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Matthew Twenty Eight

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

end of the sabbath. “In the end of the sabbath” means “after the sabbath.” In the Jewish reckoning, the day began at sundown, so the first day of the week was already well along when “it began to dawn.”

Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

angel of the Lord. Angels were present at the Lord's birth, strengthened Him in the wilderness temptation and the passion in Gethsemane, and rolled away the stone at His resurrection (not to release Him from the tomb but to allow the disciples to see that it was empty). However, He was all alone on the cross!

Matthew 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

Matthew 28:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

Matthew 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

as he said. The angel would gently remind both the women and the disciples that Jesus had repeatedly promised He would rise from the dead in the third day! Why, then, were they coming to embalm Him in the tomb?

Matthew 28:7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Matthew 28:8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Jesus met them. Each of the four gospel writers has a different account of the resurrection events, written from his own knowledge and perspective. While they may appear superficially to be somewhat contradictory, their very differences prove the absence of collusion. Furthermore, when compared carefully, the contradictions vanish, and their combined testimony becomes an impregnable verification of the reality of Christ's bodily resurrection.

Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Matthew 28:11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

Matthew 28:12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,

Matthew 28:13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

Matthew 28:14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

Matthew 28:15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

reported among the Jews. The willfulness of unbelief is set forth in its stark ugliness here. The soldiers on watch knew beyond doubt that Christ was risen. They had felt the great earthquake and seen the fearful angel break the seal and roll away the stone (Matthew 28:2-4). They knew the body was gone, and they also knew the disciples could not have stolen the body. The chief priests knew all this too, and they had been so concerned about the possibility of resurrection that they had persuaded the governor to seal the tomb and set the guard. The soldiers were entrusted with the tomb's security under penalty of death, but they were helpless against the mighty angel.

Despite all this, the greed of the soldiers and the hatred of the priests were so great that they were willing to spread the absurd lie that the disciples had stolen the body. Furthermore, the Jews as a whole were apparently quite willing to believe the impossible story. The whole city knew Jesus had been crucified and buried; they also knew the tomb was empty. If they were to reject the truth of the resurrection, they seemed to have no other choice except to say the body was stolen—despite evidence to the contrary, such as the massive stone and the Roman seal and the heavy guard. As time went on, however, and the disciples vindicated their honesty by their willingness to suffer persecution and even death for their testimony, it became absolutely certain that this story was nothing but a desperate fabrication.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

Matthew 28:17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

All power. This constitutes a clear claim to omnipotence, and therefore to deity. Jesus Christ was omnipotent Creator in the beginning (John 1:1-3), but He had laid aside His deity to become man and die for the sin of the world (Philippians 2:5-8). Now, having become Redeemer as well as Creator, He has again assumed all the attributes of God, as well as those of glorified man.

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Go ye therefore. “Go ye” should actually read “As ye go.” Jesus had already, by this time, told His disciples He was sending them into all the world (John 20:21). Now He was saying that, as they go, they were to go making disciples, then baptizing them, then teaching them all they had been taught by Christ.

Holy Ghost. The Lord here explicitly teaches the doctrine of the Trinity—one name, yet three names. The three Persons are each equally and fully God, and always presented in the logical order of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Yet there is only one God. See also the notes on Romans 1:20.

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

observe all things. Therefore, how can any one profess Christ while rejecting any of His teachings, (e.g., Biblical inerrancy, literal Creation, global Flood)?

with you alway. Christ has ascended back to heaven, but He is present in every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17).