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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary for Schools and Colleges

Matthew 28

Verses 1-99

Ch. 28: 1 8 . The Resurrection

Mark 16:1-41.16.8 ; Luke 24:1-42.24.12 ; John 20:1-43.20.18

The discrepancies are slight, and may be accounted for by the agitation of the witnesses of this momentous scene. To the women named in this Gospel St Mark adds Salome; St Luke, Joanna and other women; St John names Mary Magdalene only. St Luke and St John mention the visit of Peter to the sepulchre, St John adding “that other disciple.” This Evangelist also records the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene in the garden.

The order of events was probably this: First, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, having come early to the tomb, were addressed by the Angel and saw the empty sepulchre; they hasten to inform Peter and the other disciples; Peter and John visit the tomb and depart; Mary Magdalene, left alone, beholds her Lord, whom at first she does not recognise; soon afterwards the Lord appears a second time to Mary Magdalene, now in the company of other women.

1 . as it began to dawn ] At the rising of the sun, or properly, “when the sun had risen” (Mark). Both St Mark and St Luke mention that they brought spices and ointments.

2 . there was a great earthquake ] Peculiar to St Matthew.

the angel of the Lord ] “Two men stood by them in shining garments” (Luke). “Two angels in white sitting” (John).

5 . Fear not ye ] The pronoun “ye” is emphatic in the original. A contrast with the alarm of the soldiers is implied.

6 . he is risen ] As in ch. 27:64, He rose . So also in next verse.

see the place where the Lord lay ] In order that they might be convinced of the fact.

It is hardly possible for us even to conceive the overwhelming joy that the conviction of this truth must have brought to these holy women, whose recollection of the divine words and looks and love-inspiring sweetness of character would be quickened by the painful watching and the passionate sorrow for their seeming loss.

7 . tell his disciples ] “And Peter” (Mark). Peter, more than the rest, would be longing for the Lord’s return to win forgiveness.

he goeth before you into Galilee ] Lit., “ Leadeth you as a shepherd.” See ch. 26:32.

9, 10 . The Appearance of Jesus to Mary. Magdalene and the other Mary

Recorded by St Matthew only

Jesus had already appeared to Mary Magdalene alone . We must suppose that she was now joined by the other Mary, and perhaps by Salome, Joanna, and others; and while these were going to announce the great news to the rest of the disciples [Peter and John already knew] the Lord Jesus met them.

The following is a list of the different appearances of Jesus during the forty days: (1) To Mary Magdalene alone (John 20:14 foll.; Mark 16:9 ). (2) To Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and perhaps other women (Matthew 28:9 , Matthew 28:10 ). (3) To Peter (Luke 24:34 ; 1 Corinthians 15:5 ). (4) To Cleophas and another on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-42.24.35 ). (5) To the apostles, in the absence of Thomas, at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14 ; Luke 24:36 ; John 20:19 ). (6) To the eleven apostles at Jerusalem (John 20:26 ). (7) To seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-43.21.24 ). (8) To the eleven on the highland of Galilee (Matthew 28:16 ). (9) To five hundred brethren at once possibly the same appearance as 8 (1 Corinthians 15:6 ). (10) To James, the Lord’s brother (1 Corinthians 15:7 ). (11) To the eleven in the neighbourhood of the Holy City (Mark 16:19 , Mark 16:20 ; Luke 24:50 ; Acts 1:3-44.1.12 ; 1 Corinthians 15:7 ).

9 . as they went to tell his disciples ] These words are omitted in the best MSS.

All hail ] Literally, Rejoice; the Greek salutation, both on meeting and on parting.

10 . go tell my brethren that they go ] i. e. tell my brethren (of my Resurrection), in order that they may go.

my brethren ] The disciples; “He named them brethren, as being Himself a man and their kinsman according to man’s nature” (Euthymius quoted by Ellicott, Life of our Lord ); comp. Hebrews 2:11 , “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Now that Christ had clearly manifested the power of the Godhead, there was special need of reminding His disciples that He was still man, and that they were brethren.

11 15 . The Roman Guards are bribed. This important testimony is given by St Matthew only

12 . large money ] Literally, many pieces of silver , a largesse .

13 . while we slept ] The penalty for which would be death.

14 . persuade ] By bribes. Euripides says “they say that gifts persuade even gods.” ( Medea , 964.) The soldiers might readily believe that Pilate was open to the same inducement which persuaded them.

secure you ] “Make you free from anxiety.” The only other place where the word occurs in N. T. 1 Corinthians 7:32 , “I would have you without carefulness.”

15 . this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day ] Hence St Matthew found it especially needful to narrate the true facts.

16, 17 . Jesus appears to the Eleven in Galilee

Peculiar to St Matthew

16 . a mountain ] Rather, the mountain . Perhaps the highland behind Tell Hum or Capernaum (see map), the scene of their earliest intercourse with Christ, and the very spot where the New Law was first proclaimed. There the brethren, possibly five hundred in number [see vv. 9, 10 (8) (9)], besides the Eleven, awaited the coming of the Great Shepherd ( v. 7). As the sacred form appeared on the familiar mountain side they threw themselves on the ground, doing homage to their Lord and God. But some doubted still. Then He drew more near and spake. And as the words sounded in their ears, we may believe they “knew His voice” and dismissed their doubts.

had appointed ] Rather, appointed .

17 . worshipped him ] See note ch. 20:20. It is characteristic of St Matthew’s Gospel that this word, which indicates the homage and prostration before a king, should occur twelve times, whereas it is found twice only in each of the other Synoptics.

some ] Probably not some of the Apostles, but some of the five hundred who had not previously seen the Lord.

doubted ] The same word is used of St Peter’s doubt, ch. 14:31, and in these passages only in N. T.; there too the doubt is followed by adoration, v. 33.

18 20 . The Last Charge to the Apostles

18 . came ] Rather, came up to them , near to them.

power ] Rather, authority .

is given ] Properly, was given , cp. ch. 11:27, and Philippians 2:8-50.2.10 . These words, in which the infallible King Himself announces His eternal possession of the Kingdom, St Matthew, who is essentially the historian of the Kingdom, alone records.

19 . therefore ] i. e. because Christ hath all power in heaven and earth. The word however is omitted in the leading MSS.

teach ] Properly, make disciples of . The same mistranslation occurs Acts 14:21 , “having taught,” see ch. 13:52, 27:57, where the same word is used. Teaching, v. 20, = “instructing.” “Make disciples of all nations by baptism and by instruction.”

in the name ] Rather, into the name . Jewish proselytes were baptized into the name of the Father; Jesus adds the names of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. In the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts, 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, the name of Jesus Christ (or the Lord Jesus) alone occurs in the baptismal formula, but the promise of the Holy Ghost is given (2:38), or the gift of the Holy Ghost follows the rite (8:17, 19:6), or precedes it (10:44, 47).

20 . I am with you alway ] The Lord Jesus had already taught His disciples during the forty days how He could be present with them and yet be unseen by them. They could then the more easily believe this promise.

the end of the world ] See note ch. 13:39.

Amen ] Omitted in the leading MSS. The last words of St Matthew’s Gospel fall solemnly on the ear, the sense of the continual presence of Christ is not broken even by an account of the Ascension. No true subject can doubt that the King is enthroned in Heaven.

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 28". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cgt/matthew-28.html. 1896.