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1. The Resurrection
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
When the Sabbath was over, on the first day of the week as it was beginning to get light, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James) and also Salome (not mentioned here) came to look at the tomb (Mark 16:1).
28:2 Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it.
As they approached the tomb there was a severe earthquake as an angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He rolled the stone away from the mouth of the tomb and sat on it.
28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The angel shone as bright as lightning and his clothes were as white as snow.
28:4 The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him.
On seeing the angel, the soldiers who had been placed there to guard the tomb shook with fear and became like paralyzed men, unable to speak or move, although they could still hear and see!
28:5-6 But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying.
The angel told the women not to fear; for he knew that they had come looking for Jesus, who had been crucified. He was no longer in the tomb, for he had been raised from the dead, just as he said he would be. The angel invited the women to observe the place where Jesus had been lying, to prove that he was no longer there. Jesus had already risen from the dead before the angel rolled the stone away.
28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there.' Listen, I have told you!"
The women, having entered the tomb and seen that Jesus was not there, are told to go quickly and tell Jesus’ disciples the good news. Jesus had risen from the dead and was already on his way to Galilee to meet them (Matt. 26:32).
28:8 So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
They quickly left the tomb, filled with fear and yet a great joy, running to tell the disciples what the angel had commanded them.
28:9 But Jesus met them, saying, "Greetings!" They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him.
However before they reached their destination they received another sudden surprise: Jesus met them! His greeting, “all hail” is defined by Thayer as meaning to rejoice and be glad. They immediately recognized him and falling before him, they held on to his feet and worshipped him.
28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there."
Although they most probably would have liked to stay with him, he tells them to go and tell “my brothers” to go to Galilee where they would see him. In Matthew 12:15 Jesus said “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister”. In John 15:14 he says “you are my friends if you do whatever I command you”, but this is the first time that Jesus called his disciples brothers. Through the resurrection, this is the relationship that all believers have with him (Heb. 2:11).
A Conspiracy to Conceal the Truth
28:11 While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened.
While the women were on their way to the disciples some of the guard went into Jerusalem and told the chief priests everything that happened. This is proof that although they were paralyzed with fear they heard and saw everything that went on. These soldiers knew that when the women arrived at the tomb the stone was still in its place and the seals had not been broken. They saw the angel roll the stone away and reveal that Jesus was not inside!
28:12-13 After they had assembled with the elders and formed a plan, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came at night and stole his body while we were asleep.'
The chief priests called the elders together and formulated a plan to conceal the truth. They paid a large sum of money to the soldiers and told them that they were to say that Jesus’ disciples came during the night and stole the body away while they were asleep. It would have been extremely unlikely that the disciples, being Jews, would have come to the tomb during the Sabbath and it is clearly recorded that as soon as the Sabbath was over the women came. These Roman soldiers knew what the penalty would have been if they had all been sleeping on duty; but if they had all been asleep how could they have known that the disciples stole the body?
28:14 If this matter is heard before the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”
The chief priests and elders were confident that they could easily satisfy Pilate with the story and save the soldiers from being punished. Why were they so confident? They knew very well that Pilate had washed his hands of the whole affair. He would not be the least interested in what had happened to Jesus’ body.
28:15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story is told among the Jews to this day.
The soldiers were convinced, took the money and did as they were instructed. At the time Matthew was writing, this story was still being told among the Jews.
The Great Commission
28:16 So the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain Jesus had designated.
Matthew omitted many of the appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ that are recorded in the other gospels, going straight to the main Galilee appearance.
28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted.
Gill says they worshiped him “with divine adoration, as the eternal Son of God; for so he was now declared to be by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). The next part of the verse is difficult to understand “but some doubted”. The reference would include more than just Thomas, as it says “some” not one. As all the disciples present had already seen Jesus, including Thomas, after the resurrection, so it is hard to believe that any of them at this meeting with Jesus in Galilee had any doubts to the fact that he was alive. Young’s Literal Translation has “but some wavered” which might imply that although none of the eleven disciples had any further doubts that Jesus had risen from the dead, some hesitated to completely surrender themselves to him. Later events demonstrate that this holding back was only short lived.
28:18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Jesus approached them and declared that all authority, power, right and strength had been given to him in heaven and on earth (Eph. 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:22; 1 Cor. 15:25-28).
28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
The so-called great commission that Jesus gave to his disciples is relevant to all believers in every age and will be until he comes again. Go to all the people in every nation and make disciples; that is, proclaim the gospel message of salvation. It is a complete message that must be made known, that Jesus died for our sins and was buried and rose again (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Those who believe should be baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
28:20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
New disciples are to be taught the word of God and to obey everything that the Lord Jesus Christ has commanded. As we fulfil this commission, Jesus promises that there will never be a time that he will not be with us, until he comes again and we shall be forever with him. Amen.
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This Bible study is taken from Faithbuilders: The Gospel of Matthew