Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE
DAY OF THE
APPEARANCE TO THE
ACCOUNT OF THE
The Resurrection Announced to the Women
1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn--after the Sabbath,
as it grew toward daylight.
toward the first day of the week--Luke
has it, "very early in the morning"--properly, "at the first appearance
of daybreak"; and corresponding with this, John
says, "when it was yet dark." See on
Not an hour, it would seem, was lost by those dear lovers of the Lord
came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary--"the mother of James
and Joses" (see on
to see the sepulchre--with a view to the anointing of the body,
for which they had made all their preparations. (See on
Mr 16:1, 2).
And, behold, there was--that is, there had been, before the arrival
of the women.
a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven,
&c.--And this was the state of things when the women drew near. Some
judicious critics think all this was transacted while the women were
approaching; but the view we have given, which is the prevalent one,
seems the more natural. All this august preparation--recorded by Matthew
alone--bespoke the grandeur of the exit which was to follow. The angel
sat upon the huge stone, to overawe, with the lightning-luster that
darted from him, the Roman guard, and do honor to his rising Lord.
3. His countenance--appearance.
was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow--the one expressing
the glory, the other the purity of the celestial abode from which
4. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead
men--Is the sepulchre "sure" now, O ye chief priests? He that
sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at you.
5. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not
ye--The "ye" here is emphatic, to contrast their case with that of
the guards. "Let those puny creatures, sent to keep the Living One
among the dead, for fear of Me shake and become as dead men
but ye that have come hither on another errand, fear not ye."
for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified--Jesus the
6. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said--See on
see the place where the Lord lay--Charming invitation! "Come,
see the spot where the Lord of glory lay: now it is an empty grave: He
lies not here, but He lay there. Come, feast your eyes on it!"
But see on
7. And go quickly, and tell his disciples--For a precious
addition to this, see on
that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into
Galilee--to which those women belonged
there shall ye see him--This must refer to those more public
manifestations of Himself to large numbers of disciples at once, which
He vouchsafed only in Galilee; for individually He was seen of some of
those very women almost immediately after this
(Mt 28:9, 10).
Lo, I have told you--Behold, ye have this word from the world of light!
8. And they departed quickly--Mark
says "they fled."
from the sepulchre with fear and great joy--How natural this
combination of feelings! See on a similar statement of
and did run to bring his disciples word--"Neither said they anything
to any man [by the way]; for they were afraid"
Appearance to the Women
(Mt 28:9, 10).
This appearance is recorded only by Matthew.
9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them,
saying, All hail!--the usual salute, but from the lips of Jesus
bearing a higher signification.
And they came and held him by the feet--How truly womanly!
10. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid--What dear associations
would these familiar words--now uttered in a higher style, but by the
same Lips--bring rushing back to their recollection!
go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they
see me--The brethren here meant must have been His brethren after the
for His brethren in the higher sense (see on
had several meetings with Him at Jerusalem before He went to
Galilee, which they would have missed if they had been the persons
ordered to Galilee to meet Him.
The Guards Bribed
The whole of this important portion is peculiar to Matthew.
11. Now when they were going--while the women were on their way to
deliver to His brethren the message of their risen Lord.
some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests
all the things that were done--Simple, unsophisticated soldiers! How
could ye imagine that such a tale as ye had to tell would not at once
commend itself to your scared employers? Had they doubted this for a
moment, would they have ventured to go near them, knowing it was death
to a Roman soldier to be proved asleep when on guard? and of course that
was the only other explanation of the case.
12. And when they were assembled with the elders--But Joseph at least
was absent: Gamaliel probably also; and perhaps others.
and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers--It
would need a good deal; but the whole case of the Jewish authorities was
now at stake. With what contempt must these soldiers have regarded the
13. Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away
while we slept--which, as we have observed, was a capital offense for
soldiers on guard.
14. And if this come to the governor's ears--rather, "If this come
before the governor"; that is, not in the way of mere report, but for
we will persuade him, and secure you--The "we" and the "you" are
emphatic here--"we shall [take care to] persuade him and keep you from
trouble," or "save you harmless." The grammatical form of this clause
implies that the thing supposed was expected to happen. The meaning
then is, "If this come before the governor--as it likely will--we shall
see to it that," &c. The "persuasion" of Pilate meant, doubtless,
quieting him by a bribe, which we know otherwise he was by no means
above taking (like Felix afterwards,
15. So they took the money, and did as they were taught--thus
consenting to brand themselves with infamy.
and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day--to
the date of the publication of this Gospel. The wonder is that so clumsy
and incredible a story lasted so long. But those who are resolved
not to come to the light will catch at straws.
flourished about A.D. 170,
says, in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, that the Jews
dispersed the story by means of special messengers sent to every
MEETS WITH THE
DISCIPLES ON A
16. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee--but certainly
not before the second week after the resurrection, and probably somewhat
into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them--It should have been
rendered "the mountain," meaning some certain mountain which He had
named to them--probably the night before He suffered, when He said,
"After I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee"
What it was can only be conjectured; but of the two between which
opinions are divided--the Mount of the Beatitudes or Mount Tabor--the
former is much the more probable, from its nearness to the Sea of
Tiberias, where last before this the Narrative tells us that He met and
dined with seven of them.
&c.). That the interview here recorded was the same as that referred to
in one place only--
--when "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the
greater part remained unto that day, though some were fallen asleep,"
is now the opinion of the ablest students of the evangelical history.
Nothing can account for such a number as five hundred assembling at one
spot but the expectation of some promised manifestation of their risen
Lord: and the promise before His resurrection, twice repeated after it,
best explains this immense gathering.
17. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some
doubted--certainly none of "the Eleven," after what took place at previous
interviews in Jerusalem. But if the five hundred were now present, we
may well believe this of some of them.
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations--rather, "make disciples
of all nations"; for "teaching," in the more usual sense of that word,
comes in afterwards, and is expressed by a different term.
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost--It should be, "into the name"; as in
"And were all baptized unto (or rather 'into') Moses"; and
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ."
20. Teaching them--This is teaching in the more usual sense of the
term; or instructing the converted and baptized disciples.
to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I--The
"I" here is emphatic. It is enough that I
am with you alway--"all the days"; that is, till making converts,
baptizing, and building them up by Christian instruction, shall be no
even unto the end of the world. Amen--This glorious Commission embraces
two primary departments, the Missionary and the Pastoral, with
two sublime and comprehensive Encouragements to undertake and go
through with them.
First, The MISSIONARY department
"Go, make disciples of all nations." In the corresponding passage of
it is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every
creature." The only difference is, that in this passage the
sphere, in its world-wide compass and its universality of
objects, is more fully and definitely expressed; while in the
former the great aim and certain result is delightfully
expressed in the command to "make disciples of all nations." "Go,
conquer the world for Me; carry the glad tidings into all lands and to
every ear, and deem not this work at an end till all nations shall have
embraced the Gospel and enrolled themselves My disciples." Now, Was all
this meant to be done by the Eleven men nearest to Him of the multitude
then crowding around the risen Redeemer? Impossible. Was it to be done
even in their lifetime? Surely not. In that little band Jesus virtually
addressed Himself to all who, in every age, should take up from them
the same work. Before the eyes of the Church's risen Head were spread
out, in those Eleven men, all His servants of every age; and one and
all of them received His commission at that moment. Well, what next?
Set the seal of visible discipleship upon the converts, by "baptizing
them into the name," that is, into the whole fulness of the grace "of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," as belonging to
them who believe. (See on
This done, the Missionary department of your work, which in its own
nature is temporary, must merge in another, which is permanent. This
Second, The PASTORAL department
"Teach them"--teach these baptized members of the Church visible--"to
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," My apostles,
during the three years ye have been with Me.
What must have been the feelings which such a Commission awakened?
"WE who have scarce conquered our own
misgivings--we, fishermen of Galilee, with no letters, no means, no
influence over the humblest creature, conquer the world for Thee, Lord?
Nay, Lord, do not mock us." "I mock you not, nor send you a warfare on
your own charges. For"--Here we are brought to
Third, The ENCOURAGEMENTS to undertake and go through with this work.
These are two; one in the van, the other in the rear of the Commission
First Encouragement: "All power in heaven"--the whole power of
Heaven's love and wisdom and strength, "and all power in earth"--power
over all persons, all passions, all principles, all movements--to bend
them to this one high object, the evangelization of the world: All this
"is given unto Me." as the risen Lord of all, to be
by Me placed at your command--"Go ye therefore." But there remains a
Second Encouragement: "And lo! I am with you all the days"--not only
to perpetuity, but without one day's interruption, "even to the end of
the world," The "Amen" is of doubtful genuineness in this place. If,
however, it belongs to the text, it is the Evangelist's own closing