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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Matthew 28

Verses 1-15

  1. Intro: Love Is as Love Does
    1. Ken Gire said, It was in a garden ages ago that paradise was lost, & it is in a garden now that it would be regained. Ken Gire, Mary Magdalene, pg.130.
    2. The great resurrection truth is not that we are to live forever, but that we may now live nobly because we are to live forever. Phillips Brooks
    3. God has a Word for each character in the Res story & a Word for each of us this morning
    4. All 4 gospel accounts end with the resurrection story. Some people get worried about the different accounts. [4 different individuals, giving 4 different perspectives]
      1. If a detective calls in 4 eyewitnesses & they all give the exact-same-story, it is usually not trustworthy because most likely they have collaborated.
    5. The stone was not rolled away to permit Jesus to come out, for He had already left the tomb.
      1. It was rolled back so that the people would see for themselves that the tomb was empty.
    6. In John’s account they saw the grave clothes lying on the stone shelf, still wrapped in the shape of the body (cocoon-ish).
      1. The burial wrappings were made rigged by the resin from the spices. The linen cocoon lay intact on the stone slab. Intact but hollow. Ken Gire
      2. Jesus passed thru the grave clothes & left them behind as evidence He was alive.
      3. Showing no sign of struggle, the napkin, wrapped around the face, was folded carefully in a place by itself. [showing 2 miracles: the res & a man folding his own cloths]
  2. LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR
    1. ​​​​​​​(5) The message of the empty tomb is, Do not be afraid.
      1. And what’s to fear when Jesus defeated the World, the Flesh, the Devil, & Death itself?
      2. The World - In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Jn.16:33
      3. The Flesh - knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Rom. 6:6
      4. The Devil - Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. Jn.12:31
      5. Death Itself - knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. Rom.6:9
        1. You need not be afraid of Life or Death; Time or Eternity.
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(8) Note the difference, not Joy & great fear, but fear & great Joy.
    3. (4,5) Now note the difference between vs.4&5. The unbelieving guards shook for fear, & became like dead men. Whereas, the angels told the believing woman, do not be afraid.
      1. ​​​​​​​Shook = same word as 27:51 quake.
      2. Those who seek Jesus need not fear. (5b)
    4. In Luke 24:5-8 Luke adds, Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered His words. :)
      1. ​​​​​​​Forgotten words come back w/fresh meaning when circumstances have changed & we have made progress in knowledge & character.
        1. An encouragement for parents who have had kids that have walk away from the truth. If you have stored truth in your child’s minds it is a little task for the Spirit of God to illuminated them in later life. [Love Cats Out All Fear]
  3. LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING
    1. ​​​​​​​There were many Significant changes because of the resurrection:
      1. Sabbath - For centuries they honored the 7th day. Then these Jewish men change their day of worship to the 1st day of the week.
      2. Gentiles - The Jews had been God’s people, now Gentiles are included. Peter even goes so far as to say, But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they. Acts 15:11
      3. The NT - is all a lie if the res isn’t true, because it is weaved in/out of all the NT
      4. Change in the disciples - Apostles were willing to go to their death…for a lie?
      5. The Emphasis it had on their preaching…
        1. It was in Peters 1st sermon in Acts 2:31,32. It was in Peters 2nd sermon Acts 3:15. It was in Peters 1st persecution addressing Sanhedrin in Acts 4:10. It was in Peters 2nd persecution in Acts 5:30.
        2. Also, Paul spoke of it at Athens in Acts 17. With the Sad/Phar in ch.23. With Felix in ch.24. And with Herod Agrippa ch.26. [Love Changes Everything]
  4. LOVE IS LOYAL
    1. ​​​​​​​Abraham Lincoln said in December of 1839, "Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may loose hers, but if she shall, be at my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her."
      1. ​​​​​​​Lincoln was a man of loyalty to his country, & his loyalty made him a great man
    2. We want to look at a woman who was loyal to her Lord, and also became great because of it. Mary Magdalene was not the last to desert Jesus in His hour of crisis. She never deserted him at all. She was not only loyal to the end, our text tells us she was loyal beyond the end, for even after death she maintained her loyalty, and was the first to come to the tomb.
    3. Mary Mag - her hope was dashed, her Master missing, her friend gone.
      1. Her hope was Jesus. He changed her life. He had cast out 7 demons. He freed her from untold torment. He had given her life, a reason to live, a place in His kingdom, worth, dignity, understanding, compassion, love, & hope.
      2. Now, that hope lies at the bottom of her heart. Ken Gire; Intimate Moments w/the Savior.
      3. But as love brought her to the cross, now love draws her to the grave.
        1. And the woman who was once possessed with demons, finds herself in the presence of, & conversing with,...angels.
          1. Ps: she was not a reformed harlot. The confusion started in 591ad by Pope Gregory the Great...likening her to the sinful woman in Lk.7. Continues even in 1973 JC Superstar. [7 demons, ok. Immoral? no evidence]
    4. Mary Mag loved her Jesus – He changed her life forever. Cast out 7 demons. Freed her from untold torment. He gave her life. A reason to live. A place in His kingdom. Worth & dignity. Understanding & compassion. Love and Hope. [Love Is Loyal]VI. Slide15 LOVE OBEYS
    5. Here is the Christian life in 4 commands: Come. See. Go. Tell.
      1. ​​​​​​​Come (the great word of the gospel. Come reason together. Come & see where I live. don’t forbid the children to come to Me).
      2. See (check it out. perceive. Good by sight, better by insight.).
      3. Go (as you go. On the go. Always as you’re going).
      4. Tell (the good news. the gospel).
        1. Women 1st saw the empty tomb. Women 1st saw the living Lord. Women 1st heard loving words. Women 1st told joyful news.
        2. Tell – These women also were the 1st preachers. [The rest could only share death & burial]
    6. (9) Took hold of his feet - This is no apparition or hallucination; Jesus is physically alive.
      1. Jn.20:17 Do not cling to Me - it is possible for us to miss the best in the Lord while holding on to the good.
      2. Mary was not to continue clinging to Him, but was to bear His message to the apostles. This is suggestive to us... It is very special to see Jesus’ tomb in Israel...yet we are not simply to linger about the shrine of the resurrection, but are to go declaring the fact of it!
    7. The women met Jesus (9a). The women heard Jesus (9b). The women worshiped Jesus (9c). The women obeyed Jesus (11a). [Love Obeys]
  5. LOVE FOLLOWS
    1. ​​​​​​​(9) Jesus met them on the way - You’ll always meet Him on the path of obedience.
      1. As you go, as you live the missional life.
    2. He’s going before you - Where do you need Him to go before you? - Where would you like to be assured that He’ll be there waiting. - Where do you need to know He’s been there first?
    3. In Heb.6:19,20 it talks about Christ as being our Forerunner. This spoke of the men or troops which were sent to explore before the advance of an army.
      1. Jesus was our forerunner, our trail blazer, our pioneer, our guide, our scout, our leader who opened up The Way.
      2. I see the image of Jesus as the lead climber(forerunner) w/a mountain climbing team.
        1. He goes ahead & anchors the pitons/pee-tons (the metal spike w/eye for rope) into the rock.
        2. At salvation we clipped our carabineer, onto His rope of salvation. And we follow behind progressing onward & upward w/faith & patience.
        3. Faith is when He anchors to a place out of our sight. [Picture up over the rock where you can’t see]
          1. Jesus has gone 1st through the veil, into His Fathers presence, & though we don’t see it yet, we’re climbing close behind.
          2. You can’t be in a hurry when you’re climbing. Every step & grip better be calculated. We are anchored, w/His pitons, so we can make progress.
      3. [Love Follows]
  6. LOVE CONTINUES [Infinity sign]
    1. They must not have expected His Resurrection. For they brought spices to complete the anointing Joseph & Nicodemus had begun.
      1. (Mrk16:1) Brought spices – αρωµα (aroma) perfumed oils.
        1. Since embalming wasn’t a Jewish custom, these aromatic perfumes were poured over the body to counteract the stench of decay.
        2. But this was also done as an expression of loving devotion (as we bring flowers to the grave today)
      2. Her Faith had failed, but her Love outlived Faith & held fast. Love lives still, as Faith & Hope lie crushed in the grave.
    2. We are part of this great story. It is unfolding right before us.
      1. We do not tell a completed story. At the beginning of the book of Acts, Luke says that in his 1st volume he recorded all that Jesus began to do. The history of the Church is what Jesus continues to do.
    3. We look back at these first disciples like Mary & Mary Mag here...our role is to live as consistent characters in line with the unfolding story.
    4. And we can because...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
      1. What is old in your life? sin, sickness, pain, suffering, grief, heartache…but Christ has opened to us the path to what is New.
      2. What is new in Christ? Forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, a new creation. New birth by faith. New nature, new heart, new life, new hope, and a new task. Finally, a new body in a new home called Heaven. [Love Continues]
  7. LOVE DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN
    1. ​​​​​​​(12) For a Roman soldier to fail in his duty was an offense punishable by death.
      1. Acts 12:19 But when Herod had searched for him (Peter) and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death.
      2. Acts 16:27,28 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.
    2. (13) Stolen - If stolen by friends: His friends & followers, who thought he was dead & gone, would have to had broken the Roman seal, rolled the enormous stone (up hill), somehow squeezed Jesus body out of the cocoon like linen, took the time to place the head piece nicely, & carried him out...all w/o the Roman guards noticing???
      1. If stolen by his enemies: They could easily have produced the body & shut down the whole res story. And, if they were sleeping, how did they know what happened, and who took the body? [Love Does Not Seek Its Own]
    3. End:
    4. It’s interesting, they could see the evidence of the resurrection, but it did not change their lives. They needed a meeting with the living Christ. (see 9) (same today!)
    5. Easter morning was the Father’s audible amen to all the claims of Jesus Christ.
      1. ​​​​​​​It declares God’s acceptance of His sacrifice. It reveals our power for life. It assures us of a present Friend. It anticipates our future Glory.
      2. Christianity then is trust in a Person; a Living Person; a Present Person; a Powerful Person.

Verses 16-20

  1. Intro: A World-Size Role for Global Christians
    1. Christ’s almost final words. Take serious. Marching orders.
      1. God doesn’t give direction for our lives for our consideration. God gives direction assuming participation, action, or obedience.
      1. He did not share with us the Great Consideration, nor the Great Contemplation. He gave us The Great Commandment & The Great Commission.
    1. So what is our Mandate? To cross a cultural barriers, to the un-churched, to present the gospel & make disciples & express the genuine love of Christ.
      1. Not all are called to be sent, but all are called to be apart of the discipling of the nations.
      2. God has a world-sized role for every Christian in His global purpose. Perspectives
  2. THE WORLD SIZE ROLE (16-20)
    1. THE MOUNTAIN (16)
    2. Jesus always keeps His appointments.
    3. THE MIX (17)
    4. Some doubted - The Greek verb used here implies hesitation or indecision, rather than unbelief. The disciples are struggling to comprehend what they are witnessing.
      1. Gave the great commission to doubters. Maybe they doubted God can use them? (it doesn’t say) Maybe you’ve doubt that God can use you?
    5. THE MANDATE (18-20)
    6. (msg) God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.
      1. ​​​​​​​In His Mandate He points to 3 Things: His Authority. His Assignment. His Assurance.
    7. JESUS’ AUTHORITY
      1. ​​​​​​​Matthew has emphasized this theme throughout his whole Gospel.
        1. Jesus has repeatedly demonstrated His authority over all things: Over the human body (disease, sickness, & healings). Over demons & Satan. Over the natural elements (such as wind and water). Over the Sabbath.He showed His authority in His teachings. In His forgiveness of sin. And now He shows His authority even over death itself.
    8. JESUS’ ASSIGNMENT
      1. ​​​​​​​Go - the present participle makes it going.
        1. It assumes you are going - make disciples...while you are going.
        2. Not all will be saved, but all deserve a chance to hear the Gospel.
      2. Our commission is not simply to win souls, it is to make disciples. Which includes winning them, bringing them into a Christian fellowship, & building them up in the faith.
        1. ​​​​​​​They were to reproduce themselves by going, baptizing, and teaching.
      3. Baptizing - a public signal of identification with Jesus and His kingdom.
    9. JESUS’ ASSURANCE
      1. ​​​​​​​Trinity - the formula is mysterious & even paradoxical, but it is in no way contradictory.
        1. Definition: There is 1 God & He subsists in 3 distinct persons (1 in essence/being, 3 in Persons).
          1. The Trinity doesn’t refer to parts of God or even to His roles.
          2. The doctrine of the Trinity doesn’t fully explain the mysterious character of God. Rather it sets boundaries outside of which we must not step.
          3. It defines limits within our finite reflection.
        2. Prove it: By showing 3 specific truths. [1] There is 1 God. [2] Father, Son, & Spirit are truly distinct persons. [3] Each has the essential attribute of Deity.
        3. Modalism <-- Trinitarianism --> Tritheism [modalism: I’m a father/son/husband]
        4. Note: they are each called God in Scripture. All 3 are involved in the resurrection. All 3 are involved in our sanctification. All 3 are involved in the baptism formula here (note name, not names).
      2. Lo, I am w/you always - We are able, only because He enables.
      3. Paul fulfilled the great commission in Acts 18.
        1. He went to Corinth (1). He baptized them (8). He taught them (11). He knew Jesus was with him (10).
  3. THE WORLD SIZE ROLE FOR CM
    1. ​​​​​​​A process is underway: Matthew Ellison, is a friend/missions coach/President of 16:15 from Albq, NM.
      1. We are looking backwards - Honoring our journey in missions thus far. Celebrating what God has done as we look in the rearview mirror.
      2. We are looking ahead - as we continue our journey, we anticipate the best is yet to come.
      3. We are looking around - as we are retooling, refocusing, & strengthening our vision. We are looking around at each of you, recognizing that each of us have a unique gifting and role to play in this.
      4. We are looking up - Attempt great things for God; Expect great things from God.
    2. If you want a taste of 1 of our Mission values. Strategic Priorities: Focusing our efforts & resources for deep & lasting impact. [shotgun to rifle] [1” deep & mile wide or 1’ wide & a mile deep]
    3. The Oreo has become the best-selling cookie in the US since its intro in 1912.
      1. Not sure where they got the name. One theory was from the Gk word Oreo, means beautiful, nice or well done. Others believe that the cookie was named Oreo because it was short and easy to pronounce.
      2. It is made up of 2 chocolate wafers with a sweet creme filling.
      3. One of its taglines is that it is Wonderfilled.
      4. This will sum up our outline this morning: a sweet creme filling that maybe you’ve never tasted before in Scripture. Sandwiched between 2 promise wafers.
    4. First, The Creme Filling
    5. Make disciples of all the nations - we’ve domesticated the gospel to...make disciples.
      1. ​​​​​​​We’ve missed...panta ta ethne / πάντα τὰ ἔθνη / of all the nations.
      2. Nations - don’t think of geo-political countries or nation-states like China, Syria, Iraq, Myanmar.
        1. Think of ethnic linguistic groupings: Language groups, people groups, ethnic clusters. [eg. (map) Kurdish people group: 30-45 million, w/no sov nation]
        2. They have a distinct language & culture, that makes the gospel difficult to spread naturally from one to the other.
    6. Illustration: Pancakes & Waffles.
      1. ​​​​​​​Pancake: If you start slowly pouring the syrup (the gospel) in the middle of the pancake (the world) eventually/hopefully it will saturate the whole pancake
        1. If the goal of the great commission was just to win as many people to Christ as possible...this will be a fitting analogy.
        2. But when we understand the marching orders are to all the nations, a more fitting illustration is a waffle.
      2. Waffle: Start slowly pouring the syrup (the gospel) in the middle of the waffle (the world) where every square represents each people group. What about the outer squares? They may not receive the syrup. And don’t you like the crispy edges the best (maybe God does too!).
    7. There are 11,751 different people groups in the world today. 11,751 squares in our waffle.
      1. 7,044 still unreached. Jesus is still unknown, unacknowledged, & unadored.
      2. Unreached - not like your unbelieving neighbor next door. As they have you/ access. Unreached, is someone with no access to the gospel. They couldn’t hear it if they wanted to.
    8. Does 7,044 sound too large to you? It’s doable.
      1. There are 4.5 million evangelical christian congregations in our world.(conserv #)
      2. This means there are 640 churches for every 1 unreached people group.
      3. 640 to 1 ratio. Yes, its difficult. Yes, some are in areas under regimes that are hostile to Christians. Yes, it will be costly.
      4. But what if even a small % of the 4.5 million of churches blessed 1 or 2 groups...to labor & pray & give & go until there is a growing reproducing church among that group.
    9. Ok, so what is our commission/mandate? to make disciples of all the nations, panta ta ethne. It’s not about reaching more people, but more peoples (tribes, tongues, & nations).
    10. Now How will we do it? With the 2 sandwich wafer promises: More Power/More Presence
    11. The promise of More Power (The Motive). Our mandate is based on it’s authority.
      1. The word therefore points back to the previous thought.
      2. We’re able to make disciples of all the nations, because of the power we go forward in. Our mandate is based on the greatness of Jesus Christ. Do you believe Jesus is great?
      3. So we do not go because people have needs (they do & they’re tremendous). But we go fundamentally because there is no one, absolutely no one, as great as King Jesus. We go because He is worth declaring, worth proclaiming, worth obeying. We go because Christ is great.
    12. The promise of More Presence (The Muscle). Lo, I am with you always.
      1. The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
      2. We don’t go for God...we go with Him.
        1. ​​​​​​​One missionary said, We went because we loved a people group. We stay because we love the Lord.
    13. Oh, and by the way...it IS going to happen. Rev.7:9,10 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes andheld palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
      1. ​​​​​​​Join Him in His family business :)
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 28". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-28.html. 2017.