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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 28 - Verse 20
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.
HARMONY OF THE ACCOUNTS
RESURRECTION, APPEARANCES, AND ASCENSION
I. THE RESURRECTION. \-
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, Joh 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, Lu 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, Lu 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, Mr 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," Mt 28:1. "Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun;" or as the sun was about to rise, Mr 16:2. "Very early in the morning," Lu 24:1. "Early, when it was yet dark," Joh 20:1.
4. The persons who came were Mary Magdalene, (Mt 28:1; Joh 20:1); Mary, the mother of James and John, (Mt 28:1; Lu 24:10; Mr 15:40); Salome, the wife of Zebedee, and mother of James and John, (compare Mt 27:56; Mr 15:40; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, (compare Lu 24:10; 8:3) and certain others not specified, (Lu 24:1,10.)
5. The object of their coming:
(1.) To see the sepulchre, Mt 28:1.
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, Mr 16:3.
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, Mt 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, Joh 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, Mt 28:5. "They saw a young man"—i. e. an angel in the appearance of a young martin,, sitting on the right side," Mr 16:5. When they entered he was sitting; as they entered he rose and stood, Lu 24:4. Luke adds that there was another with him, Lu 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, (Mt 28:7; Mr 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, Lu 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, Mt 28:8; Mr 16:8. "Neither said they anything to any man," Lu 24:9,10. In Lu 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, Joh 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, Joh 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, Joh 20:11-13.
18. Afterwards Jesus appeared to the other women, Mt 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.
II. APPEARANCES OF JESUS AFTER THE RESURRECTION. \-
2. To the other women, Mt 28:9.
4. To two disciples as they were going to Emmaus, Mr 16:12.
5. The same day at evening, to the apostles, in the absence of
6. To the apostles when Thomas was present, Joh 20:24-29.
7. In Galilee, at the sea of Tiberias, to Peter, Thomas, Nathanael,
James, and John, and two others, Joh 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, Joh 21:14.
8. To the disciples on a mountain in Galilee, Mt 28:16.
seen by them forty days after he rose—probably conversing with
III THE ASCENSION.
1. It was forty days after his resurrection, Ac 1:3.
2. He ascended from the Mount of Olives, near Bethany,
3. It was in the presence of all the apostles, Lu 24:50
4. He was received into a cloud, and ascended to heaven,
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