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The Report of the Guard

11 While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests everything that had happened. 12After the priests had assembled with the elders, they devised a plan to give a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13telling them, “You must say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story is still told among the Jews to this day.

The Commissioning of the Disciples

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


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The Guards Bribed (Mt 28:11-15).

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 Jewish ecclesiastics!

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 judicial investigation.

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, Ac 24:26).

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. Justin Martyr, who 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 country.

Mt 28:16-20. Jesus Meets with the Disciples on a Mountain in Galilee and Gives Forth the Great Commission.

16. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee—but certainly not before the second week after the resurrection, and probably somewhat later.

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" (Mt 26:32; Mr 14:28). 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. (Joh 21:1, &c.). That the interview here recorded was the same as that referred to in one place only—1Co 15:6—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 1Co 10:2, "And were all baptized unto (or rather 'into') Moses"; and Ga 3:27, "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 more.

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 (Mt 28:18): "Go, make disciples of all nations." In the corresponding passage of Mark (Mr 16:15) 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 2Co 13:14). This done, the Missionary department of your work, which in its own nature is temporary, must merge in another, which is permanent. This is

Second, The Pastoral department (Mt 28:20): "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 itself.

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 word.




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