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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 28)

28:1 {Now late on the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the
first day of the week}
(\opse de sabbatōn, tēi epiphōskousēi eis
mian sabbatōn\)
. This careful chronological statement according
to Jewish days clearly means that before the sabbath was over,
that is before six P.M., this visit by the women was made "to see
the sepulchre" (\theorēsai ton taphon\). They had seen the place
of burial on Friday afternoon (Mr 15:47; Mt 27:61; Lu 23:55).
They had rested on the sabbath after preparing spices and
ointments for the body of Jesus (Lu 23:56), a sabbath of
unutterable sorrow and woe. They will buy other spices after
sundown when the new day has dawned and the sabbath is over (Mr
. Both Matthew here and Luke (Lu 23:54) use dawn
(\epiphōskō\) for the dawning of the twenty-four hour-day at
sunset, not of the dawning of the twelve-hour day at sunrise. The
Aramaic used the verb for dawn in both senses. The so-called
Gospel of Peter has \epiphōskō\ in the same sense as Matthew and
Luke as does a late papyrus. Apparently the Jewish sense of
"dawn" is here expressed by this Greek verb. Allen thinks that
Matthew misunderstands Mark at this point, but clearly Mark is
speaking of sunrise and Matthew of sunset. Why allow only one
visit for the anxious women?

28:2 {There was a great earthquake} (\seismos egeneto megas\).
Clearly not the earthquake of 27:51. The precise time of this
earthquake is not given. It was before sunrise on the first day
of the week when the women made the next visit. Matthew alone
relates the coming of the angel of the Lord who rolled away the
stone and was sitting upon it (\apekulise ton lithon kai ekathēto
epanō autou\)
. If one is querulous about these supernatural
phenomena, he should reflect that the Resurrection of Jesus is
one of the great supernatural events of all time. Cornelius …
Lapide dares to say: "The earth, which trembled with sorrow at
the Death of Christ as it were leaped for joy at His
Resurrection." The Angel of the Lord announced the Incarnation of
the Son of God and also His Resurrection from the grave. There
are apparent inconsistencies in the various narratives of the
Resurrection and the appearances of the Risen Christ. We do not
know enough of the details to be able to reconcile them. But the
very variations strengthen the independent witness to the
essential fact that Jesus rose from the grave. Let each writer
give his own account in his own way. The stone was rolled away
not to let the Lord out, but to let the women in to prove the
fact of the empty tomb (McNeile).

28:3 {Appearance} (\eidea\). Here only in the N.T. Compare
\morphē\ and \schēma\.

28:4 {The watchers did quake} (\eseisthēsan hoi tērountes\). And
no wonder that they became as dead men and fled before the women

28:5 {Unto the women} (\tais gunaixin\). According to John, Mary
Magdalene had left to go and tell Peter and John of the supposed
grave robbery (Joh 20:1f.). But the other women remained and
had the interview with the angel (or men, Luke) about the empty
tomb and the Risen Christ. {Jesus the Crucified} (\Iēsoun ton
. Perfect passive participle, state of completion.
This he will always be. So Paul will preach as essential to his
gospel "and this one crucified" (\kai touton estaurōmenon\, 1Co

28:6 {Risen from the dead} (\ēgerthē apo tōn nekrōn\). {Jesus the
. This is the heart of the testimony of the angel to the
women. It is what Paul wishes Timothy never to forget (2Ti
, "Jesus Christ risen from the dead" (\Iēsoun Christon
egēgermenon ek nekrōn\)
. They were afraid and dazzled by the
glory of the scene, but the angel said, "Come, see the place
where the Lord lay" (\deute idete ton topon hopou ekeito ho
. Some MSS. do not have \ho Kurios\, but he is the
subject of \ekeito\. His body was not there. It will not do to
say that Jesus arose in spirit and appeared alive though his body
remained in the tomb. The empty tomb is the first great fact
confronting the women and later the men. Various theories were
offered then as now. But none of them satisfy the evidence and
explain the survival of faith and hope in the disciples that do
not rest upon the fact of the Risen Christ whose body was no
longer in the tomb.

28:7 {He goeth before you into Galilee} (\proagei humas eis tēn
. Jesus did appear to the disciples in Galilee on two
notable occasions (by the beloved lake, Joh 21, and on the
mountain, Mt 28:16-20)
. Probably before the women were
permitted to tell this story in full to the disciples who scouted
as idle talk (Joh 24:11) their first accounts, Jesus appeared
to various disciples in Jerusalem on this first great Sunday.
Jesus did not say that he would not see any of them in Jerusalem.
He merely made a definite appointment in Galilee which he kept.

28:8 {With fear and great joy} (\meta phobou kai charas
. A touch of life was this as the excited women ran
quickly (\tachu edramon\) as they had been told "to bring his
disciples word" (\apaggeilai tois mathētais autou\). They had the
greatest piece of news that it was possible to have. Mark calls
it fear and ecstasy. Anything seemed possible now. Mark even says
that at first they told no one anything for they were afraid (Mr
, the tragic close of the text of Mark in Aleph and B, our
two oldest manuscripts. But these mingled emotions of ecstasy and
dread need cause no surprise when all things are considered.

28:9 {Jesus met them} (\Iēsous hupēntēsen autais\). Came suddenly
face to face (\antaō, hupo\) with them as they brooded over the
message of the angel and the fact of the empty tomb (associative
instrumental, \autais\)
. Cf. 8:34; 24:1-6. Probably the lost
portion of Mark's Gospel contained the story of this meeting with
Jesus which changed their fears into joy and peace. His greeting
was the ordinary "Hail" (\chairete\). They fell at his feet and
held them in reverence while they worshipped him. Jesus allowed
this act of worship though he forbade eager handling of his body
by Mary Magdalene (Joh 20:17). It was a great moment of faith
and cheer.

28:10 {Fear not} (\mē phobeisthe\). They were still afraid for
joy and embarrassment. Jesus calms their excitement by the
repetition of the charge from the angel for the disciples to meet
him in Galilee. There is no special mention of Peter ("and
as in Mr 16:7, but we may be sure that the special
message to Peter was delivered.

28:11 {Told unto the chief priests} (\apēggeilan tois
. These Roman soldiers had been placed at the
disposal of the Sanhedrin. They were probably afraid also to
report to Pilate and tell him what had happened. They apparently
told a truthful account as far as they understood it. But were
the Sanhedrin convinced of the resurrection of Jesus?

28:12 {They gave large money} (\arguria hikana edōkan\). The use
of the plural for pieces of silver (\arguria\) is common. The
papyri have many instances of \hikana\ for considerable (from
\hikanō\, to reach to, attain to)
. These pious Sanhedrists knew
full well the power of bribes. They make a contract with the
Roman soldiers to tell a lie about the resurrection of Jesus as
they paid Judas money to betray him. They show not the slightest
tendency to be convinced by the facts though one had risen from
the dead.

28:13 {Stole him away while we slept} (\eklepsan auton hēmōn
. Genitive absolute. An Irish bull on the face of it.
If they were asleep they would not know anything about it.

28:14 {We will persuade him, and rid you of care} (\hēmeis
peisomen kai humas amerimnous poiēsomen\)
. They would try money
also on Pilate and assume all responsibility. Hence the soldiers
have no anxiety (\amerimnous\, alpha privative and \merimnaō\, to
be anxious)
. They lived up to their bargain and this lie lives on
through the ages. Justin (_Dial_. 108) accuses the Jews of
spreading the charge. Bengel: _Quam laboriosum bellum mendacii
contra veritatem_. {It was spread about} (\diephēmisthē\)
diligently by the Jews to excuse their disbelief in the
Messiahship of Jesus.

28:17 {But some doubted} (\hoi de edistasan\). From \dis\ (in
two, divided in mind)
. Cf. Mt 14:31. The reference is not to
the eleven who were all now convinced after some doubt, but to
the others present. Paul states that over five hundred were
present, most of whom were still alive when he wrote (1Co
. It is natural that some should hesitate to believe so
great a thing at the first appearance of Jesus to them. Their
very doubt makes it easier for us to believe. This was the
mountain where Jesus had promised to meet them. This fact
explains the large number present. Time and place were arranged
beforehand. It was the climax of the various appearances and in
Galilee where were so many believers. They worshipped
(\prosekunēsan\) Jesus as the women had done (28:9). He is now
their Risen Lord and Saviour.

28:18 {All authority} (\pāsa exousia\). Jesus came close to them
(\proselthōn\) and made this astounding claim. He spoke as one
already in heaven with a world-wide outlook and with the
resources of heaven at his command. His authority or power in his
earthly life had been great (7:29; 11:27; 21:23f.). Now it is
boundless and includes earth and heaven. {Hath been given}
(\edothē\) is a timeless aorist (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp.
. It is the sublimist of all spectacles to see the Risen
Christ without money or army or state charging this band of five
hundred men and women with world conquest and bringing them to
believe it possible and to undertake it with serious passion and
power. Pentecost is still to come, but dynamic faith rules on
this mountain in Galilee.

28:19 {All the nations} (\panta ta ethnē\). Not just the Jews
scattered among the Gentiles, but the Gentiles themselves in
every land. And not by making Jews of them, though this point is
not made plain here. It will take time for the disciples to grow
into this _Magna Charta_ of the missionary propaganda. But here
is the world program of the Risen Christ and it should not be
forgotten by those who seek to foreshorten it all by saying that
Jesus expected his second coming to be very soon, even within the
lifetime of those who heard. He did promise to come, but he has
never named the date. Meanwhile we are to be ready for his coming
at any time and to look for it joyfully. But we are to leave that
to the Father and push on the campaign for world conquest. This
program includes making disciples or learners (\mathēteusate\)
such as they were themselves. That means evangelism in the
fullest sense and not merely revival meetings. Baptism in (\eis\,
not _into_)
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
in the name of the Trinity. Objection is raised to this language
in the mouth of Jesus as too theological and as not a genuine
part of the Gospel of Matthew for the same reason. See Mt
11:27, where Jesus speaks of the Father and the Son as here. But
it is all to no purpose. There is a chapter devoted to this
subject in my _The Christ of the Logia_ in which the genuineness
of these words is proven. The name of Jesus is the essential part
of it as is shown in the Acts. Trine immersion is not taught as
the Greek Church holds and practices, baptism in the name of the
Father, then of the Son, then of the Holy Spirit. The use of name
(\onoma\) here is a common one in the Septuagint and the papyri
for power or authority. For the use of \eis\ with \onoma\ in the
sense here employed, not meaning _into_, see Mt 10:41f. (cf.
also 12:41)

28:20 {Teaching them} (\didaskontes autous\). Christians have
been slow to realize the full value of what we now call religious
education. The work of teaching belongs to the home, to the
church (sermon, Sunday school, young people's work,
prayer-meeting, study classes, mission classes)
, to the school
(not mixing of church and state, but moral instruction if not the
reading of the Bible)
, good books which should be in every home,
reading of the Bible itself. Some react too far and actually put
education in the place of conversion or regeneration. That is to
miss the mark. But teaching is part, a weighty part, of the work
of Christians.

{I am with you} (\egō meta humōn\). This is the amazing and
blessed promise. He is to be with the disciples when he is gone,
with all the disciples, with all knowledge, with all power, with
them all the days (all sorts of days, weakness, sorrows, joy,
, till the consummation of the age (\heōs tēs sunteleias
tou aiōnos\)
. That goal is in the future and unknown to the
disciples. This blessed hope is not designed as a sedative to an
inactive mind and complacent conscience, but an incentive to the
fullest endeavor to press on to the farthest limits of the world
that all the nations may know Christ and the power of his Risen
Life. So Matthew's Gospel closes in a blaze of glory. Christ is
conqueror in prospect and in fact. Christian history from that
eventful experience on the Mountain in Galilee has been the
fulfilment of that promise in as far as we allow God's power to
work in us for the winning of the world to Christ, the Risen, all
powerful Redeemer, who is with his people all the time. Jesus
employs the prophetic present here (\eimi\, I am). He is with us
all the days till he comes in glory.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 28)