downfall. Shortly after this, Herod lost prestige and power. His armies were defeated - He was banished to France, and then Spain, where he died.
The feeding of the five thousand: Verses 15-21 When Jesus saw the multitudes He was “moved with compassion.” Jesus used this word 8 times. This miracle is mentioned in all four Gospels, the only one that is. In John 6 it is used as one of the seven signs which John used to prove that Jesus was the Son of God.
The miracle itself is majestic. 5000 hungry men---5 loaves and two fish, the lunch of a little boy. The disciples said, “Send them away.” The Lord “knew what He would do.” John 6:6.
The boy gave his lunch to the Lord. Jesus took it - blessed it - then the miracle of multiplication.
Some lessons from this miracle.
Give what you have to the Lord and He will bless it.
The little lad gave his lunch, 5 small loaves and two fish.
Shamgar used an ox goad. Slew 600 Philistines. Judges 3:31.
David used a sling. Killed Goliath. 1 Samuel 17.
Dorcas used a needle. Clothed the poor saints. Acts 9.
Rahab used some string. Saved herself and her house. Joshua 6.
Samson used a jawbone. Slew a thousand men. Judges 15:15.
Moses uses a rod. Opened the Red Sea. Exodus 14.
They were only small things, but all were used by God. Other things God used: Nail – trumpets – pitchers – lamps - millstone. Obey all of His commands. They took the broken pieces of bread and distributed them to the multitude.
Conserve the results. There were 12 baskets of bread and fish left over after the 5,000 men plus women and children (10,000-15,000) were fed.
The spiritually hungry multitude are all around -“give ye them to eat.” The multitudes hunger was only satisfied for a short time. Those who feed upon the “living bread,” Christ, shall be satisfied forever. John 6:58 “He that eateth of this bread shall live forever.”
Thousands were fed on this memorable day; since then millions have been saved as they received Christ, by faith, as the Bread of Life.