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28. Resurrection and Great Commission
1Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. 3His appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4and for fear of him the watchers did quake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who hath been crucified. 6He is not here; for he is risen, even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7And go quickly, and tell his disciples, He is risen from the dead; and lo, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9And behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10Then saith Jesus unto them, Fear not: go tell my brethren that they depart into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
11Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city, and told unto the chief priests all the things that were come to pass. 12And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers, 13saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care. 15So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continueth until this day.
16But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 19Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: 20teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
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. 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. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 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. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 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. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
For the proof of Christ's resurrection, we have here the testimony of the angel, and of Christ himself, concerning his resurrection. Now we may think that it would have been better, if the matter had been so ordered, that a competent number of witnesses should have been present, and have seen the stone rolled away by the angel, and the dead body reviving, as people saw Lazarus come out of the grave, and then the matter had been past dispute; but let us not prescribe to Infinite Wisdom, which ordered that the witnesses of his resurrection should see him risen, but not see him rise. His incarnation was a mystery; so was this second incarnation (if we may so call it), this new making of the body of Christ, for his exalted state; it was therefore made in secret. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Christ gave such proofs of his resurrection as were corroborated by the scriptures, and by the word which he had spoken (Luke xxiv. 6, 7-44; Mark xvi. 7); for here we must walk by faith, not by sight. We have here,
I. The coming of the good women to the sepulchre.
Observe, 1. When they came; in the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, v. 1. This fixes the time of Christ's resurrection.
(1.) He arose the third day after his death; that was the time which he had often prefixed, and he kept within it. He was buried in the evening of the sixth day of the week, and arose in the morning of the first day of the following week, so that he lay in the grave about thirty-six or thirty-eight hours. He lay so long, to show that he was really and truly dead; and no longer, that he might not see corruption. He arose the third day, to answer the type of the prophet Jonas (ch. xii. 40), and to accomplish that prediction (Hos. vi. 2), The third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
(2.) He arose after the Jewish sabbath, and it was the passover-sabbath; all that day he lay in the grave, to signify the abolishing of the Jewish feasts and the other parts of the ceremonial law, and that his people must be dead to such observances, and take no more notice of them than he did when he lay in the grave. Christ on the sixth day finished his work; he said, It is finished; on the seventh day he rested, and then on the first day of the next week did as it were begin a new world, and enter upon new work. Let no man therefore judge us now in respect of the new moons, or of the Jewish sabbaths, which were indeed a shadow of good things to come, but the substance if of Christ. We may further observe, that the time of the saints' lying in the grave, is a sabbath to them (such as the Jewish sabbath was, which consisted chiefly in bodily rest), for there they rest from their labours (Job iii. 17); and it is owing to Christ.
(3.) He arose upon the first day of the week; on the first day of the first week God commanded the light to shine out of darkness; on this day therefore did he who was to be the Light of the world, shine out of the darkness of the grave; and the seventh-day sabbath being buried with Christ, it arose again in the first-day sabbath, called the Lord's day (Rev. i. 10), and no other day of the week is from henceforward mentioned in all the New Testament than this, and this often, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies, to the honour of Christ, John xx. 19, 26; Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2. If the deliverance of Israel out of the land of the north superseded the remembrance of that out of Egypt (Jer. xxiii. 7, 8), much more doth our redemption by Christ eclipse the glory of God's former works. The sabbath was instituted in remembrance of the perfecting of the work of creation, Gen. ii. 1. Man by his revolt made a breach upon that perfect work, which was never perfectly repaired till Christ arose from the dead, and the heavens and the earth were again finished, and the disordered hosts of them modelled anew, and the day on which this was done was justly blessed and sanctified, and the seventh day from that. He who on that day arose from the dead, is the same by whom, and for whom, all things were at first created, and now anew created.
(4.) He arose as it began to dawn toward that day; as soon as it could be said that the third day was come, the time prefixed for his resurrection, he arose; after his withdrawings from his people, he returns with all convenient speed, and cuts the work as short in righteousness as may be. He had said to his disciples, that though within a little while they should not see him, yet again a little while, and they should see him, and accordingly he made it as little a while as possible, Isa. liv. 7, 8. Christ arose when the day began to dawn, because then the day-spring from on high did again visit us, Luke i. 78. His passion began in the night; when he hung on the cross the sun was darkened; he was laid in the grave in the dusk of the evening; but he arose from the grave when the sun was near rising, for he is the bright and morning Star (Rev. xxii. 16), the true Light. Those who address themselves early in the morning to the religious services of the Christian sabbath, that they may take the day before them, therein follow this example of Christ, and that of David, Early will I seek thee.
2. Who they were, that came to the sepulchre; Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the same that attended the funeral, and sat over against the sepulchre, as before they sat over against the cross; still they studied to express their love to Christ; still they were inquiring after him. Then shall we know, if we thus follow on to know. No mention is made of the Virgin Mary being with them; it is probable that the beloved disciple, who had taken her to his own home, hindered her from going to the grave to weep there. Their attendance on Christ not only to the grave, but in the grave, represents his like care for those that are his, when they have made their bed in the darkness. As Christ in the grave was beloved of the saints, so the saints in the grave are beloved of Christ; for death and the grave cannot slacken that bond of love which is between them.
3. What they came to do: the other evangelists say that they came to anoint the body; Matthew saith that they came to see the sepulchre, whether it was as they left it; hearing perhaps, but not being sure, that the chief priests had set a guard upon it. They went, to show their good-will in another visit to the dear remains of their beloved Master, and perhaps not without some thoughts of his resurrection, for they could not have quite forgotten all he had said of it. Note, Visits to the grave are of great use to Christians, and will help to make it familiar to them, and to take off the terror of it, especially visits to the grave of our Lord Jesus, where we may see sin buried out of sight, the pattern of our sanctification, and the great proof of redeeming love shining illustriously even in that land of darkness.
II. The appearance of an angel of the Lord to them, v. 2-4. We have here an account of the manner of the resurrection of Christ, as far as it was fit that we should know.
1. There was a great earthquake. When he died, the earth that received him, shook for fear; now that he arose, the earth that resigned him, leaped for joy in his exaltation. This earthquake did as it were loose the bond of death, and shake off the fetters of the grave, and introduce the Desire of all nations, Hag. ii. 6, 7. It was the signal of Christ's victory; notice was hereby given of it, that, when the heavens rejoiced, the earth also might be glad. It was a specimen of the shake that will be given to the earth at the general resurrection, when mountains and islands shall be removed, that the earth may no longer cover her slain. There was a noise and a shaking in the valley, when the bones were to come together, bone to his bone, Ezek. xxxvii. 7. The kingdom of Christ, which was now to be set up, made the earth to quake, and terribly shook it. Those who are sanctified, and thereby raised to a spiritual life, while it is in the doing find an earthquake in their own bosoms, as Paul, who trembled and was astonished.
2. The angel of the Lord descended from heaven. The angels frequently attended our Lord Jesus, at his birth, in his temptation, in his agony; but upon the cross we find no angel attending him: when his Father forsook him, the angels withdrew from him; but now that he is resuming the glory he had before the foundation of the world, now, behold, the angels of God worship him.
3. He came, and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone himself by his own power, but he chose to have it done by an angel, to signify that having undertaken to make satisfaction for our sin, imputed to him, and being under arrest pursuant to that imputation, he did not break prison, but had a fair and legal discharge, obtained from heaven; he did not break prison, but an officer was sent on purpose to roll away the stone, and so to open the prison door, which would never have been done, if he had not made a full satisfaction. But being delivered for our offences, to complete the deliverance, he was raised again for our justification; he died to pay our debt, and rose again to take out our acquittance. The stone of our sins was rolled to the door of the grave of our Lord Jesus (and we find the rolling of a great stone to signify the contracting of guilt, 1 Sam. xiv. 33); but to demonstrate that divine justice was satisfied, an angel was commissioned to roll back the stone; not that the angel raised him from the dead, any more than those that took away the stone from Lazarus's grave raised him, but thus he intimated the consent of Heaven to his release, and the joy of Heaven in it. The enemies of Christ had sealed the stone, resolving, like Babylon, not to open the house of his prisoners; shall the prey be taken from the mighty? For this was their hour; but all the powers of death and darkness are under the control of the God of light and life. An angel from heaven has power to break the seal, though it were the great seal of Israel, and is able to roll away the stone, though ever so great. Thus the captives of the mighty are taken away. The angel's sitting upon the stone, when he had rolled it away, is very observable, and bespeaks a secure triumph over all the obstructions of Christ's resurrection. There he sat, defying all the powers of hell to roll the stone to the grave again. Christ erects his seat of rest and seat of judgment upon the opposition of his enemies; the Lord sitteth upon the floods. The angel sat as a guard to the grave, having frightened away the enemies' black guard; he sat, expecting the women, and ready to give them an account of his resurrection.
4. That his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow, v. 3. This was a visible representation, by that which we call splendid and illustrious, of the glories of the invisible world, which know no difference of colours. His look upon the keepers was like flashes of lightning; he cast forth lightning, and scattered them, Ps. cxliv. 6. The whiteness of his raiment was an emblem not only of purity, but of joy and triumph. When Christ died, the court of heaven went into keep mourning, signified by the darkening of the sun; but when he arose, they again put on the garments of praise. The glory of this angel represented the glory of Christ, to which he was now risen, for it is the same description that was given of him in his transfiguration (ch. xvii. 2); but when he conversed with his disciples after his resurrection, he drew a veil over it, and it bespoke the glory of the saints in their resurrection, when they shall be as the angels of God in heaven.
5. That for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men, v. 4. They were soldiers, that thought themselves hardened against fear, yet the very sight of an angel struck them with terror. Thus when the Son of God arose to judgment, the stout-hearted were spoiled, Ps. lxxvi. 5, 9. Note, The resurrection of Christ, as it is the joy of his friends, so it is the terror and confusion of his enemies. They did shake; the word eseisthesan is the same with that which was used for the earthquake, v. 2, seismos. When the earth shook, these children of the earth, that had their portion in it, shook too; whereas, those that have their happiness in things above, though the earth be removed, yet are without fear. The keepers became as dead men, when he whom they kept guard upon became alive, and they whom they kept guard against revived with him. It struck a terror upon them, to see themselves baffled in that which was their business here. They were posted here, to keep a dead man in his grave—as easy a piece of service surely as was ever assigned them, and yet it proves too hard for them. They were told that they must expect to be assaulted by a company of feeble faint-hearted disciples, who for fear of them would soon shake and become as dead men, but are amazed when they find themselves attacked by a mighty angel, whom they dare not look in the face. Thus doth God frustrate his enemies by frightening them, Ps. ix. 20.
III. The message which this angel delivered to the women, v. 5-7.
1. He encourages them against their fears, v. 5. To come near to graves and tombs, especially in silence and solitude, has something in it frightful, much more was it so to those women, to find an angel at the sepulchre; but he soon makes them easy with the word, Fear not ye. The keepers shook, and became as dead men, but, Fear not ye. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid, for there is cause for it; but, Fear not, Abraham, nor any of the faithful seed of Abraham; why should the daughters of Sarah, that do well, be afraid with any amazement? 1 Pet. iii. 6. "Fear not ye. Let not the news I have to tell you, be any surprise to you, for you were told before that your Master would rise; let it be no terror to you, for his resurrection will be your consolation; fear not any hurt, that I will do you, nor nay evil tidings I have to tell you. Fear not ye, for I know that ye seek Jesus. I know you are friends to the cause. I do not come to frighten you, but to encourage you." Note, Those that seek Jesus, have no reason to be afraid; for, if they seek him diligently they shall find him, and shall find him their bountiful Rewarder. All our believing enquiries after the Lord Jesus are observed, and taken notice of, in heaven; I know that ye seek Jesus; and shall certainly be answered, as these were, with good words, and comfortable words. Ye seek Jesus that was crucified. He mentions his being crucified, the more to commend their love to him; "You seek him still, though he was crucified; you retain your kindness for him notwithstanding." Note, True believers love and seek Christ, not only though he was crucified, but because he was so.
2. He assures them of the resurrection of Christ; and there was enough in that to silence their fears (v. 6); He is not here, for he is risen. To be told He is not here, would have been no welcome news to those who sought him, if it had not been added, He is risen. Note, It is matter of comfort to those who seek Christ, and miss of finding him where they expected, that he is risen: if we find him not in sensible comfort, yet he is risen. We must not hearken to those who say, Lo, here is Christ, or, Lo, he is there, for he is not here, he is not there, he is risen. In all our enquiries after Christ, we must remember that he is risen; and we must seek him as one risen. (1.) Not with any gross carnal thoughts of him. There were those that knew Christ after the flesh; but now henceforth know we him so no more, 2 Cor. v. 16. It is true, he had a body; but it is now a glorified body. They that make pictures and images of Christ, forget that he is not here, he is risen; our communion with him must be spiritual, by faith in his word, Rom. x. 6-9. (2.) We must seek him with great reverence and humility, and an awful regard to his glory, for he is risen. God has highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, and therefore every knee and every soul must bow before him. (3.) We must seek him with a heavenly mind; when we are ready to make this world our home, and to say, It is good to be here, let us remember our Lord Jesus is not here, he is risen, and therefore let not our hearts be here, but let them rise too, and seek the things that are above, Col. iii. 1-3; Phil. iii. 20.
Two things the angel refers these women to, for the confirmation of their faith, touching Christ's resurrection.
[1.] To his word now fulfilled, which they might remember; He is risen, as he said. This he vouches as the proper object of faith; "He said that he would rise, and you know that he is the Truth itself, and therefore have reason to expect that he should rise; why should you be backward to believe that which he told you would be?" Let us never think that strange, of which the word of Christ has raised our expectations, whether the sufferings of this present time, or the glory that is to be revealed. If we remember what Christ hath said to us, we shall be the less surprised at what he does with us. This angel, when he said. He is not here, he is risen, makes it to appear that he preaches no other gospel than what they had already received, for he refers himself to the word of Christ as sufficient to bear him out; He is risen, as he said.
[2.] To his grave now empty, which they might look into; "Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Compare what you have heard, with what you see, and, putting both together, you will believe. You see that he is not here, and, remembering what he said, you may be satisfied that he is risen; come, see the place, and you will see that he is not there, you will see that he could not be stolen thence, and therefore must conclude that he is risen." Note, It may be of use to affect us, and may have a good influence upon us, to come, and with an eye of faith see the place where the Lord lay. See the marks he has there left of his love in condescending so low for us; see how easy he has made that bed, and how lightsome, for us, by lying in it himself; when we look into the grave, where we expect we must lie, to take off the terror of it, let us look into the grave where the Lord lay; the place where our Lord lay, so the Syriac. The angels own him for their Lord, as well as we; for the whole family, both in heaven and earth, is named from him.
3. He directs them to go carry the tidings of it to his disciples (v. 7); Go quickly, and tell his disciples. It is probable that they were for entertaining themselves with the sight of the sepulchre and discourse with the angels. It was good to be here, but they have other work appointed them; this is a day of good tidings, and though they have the premier seisin of the comfort, the first taste of it, yet they must not have the monopoly of it, must not hold their peace, any more than those lepers, 2 Kings vii. 9. They must go tell the disciples. Note, Public usefulness to others must be preferred before the pleasure of secret communion with God ourselves; for it is more blessed to give than to receive. Observe,
(1.) The disciples of Christ must first be told the news; not, Go, tell the chief priests and the Pharisees, that they may be confounded; but, Tell the disciples, that they may be comforted. God anticipates the joy of his friends more than the shame of his enemies, though the perfection of both is reserved for hereafter. Tell his disciples; it may be they will believe your report, however tell them, [1.] That they may encourage themselves under their present sorrows and dispersions. It was a dismal time with them, between grief and fear; what a cordial would this be to them now, to hear, their Master is risen! [2.] That they may enquire further into it themselves. This alarm was sent them, to awaken them from that strange stupidity which had seized them, and to raise their expectations. This was to set them on seeking him, and to prepare them for his appearance to them. General hints excite to closer searches. They shall now hear of him, but shall very shortly see him. Christ discovers himself gradually.
(2.) The women are sent to tell it to them, and so are made, as it were, the apostles of the apostles. This was an honour put upon them, and a recompence for their constant affectionate adherence to him, at the cross, and in the grave, and a rebuke to the disciples who forsook him. Still God chooses the weak things of the world, to confound the mighty, and puts the treasure, not only into earthen vessels, but here into the weaker vessels; as the woman, being deceived by the suggestions of an evil angel, was first in the transgression (1 Tim. ii. 14), so these women, being duly informed by the instructions of a good angel, were first in the belief of the redemption from transgression by Christ's resurrection, that that reproach of their sex might be rolled away, by putting this in the balance against it, which is their perpetual praise.
(3.) They were bid to go quickly upon this errand. Why, what haste was there? Would not the news keep cold, and be welcome to them at any time? Yes, but they were now overwhelmed with grief, and Christ would have this cordial hastened to them; when Daniel was humbling himself before God for sin, the angel Gabriel was caused to fly swiftly with a message of comfort, Dan. ix. 21. We must always be ready and forward; [1.] To obey the commands of God, Ps. cxix. 60. [2.] To do good to our brethren, and to carry comfort to them, as those that felt from their afflictions; Say not, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give; but now quickly.
(4.) They were directed to appoint the disciples to meet him in Galilee. There were other appearances of Christ to them before that in Galilee, which were sudden and surprising; but he would have one to be solemn and public, and gave them notice of it before. Now this general rendezvous was appointed in Galilee, eighty or a hundred miles from Jerusalem; [1.] In kindness to those of his disciples that remained in Galilee, and did not (perhaps they could not) come up to Jerusalem; into that country therefore he would go, to manifest himself to his friends there. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest. Christ knows where his disciples dwell, and will visit there. Note, The exaltation of Christ doth not make him forget the meaner and poorer sort of his disciples, but even to them that are at a distance from the plenty of the means of grave he will graciously manifest himself. [2.] In consideration of the weakness of his disciples that were now at Jerusalem, who as yet were afraid of the Jews, and durst not appear publicly, and therefore this meeting was adjourned to Galilee. Christ knows our fears, and considers our frame, and made his appointment where there was least danger of disturbance.
Lastly, The angel solemnly affirms upon his word the truth of what he had related to them; "Lo, I have told you, you may be assured of it, and depend upon it; I have told you, who dare not tell a lie." The word spoken by angels was stedfast, Heb. ii. 2. God had been wont formerly to make known his mind to his people by the ministration of angels, as at the giving of the law; but as he intended in gospel times to lay aside that way of communication (for unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, nor appointed them to be the preachers of the gospel), this angel was now sent to certify the resurrection of Christ to the disciples, and so leave it in their hands to be published to the world, 2 Cor. iv. 7. In saying, Lo, I have told you, he doth, as it were, discharge himself from the blame of their unbelief, if they should not receive this record, and throw it upon them; "I have done my errand, I have faithfully delivered my message, now look you to it, believe it at your peril; whether you will hear or whether you will forbear, I have told you." Note, Those messengers from God, that discharge their trust faithfully, may take the comfort of that, whatever the success be, Acts xx. 26, 27.
IV. The women's departure from the sepulchre, to bring notice to the disciples, v. 8. And observe,
1. What frame and temper of spirit they were in; They departed with fear and great joy; a strange mixture, fear and joy at the same time, in the same soul. To hear that Christ was risen, was matter of joy; but to be led into his grave, and to see an angel, and talk with him about it, could not but cause fear. It was good news, but they were afraid that it was too good to be true. But observe, it is said of their joy, I was great joy; it is not said so of their fear. Note, (1.) Holy fear has joy attending it. They that serve the Lord with reverence, serve him with gladness. (2.) Spiritual joy is mixed with trembling, Ps. ii. 11. It is only perfect love and joy that will cast out all fear.
2. What haste they made; They did run. The fear and joy together quickened their pace, and added wings to their motion; the angel bid them go quickly, and they ran. Those that are sent on God's errand must not loiter, or lose time; where the heart is enlarged with the glad tidings of the gospel, the feet will run the way of God's commandments.
3. What errand they went upon; They ran, to bring his disciples word. Not doubting but it would be joyful news to them, they ran, to comfort them with the same comforts wherewith they themselves were comforted of God. Note, The disciples of Christ should be forward to communicate to each other their experiences of sweet communion with heaven; should tell others what God has done for their souls, and spoken to them. Joy in Christ Jesus, like the ointment of the right hand, will betray itself, and fill all places within the lines of its communication with its odours. When Samson found honey, he brought it to his parents.
V. Christ's appearing to the women, to confirm the testimony of the angel, v. 9, 10. These zealous good women not only heard the first tidings of him, but had the first sight of him, after his resurrection. The angel directed those that would see him, to go to Galilee, but before that time came, even here also, they looked after him that lives, and sees them. Note, Jesus Christ is often better than his word, but never worse; often anticipates, but never frustrates, the believing expectations of his people.
Here is, 1. Christ's surprising appearance to the women; As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them. Note, God's gracious visits usually meet us in the way of duty, and to those who use what they have for others' benefit, more shall be given. This interview with Christ was unexpected, or ever they were aware, Cant. vi. 12. Note, Christ is nearer to his people than they imagine. They needed not descend into the deep, to fetch Christ thence; he was not there, he was risen; nor go up to heaven, for he was not yet ascended: but Christ was high them, and still in the word is nigh us.
2. The salutation wherewith he accosted them; All hail—chairete. We use the old English form of salutation, wishing all health to those we meet; for so All hail signifies, and is expressive of the Greek form of salutation here used, answering to that of the Hebrew, Peace be unto you. And it bespeaks, (1.) The good-will of Christ to us and our happiness, even since he entered upon his state of exaltation. Though he is advanced, he wishes us as well as ever, and is as much concerned for our comfort. (2.) The freedom and holy familiarity which he used in his fellowship with his disciples; for he called them friends. But the Greek word signifies, Rejoice ye. They were affected both with fear and joy; what he said to them tended to encourage their joy (v. 9), Rejoice ye, and to silence their fear (v. 10), Be not afraid. Note, It is the will of Christ that his people should be a cheerful joyful people, and his resurrection furnishes them with abundant matter for joy.
3. The affectionate respect they paid him; They came, and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Thus they expressed, (1.) The reverence and honour they had for him; they threw themselves at his feet, put themselves into a posture of adoration, and worshipped him with humility and godly fear, as the Son of God, and now exalted. (2.) The love and affection they had to him; they held him, and would not let him go, Cant. iii. 4. How beautiful were the feet of the Lord Jesus to them! Isa. lii. 7. (3.) The transport of joy they were in, now that they had this further assurance of his resurrection; they welcomed it with both arms. Thus we must embrace Jesus Christ offered us in the gospel, with reverence cast ourselves at his feet, by faith take hold of him, and with love and joy lay him near our hearts.
4. The encouraging words Christ said to them, v. 10. We do not find that they said any thing to him, their affectionate embraces and adorations spoke plainly enough; and what he said to them was no more than what the angel had said (v. 5, 7); for he will confirm the word of his messengers (Isa. xliv. 26); and his way of comforting his people, is, by his Spirit to speak over again to their hearts the same that they had heard before from his angels, the ministers. Now observe here,
(1.) How he rebukes their fear; Be not afraid. They must not fear being imposed upon by these repeated notices of his resurrection, nor fear any hurt from the appearance of one from the dead; for the news, though strange, was both true and good. Note, Christ arose from the dead, to silence his people's fears, and there is enough in that to silence them.
(2.) How he repeats their message; "Go, tell my brethren, that they must prepare for a journey into Galilee, and there they shall see me." If there be any communion between our souls and Christ, it is he that appoints the meeting, and he will observe the appointment. Jerusalem had forfeited the honour of Christ's presence, it was a tumultuous city, therefore he adjourns the meeting to Galilee. Come, my beloved, let us go forth, Cant. vii. 11. But that which is especially observable here, is, that he calls his disciples his brethren. Go, tell my brethren, not only those of them that were akin to him, but all the rest, for they are all his brethren (ch. xii. 50), but he never called them so till after his resurrection, here and John xx. 17. Being by the resurrection himself declared to be the Son of God with power, all the children of God were thereby declared to be his brethren. Being the First-begotten from the dead, he is become the First-born among many brethren, even of all that are planted together in the likeness of his resurrection. Christ did not now converse so constantly and familiarly with his disciples as he had done before his death; but, lest they should think him grown strange to them, he gives them this endearing title, Go to my brethren, that the scripture might be fulfilled, which, speaking of his entrance upon his exalted state, saith, I will declare thy name unto my brethren. They had shamefully deserted him in his sufferings; but, to show that he could forgive and forget, and to teach us to do so, he not only continues his purpose to meet them, but calls them brethren. Being all his brethren, they were brethren one to another, and must love as brethren. His owning them for his brethren put a great honour upon them, but withal gave them an example of humility in the midst of that honour.