Death, Hunger, And Miracles

Death, Hunger, And Miracles

The Death of John the Baptist
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

A Sordid Story

While the disciples are away, Mark describes how John the Baptist died. As the fame of Jesus began to spread, people's opinions towards him varied significantly. Some believed he was Elijah back from the dead as predicted before the Messiah appeared. Others deemed him a prophet or even more than that. Herod had an uneasy conscience and suspected that Jesus was John the Baptist risen again with judgment for his misdeeds once more.

John the Baptist was arrested by King Herod Antipas, son of King Herod the Great. John had spoken out against Antipas' illicit marriage with his brother's wife, Herodias, who then became an adversary of John. She proved a formidable adversary for John and shared many similarities with Jezebel in her vengefulness toward him. At a royal banquet in honor of Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter danced for those gathered, and Herod promised her a reward for dancing. After consulting with her mother, she requested that John's head be delivered as payment on a platter.

No Rest For The Weary

After a successful missionary journey, the Twelve return to their master. Jesus attempts to provide a respite for them, allowing time and space to take a break and share their stories. Unfortunately, they are constantly surrounded by crowds of people. With sympathy and sorrow, Jesus looks upon the congregation. He perceives them as aimless and defenseless—like helpless sheep. Firstly he nourishes their hearts and minds with his words; then miraculously produces bread and fish to satisfy their hunger. Starting off with just five loaves of bread and two fish, it was sufficient for every person present – not only that, but there were still twelve baskets full left over.

A Ghost!

Jesus sent the disciples on their way back to Bethsaida; He ascended a hill for some solitary prayer. Much like Moses providing manna in the wilderness to feed Israel, Christ offered sustenance to these hungry crowds - yet would they be susceptible to following Him only for food now that healing was not an incentive?

He spotted the boat on the lake below from the hilltop, making no progress due to severe winds. So, Jesus journeyed down and walked across its surface. Jesus may have been seeking a demonstration of faith from the disciples as he was about to pass by, yet their only response was terror. Jesus spoke to them and told them not to be afraid. He boarded the boat and calmed the storm. When Jesus arrived on the shore, many people were waiting for him to heal their illnesses. Just like the woman with bleeding had faith that healing could come from merely touching his garment's edge, these people held onto hope that only He could make them whole again.





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