SUMMARY.--The Women at the Sepulcher.
The Message of the Angel.
The Risen Lord.
The Report of the Guard.
The Charge of the Priests.
Christ Appears to the Eleven.
The Meeting in Galilee.
The Great Commission.
1. In the end of the sabbath. After the Sabbath in which Jesus
had lain in the tomb.
As it began to dawn. All the gospels mark the precious moment
when the great news first became known. Mark
says they arrived at sunrise Compare
Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-21; 1 Cor. 15:1-20.
The first day of the week. The Lord's day, or Sunday.
Came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. Mary, the mother of
James and Joses.
Late on Friday evening they had watched the sepulcher
Now, after the Sabbath, they came with spices
in the hope that they could anoint the body. These disciples would not
break the Sabbath, even to preserve the body of their beloved Lord. The
Sabbath ended at sunset, so that Jesus had been dead and buried Friday
night, Saturday, and Sunday morning, beginning at the previous sunset,
three days according to Jewish reckoning. See
1 Sam. 30:12, 13;
2 Chron. 10:5, 12.
2. Behold, there was a great earthquake. The
rendered "earthquake" is rendered tempest in
It means a "commotion." It is not needful to decide that there was more
than a local disturbance.
For the angel of the Lord descended. An angel. There is no article.
All the gospels speak of the angelic appearance at the tomb, though
some give details omitted by others.
Rolled back the stone. The commotion, or earthquake, accompanied
the rolling back of the stone. "It was not for him to whom
(John 20:19, 20)
the stone was no hindrance, but for the women and disciples that it was
3. His countenance was like lightning. Was bright like
Matt. 17:2; Rev. 1:14.
And his raiment white as snow. White is the emblem of purity. So
was the Savior's raiment at the Transfiguration,
and the robes of the saints as described in Revelation.
4. The keepers. The Roman soldiers placed to guard the tomb with
5. Ye seek Jesus which was crucified. The angel does not forget
that Jesus is the crucified one, nor do the redeemed in heaven
(Rev. 5:6; 7:9).
6. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. The women had
not seen him rise and had to be informed. They therefore came to the
sepulcher after the resurrection. Christ had risen "as he said." For
the prophecies of a resurrection see
Matt. 16:21; 17:23;
See the place where the Lord lay. The angel does not say "your,"
but the Lord--the Lord of the angels as well as men.
7. Tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. To woman
it was first announced that the birth of the child whose name should be
Jesus, "because he should save his people from their sins,"
near; women were the last of his disciples to linger at the cross or to
watch at the sepulcher; they were the first to see the empty tomb, to
hear the glad news, or to be sent to tell the story of their risen
He goeth before you into Galilee. They are cited to Galilee to
meet the Lord, not that his only appearance would be there, for that
was the seventh, but because, in that country, where the largest number
of his disciples lived, he proposed to reveal himself to the whole body
of saints. There he was seen "by about five hundred brethren at
9. Jesus met them, saying, All hail! This was the second
appearance of the Risen Savior. The appearances were: 1. To Mary
(Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18),
near Jerusalem--Sunday, April 9. 2. To the women returning from the
(Matt. 28:9, 10).
3. To Simon Peter alone
4. To the two disciples going to Emmaus
etc. 5. To the apostles at Jerusalem, excepting Thomas, who was absent
These are all the same day. 6. To the apostles at Jerusalem a second
time, when Thomas was present
(John 20:26, 29)--Sunday,
one week later. 7. At the Sea of Tiberias, when seven disciples were
8. To the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee
9. To above five hundred brethren at once
(1 Cor. 15:6),
in Galilee, near the time of the last. It is possible these two are
identical. 10. To James only
(1 Cor. 15:7).
11. To all the apostles on Mt. Olivet at his ascension
May 18. 12. We may add to these that he was seen by Saul of Tarsus
and by John on Patmos
10. Be not afraid. They had met the Lord while hastening to tell
the story of his resurrection. It is when we are in the path of duty
that we will enjoy his presence and his blessing.
Go tell my brethren. This is the first time he had called the
disciples his brethren.
11. Behold, some of the watch came into the city. The time when
these men went into the city is noted. It was while the women were on
their way to tell the disciples. It is also stated that "some of the
watch" only went to the priests. How numerous the watch was we are not
informed. As the watch had been set by the priests themselves
(Matt. 27:65, 66),
it made its report to them instead of to Pilate.
12. When they were assembled with the elders. The chief priests
and the elders, probably a secret meeting of the leading members of the
Sanhedrim. They had gone too far into crime to stop.
13. His disciples came by night, etc. The improbability of this
story is easily seen: 1. The soldiers would not dare to go to sleep on
guard. It was death. 2. If they had gone to sleep they could testify
nothing of what was done while asleep. Their testimony of what occurred
then would be worthless. 3. The disciples did not expect a resurrection
and would hardly believe it when it occurred. 4. They had shown
themselves cowards and would not have dared to take his body away. 5.
Had they dared, had the Roman soldiers slept, they could not have
removed the stone and carried off the body without detection. It was a
night lighted with the full moon and all the environs of Jerusalem were
crowded with people attending the passover.
14. If this come to the governor's ears, etc. As he had taken so
little interest in the matter as to leave the watch to them it was not
likely it would come to his ears at all, as we know that he was wont to
spend only a few days at Jerusalem and then return to
15. This saying is commonly reported . . . until this day. It
was still current among the Jews when Justin Martyr wrote in the second
century, at least a hundred years after Matthew penned these words.
16. The eleven disciples went away into Galilee. The time when
they went to Galilee is not stated, though we learn from
that they remained in Judea for over a week after the resurrection. Of
the appearances in Galilee we have three accounts: the brief one here,
which describes the official meeting of the Lord with the entire body
of disciples: the one by the sea, described in
John 21, and
the reference by Paul in
1 Cor. 15:6.
The eleven went into Galilee because the Lord had commanded them to do
Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed. The Revision says,
"the mountain," which is correct. The Lord had named the mountain where
he should meet them, and had probably also appointed the time. The
object of the appointment was probably to secure a general meeting of
17. When they saw him they worshipped him. It is also stated of
that they worshiped him, or kneeled at his feet.
Some doubted. This does not, as I suppose, refer to the eleven.
The doubts of all, including the skeptical Thomas, had been silenced
before this. But the story that he had risen seemed so incredible, that
there were those assembled on this occasion who had been doubters.
These, "when they saw him," remained doubters no longer, but "worshiped
18. Spake unto them. To the whole assembly of five hundred
(1 Cor. 15:6).
A commission had been given long before to the twelve apostles
and also to the seventy, but it differed widely from the one now given.
It confined the preaching to the Jews, and announced the kingdom of
heaven as yet in the future. Now the preachers of Christ are sent, by
the authority of the King, to make disciples of all nations. The old
dispensation had ended with the cross. The new one had begun with the
All authority. Henceforth he was the King and Judge of the
nations. The word "is given"
denotes the source from whence he obtained his power, and implies that
it was not inherent in the Son.
indicates that it was given to him after, and in consequence of, his
voluntary humiliation; and
1 Cor. 15:27,
shows that it held in subjection to the Father. It was because the
authority to rule the world had been placed in his hands that he issued
his commands that it should be conquered.
19. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations. There
are several things to be noticed: 1. Go, implies an aggressive
warfare. The Gospel army must move upon the nations. The Lord seeks
universal empire, and sends forth his armies to conquer the world.
Every church and every disciple must understand that they have marching
orders. 2. Not only is every saint commanded to go, or to take
steps to make the gospel go, but the object is stated. They are to make
disciples, or pupils, and scholars of Christ; not great
philosophers, but "babes in Christ Jesus,"
who have entered the school of Christ and are to be taught afterwards.
3. Who are to be made disciples is next indicated. Not the Jews only,
nations. Christ came to be the Savior of the world. His is a
universal religion. In the Great Commission he looks beyond Judea, and
commands that the Gospel shall be offered to all nations. The test of
eighteen centuries shows that Christianity is not local or national,
but is adapted to the needs of all mankind. 4. It is next stated how
disciples shall be made.
Baptizing them. The rite by which those who believe upon him
should be formally enlisted and enrolled in the school of Christ is
baptism. It is not a baptism of the Spirit that he means, because it is
one that those whom he addresses are commanded to administer. He alone
baptized with the Spirit; his apostles and disciples baptized in water,
and it is to this rite that he refers. Hence, when we turn to the
preaching of the apostles under this commission, we find that all
converts were at once baptized
(Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-18).
5. The end or result of baptism is also given. Converts were to be
baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Spirit. It is a positive affirmation of the Old Testament that
where the name of the Lord is recorded there will he meet his
disciples, or there will be his presence. See
The Lord declares that the three names, that of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit, are recorded in baptism. In this rite,
then, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit meet the believer; the Father to
receive him as a child, the Son to welcome him as a brother, and to
cover him with the mantle of his own purity; the Holy Spirit to endow
him with that Spirit by which he can say, "Abba, Father." "Into the
name of" is equivalent to "into the presence of," or "into the Father,
and into the Son, and into the Holy Spirit."
20. Teaching them. The second part of the commission is next
given. The first part commands the making of disciples, and tells how
they must be made. The second part provides for the instruction of the
disciples in righteousness. This is to be done by "teaching them."
To observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. What must
be taught by the faithful Christian teacher is prescribed. It will at
once be seen that this cuts off much that is often taught. We are not
to teach "untaught questions,"
"oppositions of science, so called,"
dogmatic speculations, isms or human creeds. Christ has never
commanded these. On the other hand, we are to teach all things
he has commanded. Some of these things we have recorded in the Gospels;
others we have in the Acts and in the Epistles. They embrace the
various duties of Christian life.
I am with you alway. It was an arduous work he had commanded his
disciples to undertake; a few uninfluential and unlettered laboring men
to undertake the moral and religious conquest of a world that had just
crucified their Master. There was, however, an assurance that they
should be equal to the task, for, (1) All power, or authority, in heaven
and earth was in the hands of their crucified Lord. (2) He now
declares, I am with you always. He who has all power will be present
with them, a help in time of need. He is a mighty, present and helping
Even unto the end of the world. Until the close of the Christian
dispensation, coming of the Lord, and the day of judgment.