Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Matthew 14:13-33 Commentary
by Richard Swanson
What do feeding a hungry crowd and walking on the raging sea have to do with each other?
How do these odd little scenes fit into Matthew’s story as it flows from the murder of John the Baptist to the Transfiguration, with stops to consider tradition and faithfulness and threat along the way?
And how does this complex of scenes fit into the story that Matthew is telling? Early in the story, Matthew narrates the Slaughter of the Innocents. Herod was hunting the king of the Jews. Pilate announces the completion of the hunt with his nailed placard: “This is the King of the Jews.” The murder of John fits well in this flow. He is not identified in Matthew’s story as one of the babies of Bethlehem, nor as a relative of Jesus (unlike in Luke). He is killed because he is an observant Jew, not submissive to the dominant power.
What role do feeding and walking play in a story about the attempt to murder Jewish faithfulness? Customary interpretation proposes links with feeding stories in Exodus or in the careers of Elijah and Elisha, and the water-walking scene ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL163: Feeding 5,000
February 08, 2015
Narrative Lectionary podcast on readings for Feb. 8, 2015: Matthew 14:13-33 (Accompanying text: Psalm 95:1-5).