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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 28

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-4

54-61 Compare Mar_15:39-47 ; Luk_23:47-56 Joh_19:38-42 .

54 The kingdom proclamation closed with the acknowledgment of Peter that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God ( Mat_16:16 ). His priestly ministry closes with the centurion's declaration that He is the Son of God. Thus we are given a foretaste of the final effect of both of these ministries. In the day of His return, Israel will exultantly acclaim Him King and the nations of the earth will acknowledge Him their Lord.

55 See Luk_8:2-3 .

56 See Mat_13:55 .

57 The shame and ignominy, as well as the sufferings, are now over. Though they appointed His grave with the lawless, God put Him in a rich man's tomb. The Romans would have left His body till it wasted away or was devoured by birds of prey. The Jews would have put it in a felon's grave. God indicated His mind by providing two honorable men, Joseph and Nicodemus ( Joh_19:39 ), to attend to His entombment. Joseph of Arimarhea, translated, means “He adds the heights.”

62 The morrow after the preparation was the great sabbath which began the festival of Unleavened Bread. But the religions leaders did not rest nor did they allow Pilate peace. They now realized that they had only fulfilled His own predictions, and that, should He rise from the dead, or even appear to do so, they would be in a worse predicament than ever. From the divine side it was important that they should have ample assurance of His resurrection. Nothing could be more convincing than the story of the guard. Their plan was an excellent one to prove, not disprove, His return to life.

63 See Mat_16:21 ; Mat_17:23 ; Mat_20:19 .

64 Twelve times we are told that He would rise “the third day”. Why do they tell Pilate “after three days”, and then set the guard hardly more than a day after His death? Pilate was a Roman. They used the Latin idiom. Mark, who wrote for Romans, also uses this form

( Mar_8:31 ; Mar_9:31 ; Mar_10:34 ). In Greek it is literal, “the third day”. In Latin it is idiomatic, “after three days”. In Hebrew it is an idiom which accords with all their chronological computations, “three days and three nights”.

66 The “detail” of soldiers, was a small squad which, in Latin, was called a custodian. From this we get our word custody. Pilate uses the Latin military term for which the Greek had no exact equivalent. Hence it is transliterated, rather than translated in the sublinear rendering.

1 Compare Mar_16:1-4 ; Luk_24:1-2 ; Joh_20:1 .

1 The enigmatical phrase, “the evening of the sabbaths,” when the Roman watch was set, is the key to a problem which astute theologians have declared to be unsolvable. The Hebrew day, in starting at sundown, commenced in the middle of an “evening”. The evening of one day lasted till sundown, after that it was counted as the evening of the next day. Thus each day had two evenings, one at its commencement and another at its close. Each evening was in two days. The evening when the watch was set was in two sabbaths. One, the first day of Unleavened Bread, was a special sabbath, coming but once a year. The other was the usual weekly sabbath. The conjunction of these two at their common evening satisfies the phrase “the evening of the sabbaths,” and furnishes the key to the chronology of the passion week.

1 “One of the sabbaths” is the only correct translation of the phrase usually rendered “the first day of the week”. The word first is not there. It is simply one , and is applied to the eleventh hour ( Mat_20:12 ), which, in that case, was last, not first. The word day is not in the text at all. The word “week” is in the plural, and is precisely the same as the form in the preceding sentence. If it is rendered “sabbaths” there it must also be “sabbaths” here. So there is no recourse but to translate “one of the sabbaths.” The key to this expression lies in the law of the Firstfruits ( Lev_23:9-14 ). Ending with the day before Pentecost there were seven sabbaths ( Lev_23:15 ) from the day before the waving of the “sheaf”. These are referred to in the phrase “one of the sabbaths”. Every mention of this phrase places it between the Passover and Pentecost, ( 1Co_16:2 and Act_20:1 ; Act_20:6 ). And the other occurrences refer to our Lord's resurrection ( Mar_16:2 ; Luk_24:1 ; Joh_20:1-19 ). He was raised on a sabbath, not the first day of the week, which would be our Sunday. His resurrection on the sabbath is a token that His work was complete. Redemption is now a matter of entering into His stopping, not the beginning of a new week of toll and labor.

Verses 5-20

5-8 Compare Mar_16:5-8 ; Luk_24:3-11 .

9-10 Compare Mar_16:9-11 . See Joh_20:17

18 This account is principally concerned with the rejection of the kingdom. How fitting that it should close with a preview of its establishment in the coming eon! The place is significant. Satan took Him to a high mountain to show Him the kingdoms of the earth. The transformation was on a mountain. The place speaks of His exaltation. This will not be realized until He comes in glory. He has not yet taken His great power ( Rev_11:17 ). The apostles never went out to all nations. On the contrary, Peter was opposed when he went to the proselyte Cornelius ( Act_11:3 ). They never baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit. They used the titles of Christ intelligently when they baptized. They used “Jesus Christ” in baptizing Israelites, “Lord Jesus” for Samaritans ( Act_8:16 ). They never used “Christ Jesus,” the title of His present heavenly glory. They never used the formula here given because they knew that it was reserved for the future kingdom proclamation. They never discipled the nations, as such. The Lord was not with them till the conclusion of that eon, but left them soon after, when He ascended. This commission cannot be carried out until His return in power and glory to bless all nations through His people Israel.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 28". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/matthew-28.html. 1968.
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