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Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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 Chapter 27
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Verse 1. In the end of the sabbath. The word end here means the same as after the sabbath; i.e., after the sabbath was fully completed, or finished, and may be expressed in this manner:" In the night following the sabbath, for the sabbath closed at sunset, as it began to dawn," etc.

As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. The word dawn is not of necessity in the original. The word there properly means, as the first day approached, or drew on, without specifying the precise time. Mark says, Mark 16:1,2, that it was after "the sabbath was past, and very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun;" i.e., not that the sun was risen, but that it was about to rise, or at the early break of day. Luke says, Luke 24:1 that it was very early; in the Greek, deep twilight, or when there was scarcely any light. John (John 20:1) says, it was "early, when it was yet dark;" that is, it was not yet full daylight, or the sun had not yet risen. The time when they came, therefore, was at the break of day, when the sun was about to rise, but while it was yet so dark as to render objects obscure, or not distinctly visible.

The first day of the week. The day which is observed by Christians as the Sabbath. The Jews observed the seventh day of the week, or our Saturday. During that day our Saviour was in the grave. As he rose on the morning of the first day, it has always been observed, in commemoration of so glorious an event.

Came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. From Mary Magdalene Christ had cast out seven devils. Grateful for his great mercy, she was one of his firmest and most faithful followers, and was first at the sepulchre, and was first permitted to see her risen Lord. The other Mary was not the mother of Jesus, but the mother of James and Joses, Mark 16:1. Mark says that Salome attended them. Salome was the wife of Zebedee, and the mother of James and John. From Luke, (Luke 24:10,) it appears that Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, (Luke 8:3,) was with them. These four women, Mark says, having brought sweet spices, came to anoint him. They had prepared a part of them on the evening before the Sabbath, Luke 23:56. They now completed the preparation, and bought more: or it may be that it means merely that having bought sweet spices, without specifying the time when, they came now to embalm him. John mentions only Mary Magdalene. He does this probably because his object was to give a particular account of her interview with the risen Saviour. There is no contradiction among the evangelists; for, while one mentions only the names of a part only who were there, he does not deny that others were present also. It is an old maxim, that "he who mentions a few, does not deny that there are more."

To see the sepulchre. To see whether it was as is had been left on the evening when he was laid there. To see if the stone was still there, by which they would know that he had not been removed. Mark and Luke say that the design of their coming was to anoint him with the sweet spices which they had prepared. Matthew does not mention that, but he does not deny that that was the ultimate design of their coming. It is not improbable that they might have known the manner in which he was buried, with a large quantity of myrrh and aloes. But that was done in haste; it was done by depositing the myrrh and aloes, without mixture or preparation, in the grave-clothes. They came, that they might embalm his body more deliberately, or at least that they might anoint the bandages, and complete the work of embalming.

{c} "In the end" Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1
{d} "Mary Magdalene" Matthew 27:56

Verse 2. There was a great earthquake. Rather, there had been. It does not mean that this was while they were there, or while they were going, but that there had been so violent a commotion as to remove the stone. The word here rendered earthquake does not of necessity mean that the convulsion extended to the earth, but only that there had been such a concussion as to remove the stone.

And sat upon it. Sat upon it when the keepers saw him. It is not said that he was sitting when he appeared to the women: from Luke it would rather appear that he was standing.

{1} "there was" or "there had been"

Verse 3. His countenance. In our language, the word countenance refers to the face only. In the original, it refers to his whole person. His general aspect, or the appearance of the angel himself, was, etc.

Like lightning. Peculiarly bright and shining.

His raiment white as snow. Celestial beings are usually represented as clothed in white, Acts 1:10; Daniel 7:9; Revelation 3:4; 6; 4:4; 7:13; 14. White, among the Jews, was the symbol of purity, or innocence.

{e} "countenance" Psalms 104:4; Ezekiel 1:4-14; Daniel 10:6; Revelation 1:14-15

Verse 4. The keepers did shake. It was night. The appearance was sudden and unexpected, and to them terrific. The stone was probably suddenly removed. At the noise, the light, the suddenness of the appearance, they were affrighted.

And became as dead men. Probably by terror they fainted, or were thrown into a swoon. At this time it is probable that the Lord Jesus arose; and hence he was not seen by them when he came forth. At what precise time of the night this was, we are not certainly informed. The narrative, however, leads us to suppose that it was not long before the women came to the sepulchre, or near the break of day.

Verse 5. And the angel answered and said, etc. This was not on the outside of the tomb, for Matthew does not say that the angel appeared to the women then, but only to the keepers. Mark says, "entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment," Mark 16:6. Luke says, (Luke 24:3,4) "They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And as they were much perplexed thereabout behold, two men stood by them in shining garments." Seeing the stone rolled away, and the sepulchre open, they of course anxiously entered into it, to see if the body was there. They did not find it, and there they saw the vision of the angels, who gave them information respecting his resurrection. Infidels have objected that there are three inconsistencies. in the accounts by Mark and Luke:

(1.) That Mark says the angel was sitting, and Luke says they were standing. Answer. The word in Luke does not of necessity mean that they stood, but only that they were present. Or it may be that the one that Mark mentions was sitting when they entered, and then arose.

(2.) It is objected that Luke mentions two, but Mark and Matthew one. Answer. Mark mentions the one who spoke; for it cannot be supposed they both spake the same thing. He does not deny that another was present with him. Luke affirms that there was. This way of speaking is not unfrequent. Thus Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac who was cured at Gadara. Matthew mentions two. In like manner, Mark and Luke speak of only one blind man who was cured at Jericho, while from Matthew it is certain that two were there. The fact that but one is mentioned--where it is not denied that there were others--does not prove that there could not be others.

(3.) Matthew calls this an angel; Mark and Luke a man. Answer. Angels, in the Scriptures, from appearing in the form of men, are often called as they appear, and are mentioned as men. See Genesis 18:2,16,22; 19:1,5.

Fear not ye. The cause of their fear was doubtless the appearance of the angels; or the word fear may be taken in a wider sense, and mean agitated or troubled. Thus, Be not agitated, or troubled, that you do not find the body of the Saviour. I know that ye seek him, and are troubled that he is removed; but you need not fear that he has been stolen. You will see him again in Galilee.

{f} "angel" Hebrews 1:14
{g} "for I know" Psalms 105:3,4

Verse 6. He is risen, as he said. He had often predicted that he would rise, but the disciples did not understand it, and consequently did not expect it, Matthew 16:21; 20:19.

The place where the Lord lay. The place where a body was deposited in a sepulchre was commonly a niche cut in the wall of the sepulchre. The sepulchre was usually large; that of David was more than a hundred feet in length, cut out of solid rock under ground, and separated into various apartments. All round the sides of those apartments were niches for the dead; or they were ranged around the sides, in places cut in the solid rock just large enough to contain the body. In such a place our Lord lay.

{h} "he said" Matthew 27:63

Verse 7. Tell his disciples. Mark adds particularly, tell "Peter." This was a kind message to Peter, who had so recently denied his Lord. It would serve to cheer him in his despondency, and to assure him that his sin had been forgiven; and it shows the tender love and remembrance of Jesus--even for his unfaithful friends.

{i} Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:4
{k} \\Mt 28:16,17\\

Verse 8. And they departed quickly. Joyful at the news, and wishing to impart it to all, they fled to find the disciples, and tell them that the Lord was risen.

With fear and great joy. Fear

(1) at the wonderful scenes which they had witnessed--the stone rolled away, and the presence of an angel;

(2) a confused state of mind, apprehensive, perhaps, that it might not after all be true. The news was too good to be credited at once. Yet they had sufficient belief in it to fill them with great and unexpected joy. Perhaps no language could better express the state of their minds--the mingled awe and rejoicing--than that which is here used.

And did run, etc. They ran to announce what they had seen to the disciples. The city, where the disciples were, was half a mile or more from the place.

Verse 9. And as they went--Jesus met them. This was when they left the sepulchre the second time. Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, when alone, John 20:14. Afterwards he appeared to the other women, as related by Matthew. See the accounts of the resurrection harmonized, at the end of this chapter.

All hail. This is a term of salutation. The word "all" has been supplied by the translators. It is not in the original. The meaning of the world "hail" here, is rejoice; a term of salutation connected with the idea of joy--joy at his resurrection, and at meeting them again.

Held him by the feet. Or threw themselves prostrate before him. This was the usual posture of supplication. See 2 Kings 4:37. It does not mean that they took hold of his feet, but only that they cast themselves down before him.

And worshipped him. See Barnes "Matthew 8:2". In this place the word worship seems to denote the homage due to the Messiah risen from the dead; regarded by them now in a proper light, and entitled to the honour which was due to God, agreeably to John 5:23.

{l} "All hail" John 20:19

Verse 10. Be not afraid. The ancients, when in the presence of a heavenly being--an angel, or one who was supposed to be possessed of Divine power--were commonly struck with great fear, as well as a great sense of their unworthiness. See Luke 5:8; Judges 6:22; 23; 13:21,22. The women were in like manner alarmed when they saw Jesus, believing him now peculiarly to be a Divine Being; seeing him returning from the regions of the dead; and doubtless impressed with a new consciousness that they were unworthy of being in his presence. Jesus comforted them. He was the same Jesus with whom they had been before his death; and they had no reason now to fear him.

Go tell my brethren. There is something exceedingly tender in the appellation here used, "my brethren." Though he was risen from the dead--though about to be exalted to heaven--yet he did not disdain to call his disciples his brethren. This was calculated still farther to silence the fears of the women, and inspire them with confidence.

Into Galilee. Galilee was the northern part of the land. There the Saviour commenced his ministry; and there, away from the noise and confusion of the city, he purposed again to meet them, in retirement and quietness, to satisfy them of his resurrection, and to commission them to go forth and preach the everlasting gospel.

{m} "brethren" Hebrews 2:11

Verse 11. When they were going. Or, when they had gone from the tomb.

Some of the watch. Some of the guard that had been set around the tomb to keep it safe. Probably the leaders, or officers, came to give a true account of what had happened.

Shewed unto the Chief Priests. To Annas and Caiaphas.

Verse 12. And when they were assembled, etc. They deemed the matter of so much importance as to justify the calling together of the great council of the nation. Notwithstanding all their caution, it was plain that the body of Jesus was gone. It was farther plain that the disciples would affirm that he was raised. It was not improbable that Jesus would himself appear, and convince multitudes that he was the Messiah; and that the guilt of putting him to death would, after all their caution and cunning, be charged on them. They had been at great pains to procure his death. They had convinced Pilate that he was dead. They had placed a guard for the express purpose of preventing his being taken. It would be in vain, after this, to pretend that he was not dead; that he was in a swoon; that he died in appearance only. They had shut themselves out from this, which would have been the most plausible plea; and whatever course they might now adopt, they were obliged to proceed on the admission that he had been really dead, and that all proper measures had been taken to prevent his being stolen. They concluded, after consultation, that but one way was left--to bribe the soldiers, to induce them to tell a falsehood, and to attempt to convince the world that Jesus, in spite of themselves, and in the face of all probability, and been really stolen.

Large money. Much money. This was given to bribe them; to induce them to conceal the truth; and to affirm what they knew was false.

Verse 13. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "stole him away" Matthew 26:64

Verse 14. The governor's ears. To Pilate. If it is reported to him that Jesus was stolen while you slept.

We will persuade him. We will convince, or satisfy him, so that he shall not punish you. This they might promise with safety. For,

(1.) they knew from the character of Pilate that he could be easily bribed.

(2.) Pilate, after the feast of the passover, was accustomed to return to Caesarea. He had not been inclined at all to interfere in anything concerning the Saviour, until it was urged upon him by the Jews. He would not be disposed of himself to take any farther trouble about the matter. He would feel that all that could be demanded of him had been done, and would not be disposed farther to interfere, unless the sanhedrim should demand it. This of course they would not do.

Verse 15. This saying is--reported. This account of the disappearance of the body of Jesus from the sepulchre is commonly given.

Until this day. The time when Matthew wrote this gospel, i.e., about thirty years after the resurrection.

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus, of which an account is given in this chapter, is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian religion, and is attested by the strongest evidence that can be adduced in favour of any ancient fact. Let it be considered,

(1.) that he had often foretold his own death and resurrection. See Matthew 12:40; 16:21; 20:19.

(2.) There was no doubt that he was really dead. Of this the Jews, the Romans, and the disciples, were all equally well satisfied.

(3.) Every proper precaution was taken to prevent his removal by stealth. A guard, usually consisting of sixty men, was placed there for the express purpose of keeping him, and the sepulchre was secured by a large stone, and by a seal.

(4.) On the third day the body was missing. In this all were agreed. The high priest did not dare to call that in question. They laboured, therefore, to account for it. The disciples affirmed that he was alive. The Jews hired the Roman soldiers to affirm that he was stolen while they slept, and succeeded in making many of the people believe it. This account of the Jews is attended with the following difficulties and absurdities:

(1.) The Roman guard was composed usually of sixty men, and they were stationed there for the express purpose of guarding the body of Jesus.

(2.) The punishment of sleeping while on guard in the Roman army was death, and it is perfectly incredible that they should expose themselves in this manner to death.

(3.) The disciples were few in number, unarmed, weak, and timid. They had just fled before those who took Jesus in the garden, and how can it be believed that in so short a time they would dare to attempt to take away from a Roman guard of armed men what they were expressly set to defend ?

(4.) How could the disciples presume that they would find them asleep; or, if they should, how was it possible to remove the stone and the body, without awaking one of their number?

(5.) The regularity and order of the grave-clothes (John 20:6,7) show that the body had not been stolen. When men rob graves of the bodies of the dead, they do not wait coolly to fold up the grave-clothes, and lay them carefully by themselves.

(6.) If the soldiers were asleep, how did they, or how could they know that the disciples stole the body away? If they were awake, why did they suffer it ? The whole account, therefore, was intrinsically absurd. On the other hand, the account given by the disciples was perfectly natural.

(1.) They account for the reason why the soldiers did not see the Saviour when he rose. Terrified at the vision of an angel, they became as dead men.

(2.) They affirmed that they saw him. All the apostles affirmed this, and many others.

(3.) They affirmed it in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Jews, before the high priest and the people. See the Acts of the Apostles. If the Jews really believed the account which they themselves had given, why did they not apprehend the apostles, and prove them guilty of the theft, and of falsehood: things which they never attempted, and which show, therefore, that they did not credit their own report.

(4.) in regard to the Saviour, they could not be deceived. They had been with him three years. They knew him as a friend. They again ate and drank with him; they put their fingers into his hands and side; they conversed with him; they were with him forty days. There were enough of them to bear witness. Law commonly requires not more than one or two competent witnesses; but here were twelve plain, honest men, who affirmed in all places, and at all times, that they had seen him. Can it be possible that they could be deceived? Then all faith in testimony must be given up.

(5.) They gave every possible evidence of their sincerity. They were persecuted, ridiculed, scourged, and put to death for affirming this. Yet not one of them ever ex- pressed the least doubt of its truth. They bore everything rather than to deny that they had seen him. They had no motive in doing this, but the love of truth. They obtained no wealth by it; no honour; no pleasure. They gave themselves up to great and unparalleled sufferings: going, from land to land; crossing almost every sea; and enduring the dangers, toils, and privations of almost every clime, for the simple object of affirming everywhere that a Saviour died and rose. If they knew this was an imposition--and if it had been, they would have known it--in what way is this remarkable conduct to be accounted for? Do men conduct in this way for naught? and especially in a plain case, where all that can be required is the testimony of the senses?

(6.) The world believed them. Three thousand of the Jews themselves believed in the risen Saviour, on the day of Pentecost, but fifty days after his resurrection, Acts 2:41. Multitudes of other Jews believed during the lives of the apostles. Thousands of Gentiles believed also, and in three hundred years the belief that Jesus rose had spread over and changed the whole Roman empire. Had the apostles been deceivers, that was the age in which they could most easily have been detected. Yet that was the age when converts were most rapidly multiplied, and God affixed his seal to their testimony that it was true.

Verse 16. Then the eleven disciples. Judas was dead, leaving but eleven of the original number of the apostles.

Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. This appointment is recorded in Matthew 26:32. On what particular mountain this was is not known. It is probable that Jesus, when he made the appointment, specified the place, which has been omitted by the evangelists. Matthew has omitted many appearances which Jesus made to his disciples, which have been recorded by Luke, John, and Paul. See the harmony of the resurrection at the end of the chapter.

{o} "Then the eleven" Matthew 26:32

Verse 17. They worshipped him. Paid him honour as the Messiah.

But some doubted. As, for example, Thomas, (John 20:25.) The disciples had not expected his resurrection; they were therefore slow to believe. The mention of their doubting shows that they were honest men--that they were not easily imposed on--that they had not previously agreed to affirm that he had risen--that they were convinced only by the strength of the evidence. Their caution in examining the evidence; their slowness to believe; and their firm conviction after all their doubts, and their willingness to show their conviction, even by their death, is most conclusive proof that they were not deceived in regard to the fact of his resurrection.

{p} "they saw him" Matthew 16:28

Verse 18. All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. The Son of God, as Creator, had an original right to all things, to control them and dispose of them. See John 1:3; Colossians 1:16,17; Hebrews 1:8. But the universe is put under him more particularly as Mediator, that he might redeem his people, that he might gather a church, that he might defend his chosen, that he might subdue all their enemies, and bring them off conquerors, and more than conquerors, Ephesians 1:20-23; 1 Corinthians 15:25-27; John 5:22,23; Philippians 2:6-11. It is in reference to this, doubtless, that he speaks here--power or authority committed to him over all things, that he might redeem, defend, and save the church purchased with his own blood. His mediatorial government extends, therefore, over the material world, over angels, over devils, over wicked men, and over his own people.

{q} "power" Psalms 2:6; 89:19; 110:1-3; Isaiah 9:6,7; Daniel 7:14; Matthew 11:27; Luke 1:32
John 17:2; Romans 14:9; Ephesians 1:20,21; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 11:15

Verse 19. Go ye therefore. Because all power is mine, go. I can defend you. The world is placed under my control. It is redeemed. It is given me in promise by my Father, as the purchase of my death. Though you are weak, yet I am strong. Though you will encounter many troubles and dangers, yet I can defend you. Though you die, yet I live, and the work shall be accomplished.

Teach all nations. The word rendered teach, here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means disciple, or make disciples of, all nations. This was to be done, however, by teaching them, and by administering the rite of baptism. All nations. The gracious commission was the foundation of the authority to go to the Gentiles. The Jews had expected that the offers of life, under the Messiah, would be confined to their own nation. Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go everywhere, and bring the world to the knowledge of himself.

Baptizing them. Applying to them water, as an emblem of the purifying influences of the Christian religion through the Holy Spirit, and solemnly devoting them to God.

In the name, etc. This phrase does not mean, here, by the authority of the Father, etc. To be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., is the same as to be baptized unto the Father; as to believe on the name of Christ is the same as to believe on Christ. John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:13. To be baptized unto anyone is publicly to receive and adopt him as a religious teacher or lawgiver; to receive his system of religion. Thus the Jews were baptized "unto Moses" 1 Corinthians 10:2. That is, they received the system that he taught; they acknowledged him as their lawgiver and teacher. So Paul asks, (1 Corinthians 1:13) "Were ye baptized in the name of Paul?" --i.e., Were you devoted to Paul by this rite? Did you bind yourselves to him, and give yourselves away to him, or to God? So to be baptized in the name of the Father, etc., means publicly, by a significant rite, to receive the system of religion, to bind the soul to obey his laws; to be devoted to him; to receive, as the guide and comforter of the life, his system of religion; to obey his laws, and trust to his promises. To be baptized unto the Son, in like manner, is to receive him as the Messiah--our Prophet, Priest, and King; to submit to his laws, and to receive him as the Saviour of the soul. To be baptized unto the Holy Ghost is to receive him publicly as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Guide of the soul. The meaning, then, may be thus expressed: Baptizing them unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by a solemn profession of the only true religion, and by a solemn devotion to the service of the sacred Trinity.

The union of these three names in the form of baptism proves that the Son and Holy Ghost are equal with the Father. Nothing would be more absurd or blasphemous than to unite the name of a creature --a man or an angel--with the name of the ever-living God, in this solemn rite. If Jesus was a mere man or an angel, as is held by many who deny his Divinity; and if the Holy Ghost was a mere attribute of God; then it would have been the height of absurdity to use a form like this, or to direct the apostles to baptize men unto them. How absurd would be the direction--nay, now blasphemous to have said, "Baptize them unto God, and unto Paul, and unto the wisdom or power of God!" Can we believe that our Saviour would have given a direction so absurd as this? Yet, unless he himself was Divine, and the Holy Spirit was Divine, Jesus gave a direction substantially the same as this. The form of baptism, therefore, has been always understood as an irrefragable argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, or that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal with the Father.

{r} "Go ye" Mark 16:15
{1} "teach" or, "make disciples", or "Christians" of all nations
{s} "all nations" Isaiah 52:10; Romans 10:18

Verse 20. Lo, I am with you. That is, by my Spirit, my providence, my attending counsel and guidance. I will strengthen, assist, and guide you. This also proves that Christ is Divine. If a mere man, or a creature of the highest order, how could he promise to be with his disciples always--or at all? They would be scattered far and wide. His disciples would greatly increase. If he was with them always, he was God; for no finite creature could thus be present with many men scattered in different parts of the world.

Unto the end of the world. The word rendered world, here, sometimes means age or state; and by some it has been supposed to mean, I will be with you until the end of this age, or during the continuance of the Jewish state, to the destruction of Jerusalem. But as the presence of Christ was no less necessary after that than before, there seems to be no propriety in limiting the promise to his own age. It may, therefore, be considered as a gracious promise to aid, strengthen, guide, and defend all his disciples, but more especially his ministers, to the end of time.

{t} "Teaching" Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:2
{u} "I am with" Matthew 18:20; Revelation 1:18




As there has been much difficulty felt in reconciling the accounts of the different evangelists respecting the resurrection of Christ, and as infidels have maintained that they are utterly irreconcilable, it may be proper, in closing the Notes on Matthew, to give these accounts at one view. One thing should always be borne in mind by all who read the gospels, viz.: that the sacred narrative of an event is what it is declared to be by ALL the evangelists. That a thing is omitted by one does not prove that another is false because he has declared it; for the very object of the different gospels was to give the testimony of independent witnesses to the great facts of the life and death of Jesus. Nor does it prove that there is a contradiction because one relates facts in a different order from another; for neither of them professes to relate facts in the precise order in which they occurred. The object was to relate the facts themselves. With these principles in view, which are conceded to profane historians always, let us look at the accounts which are presented in the sacred narrative respecting the resurrection, appearance, and ascension of Christ.

1. Jesus was laid in the tomb on Friday evening, having been wrapped in linen with myrrh and aloes, in a hurried manner, John 19:39,40. The women, not apprized of that, or desiring to testify their regard farther, prepared spices on the same evening to embalm him, Luke 23:56. As it was too late that night to complete the preparation, they deferred it till the first day of the week, resting on the sabbath, Luke 23:56.

2. On the first day of the week, early, the women completed their preparation--purchased more spices, and properly mixed them to make an unguent to anoint the bandages in which the body was rolled, Mark 16:1. Or this may refer to the same purchase as is mentioned by Luke. They had bought them--i.e., on Friday evening.

3. They came to the sepulchre just as the day began to dawn, or just as the light appeared in the east, yet so dark as to render objects indistinct. It was "in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week," Matthew 28:1. "Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun;" or as the sun was about to rise, Mark 16:2. "Very early in the morning," Luke 24:1. "Early, when it was yet dark," John 20:1.

4. The persons who came were Mary Magdalene, (Matthew 28:1; John 20:1); Mary, the mother of James and John, (Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:10; Mark 15:40); Salome, the wife of Zebedee, and mother of James and John, (compare Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, (compare Luke 24:10; 8:3) and certain others not specified, (Luke 24:1,10.)

5. The object of their coming:

(1.) To see the sepulchre, Matthew 28:1.

(2.) To embalm him, or to finish embalming him, Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1.

6. While on the way, they inquired who should roll away the stone for them, that they might have access to the body of Jesus, Mark 16:3.

7. When they arrived, they found there had been an earthquake, or shaking of the tomb, so that the stone was rolled away, Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:4.

8. The angel, who rolled the stone away, had sat down on it, and appeared to the keepers, and frightened them; though he did not appear in this place to the women, but only to the keepers, Matthew 28:2-4. At that time probably our Saviour had risen--how long before the women came there, is not known, and cannot be ascertained.

9. When they came there, Mary Magdalene, greatly agitated with the appearance, and probably supposing that the body had been stolen, left the other women, and ran to the city, at the distance of half a mile, to inform the disciples, John 20:2.

10. While Mary was gone, the others probably looked round the garden in search of the body, and then came and examined the sepulchre to see if it was not there. The tomb was large, and they entered into it. There the angel spake unto them, Matthew 28:5. "They saw a young man"--i. e. an angel in the appearance of a young martin,, sitting on the right side," Mark 16:5. When they entered he was sitting; as they entered he rose and stood, Luke 24:4. Luke adds that there was another with him, Luke 24:4; this other one was not seen when they entered into the sepulchre, at the time mentioned by Mark; but was seen when they had fully entered in, as mentioned by Luke.

11. The angel charged them to go and tell the disciples and Peter, (Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:7) and to assure them that he would see them in Galilee. The angel also reminded them of what Jesus had said when they were in Galilee, Luke 24:6,7.

12. They went immediately towards the city, yet taking a different way from the one Mary had taken, or going in such a way that they did not meet her when she was returning from the city with Peter and John, Matthew 28:8; Mark 16:8. "Neither said they anything to any man," Luke 24:9,10. In Luke 24:10, it is said that it was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, that told these things to the disciples. Not that Luke affirms that they were together when they told them, but that the information was given by them, though perhaps at different times.

13. While they were gone, Mary Magdalene returned to the sepulchre, following Peter and John, who came running, John 20:2-9. They examined the sepulchre, and found that the body was really gone; but as yet they did not know the reason, not having seen the other women to whom the angel had told the cause, and Mary Magdalene having left the women before the angel had spoken to them. As yet, therefore, she was ignorant of the reason of his removal.

14. Peter and John then left the sepulchre, returned home, and left Mary alone, John 20:10.

15. While Mary was there alone, she looked into the sepulchre, and saw two angels, probably the same that had appeared to the other women, John 20:11-13.

16. Jesus appeared to Mary while she was alone at the sepulchre, John 20:14-18. Thus, according to Mark, (Mark 16:9,); he appeared to Mary Magdalene "first."

17. Mary then went to tell the disciples that she had seen him, but they did not fully believe her, John 20:18; Mark 16:10,11.

18. Afterwards Jesus appeared to the other women, Matthew 28:9. "As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail." This would seem, in Matthew, to be immediately after they left the sepulchre the first time. But many critics observe, that the words "to tell his disciples" are wanting in many manuscripts, and of doubtful authority. It may be farther said, that the words "as they were going" might have been rendered, "after they were gone." They do not imply, of necessity, that the appearance took place immediately, but only after they were gone, without specifying the time. Probably it was not long after he had appeared to Mary Magdalene. They would probably return to the garden after they had informed the disciples, and linger around there that they might ascertain what had become of him, or learn whether he had been seen by any one. It was then, probably after they had been away and returned, and after he had been seen by Mary, that they saw him.


1. To Mary Magdalene, John 20:14; Mark 16:9. 2. To the other women, Matthew 28:9. 3. To Peter, 1 Corinthians 15:5; Luke 24:34. 4. To two disciples as they were going to Emmaus, Mark 16:12. Luke 24:13-32. 5. The same day at evening, to the apostles, in the absence of Thomas, 1 Corinthians 15:5; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36; John 20:19,24. 6. To the apostles when Thomas was present, John 20:24-29. 7. In Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, to Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, and John, and two others, John 21:1-14. This is said to be the third time that he showed himself to the disciples--i.e., to the apostles--when they were assembled together, John 21:14. 8. To the disciples on a mountain in Galilee, Matthew 28:16. 9. To more than five hundred brethren at once, 1 Corinthians 15:6. 10. To James, one of the apostles, 1 Corinthians 15:7. 11. To all the apostles assembled together, 1 Corinthians 15:7. He was seen by them forty days after he rose--probably conversing with them familiarly. 12. To the apostles at his ascension, Luke 24:50,51; Acts 1:9,10. 13. To Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:8; Acts 9:3,4,5; 22:6-10.


1. It was forty days after his resurrection, Acts 1:3. 2. He ascended from the Mount of Olives, near Bethany, Luke 24:50; Acts 1:12 3. It was in the presence of all the apostles, Luke 24:50 Acts 1:9,10 4. He was received into a cloud, and ascended to heaven, Acts 1:9,11; Luke 24:51; Ephesians 1:20-22.

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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 28". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


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