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Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 28

Golden Chain Commentary on the GospelsGolden Chain Commentary

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Verses 1-7

Ver 1. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.2. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.3. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:4. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.5. And the angel answered and said unto the women, "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.6. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.7. And go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you."

Pseudo-Chrys., Hom. de Resur., iii: After the mockings and scourgings, after the mingled draughts of vinegar and gall, the pains of the cross, and the wounds, and finally after death itself and Hades, there rose again from the grave a renewed flesh, there returned from obstruction a hidden life, health chained up in death broke forth, with fresh beauty from its ruin.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 24: Concerning the hour when the women came to the sepulchre there arises a question not to be overlooked. Matthew here says, "On the evening of the Sabbath." What then means that of Mark, "Very early in the morning, the first day of the week?" [Mark 16:2]

Truly Matthew, by naming the first part of the night, to wit, the evening, denotes the whole night in the end of which they come to the sepulchre. But seeing the Sabbath hindered them from doing this before, he designates the whole night by the earliest portion of it in which it became lawful for them to do whatever, during some period of the night, they designed to do.

Thus, "On the evening of the sabbath," is just the same as if he had said, On the night of the sabbath, i.e. the night which follows the day of the sabbath, which is sufficiently proved by the words which follow, "As it began to dawn towards the first day of the week." This could not be if we understood only the first portion of the night, its beginning, to be conveyed by the word, "evening." For the evening or beginning of the night does not "begin to dawn towards the first day of the week," but only the night which is concluded by the dawn.

And this is the usual mode of speaking in Holy Scripture, to express the whole by a part. By "evening" therefore he implied the night, in the end of which they came to the sepulchre.

Bede, Beda in loc.: Otherwise; It may be understood that they began to come in the evening, but that it was the dawn of the first day of the week when they reached the sepulchre; that is, that they prepared the spices for anointing the Lord’s body in the evening, but that they took them to the sepulchre in the morning. This has been so shortly described by Matthew, that it is not quite clear in his account, but the other Evangelists give the order more distinctly. The Lord was buried on the sixth day of the week, and the women returning from the sepulchre prepared spices and ointments as long as it was lawful to work; on the sabbath they rested, according to the commandment, as Luke plainly declares; and when the Sabbath was past and the evening was come, and the season of labour returned, with zealous devotion they proceeded to purchase such spices as they yet lacked, (this is implied in Mark’s words, "when the sabbath was past," that they might go and anoint Jesus, for which purpose they come early in the morning to the sepulchre.

Jerome: Or, otherwise; This apparent discrepancy in the Evangelists as to the times of their visits is no mark of falsehood, as wicked men urge, but shews the sedulous duty and attention of the women, often going and coming, and not enduring to be long absent from the sepulchre of their Lord.

Remig.: It is to be known that Matthew designs to hint to us a mystical meaning, of how great worthiness this most holy night drew from the noble conquest of death, and the Resurrection of Our Lord. With this purpose he says, "On the evening of the Sabbath." For whereas according to the wonted succession of the hours of the day, evening does not dawn towards day, but on the contrary darkens towards night, these words shew that the Lord shed, by the light of His resurrection joy and brilliance over the whole of this night.

Bede, Beda Hom. Aest. i: For from the beginning of the creation of the world until now, the course of time has followed this arrangement, that the day should go before the night, because man, fallen by sin from the light of paradise, has sunk into the darkness and misery of this world. But now most fitly night goes before day, when, through faith in the resurrection, we are brought back from the darkness of sin and the shadow of death to the light of life, by the bounty of Christ.

Chrysologus, Serm. 75 [ed. note: The Sermons of S. Peter of Ravenna, surnamed Chrysologus, are quoted in the Catena under the name, Severianus.]: Because the sabbath is illuminated, not taken away, by Christ, Who said, "I am not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it." [Matthew 5:17] It is illuminated that it may lighten into the Lord’s day, and shine forth in the Church, when it had hitherto burnt dim, and been obscured by the Jews in the Synagogue.

It follows, "Came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary," &c. Late runs woman for pardon, who had run early to sin; in paradise she had taken up unbelief, from the sepulchre she hastes to take up faith; she now hastens to snatch life from death, who had before snatched death from life. And it is not, They come, but "came," (in the singular,) for in mystery and not by accident, the two came under one name. She came, but altered; a woman, changed in life, not in name; in virtue, not in sex. The women go before the Apostles, bearing to the Lord’s sepulchre a type of the Churches; the two Marys, to wit.

For Mary is the name of Christ’s mother; and one name is twice repeated for two women, because herein is figured the Church coming out of the two nations, the Gentiles and the Jews, and being yet one. Mary came to the sepulchre, as to the womb of the resurrection, that Christ might be the second time born out of the sepulchre of faith, who after the flesh had been born of her womb; and that as a virgin had borne Him into this life present, so a sealed sepulchre might bring Him forth into life eternal. It is proof of Deity to have left a womb virgin after birth, and no less to have come forth in the body from a closed sepulchre.

Jerome: "And, behold, there was a great earthquake." Our Lord, Son at once of God and man, according to His two-fold nature of Godhead and of flesh, gives a sign one while of His greatness, another while of His lowliness. Thus, though now it was man who was crucified, and man who was buried, yet the things that were done around shew the Son of God.

Hil.: The earthquake is the might of the resurrection, when the sting of death being blunted, and its darkness illuminated, there is stirred up a quaking of the powers beneath, as the Lord of the heavenly powers rises again.

Chrys.: Or the earthquake was to rouse and waken the women, who had come to anoint the body; and as all these things were done in the night-time, it was probable that some of them had fallen asleep.

Bede: The earthquake at the Resurrection, as also at the Crucifixion, signifies that worldly hearts must be first moved to penitence by a health-giving fear through belief in His Passion and Resurrection.

Chrysol., Serm. 77 et 74: If the earth thus quaked when the Lord rose again to the pardon of the Saints, how will it quake when He shall rise again to the punishment of the wicked? As the Prophet speaks, "The earth trembled when the Lord rose again to judgment." [Psalms 76:8] And how will it endure the Lord’s presence, when it was unable to endure the presence of His Angel? "And the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven." For when Christ arose, death was destroyed, commerce with heaven is restored to things on the earth; and woman, who had of old held communication to death with the Devil, now holds communication to life with the Angel.

Hil.: This is an instance of the mercy of God the Father, to supply the ministry of heavenly power to the Son on His resurrection from the grave; and he is therefore the proclaimer of this first resurrection, that it may be heralded by some attendant token of the Father’s good pleasure.

Bede: Forasmuch as Christ is both God and man, therefore there lack not amidst the acts of His humanity the ministrations of Angels, due to Him as God. "And came and rolled back the stone;" not to open the door for the Lord to come forth, but to give evidence to men that He was already come forth. For He who as mortal had power to enter the world through the closed womb of a Virgin, He when become immortal, was able to depart out of the world by rising from a sealed sepulchre.

Remig.: The rolling back of the stone signifies the opening of Christ’s sacraments, which were covered by the letter of the Law. For the Law having been written on stones, is here denoted by the stone.

Chrysol., Serm. 74: He said not ’rolled,’ but "rolled back;" because the rolling to of the stone was a proof of death; the rolling it back asserted the resurrection. The order of things is changed; The Tomb devours death, and not the dead; the house of death becomes the mansion of life; a new law is imposed upon it, it receives a dead, and renders up a living, man.

It follows, "And sat thereon." He sat down, who was incapable of weariness; but sat as a teacher of the faith, a master of the Resurrection; upon the stone, that the firmness of his seat might assure the stedfastness of the believers; the Angel rested the foundations of the Faith upon that rock, on which Christ was to found His Church.

Or, by the stone of the sepulchre may be denoted death, under which we all lay; and by the Angel sitting thereon, is shewn that Christ hath by His might subdued death.

Bede: And rightly did the Angel appear standing, who proclaimed the Lord’s coming into the world, to shew that the Lord should come to vanquish the prince of this world. But the Herald of the Resurrection is related to have been seated, to shew that now He had overcome him that had the power of death, He had mounted the throne of the everlasting kingdom. He sate upon the stone, now rolled back, wherewith the mouth of the sepulchre had been closed, to teach that He by His might had burst the bonds of the tomb.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 24: It may disquiet some, how it is that according to Matthew though the Angel sate upon the stone after it had been rolled back from the sepulchre, whereas Mark says that the women having gone into the sepulchre, saw a young man sitting on the right hand. Either we may suppose that they saw two, and that Matthew has not mentioned him whom they saw within, nor Mark him whom they saw without the sepulchre; but that they heard from each severally what the Angels said concerning Jesus.

Or the words, "entering into the sepulchre," [Mark 16:5] may mean entering into some enclosed place, which probably there might be in front of the rock out of which the sepulchre was hewn; and thus it might be the same Angel whom they saw sitting on the right hand, whom Matthew describes as sitting on the stone which he had rolled back.

Chrysol., Serm. 75: The splendour of his countenance is distinct from the shining of his raiment; his countenance is compared to lightning, his raiment to snow; for the lightning is in heaven, snow on the earth; as the Prophet saith, "Praise the Lord from the earth; fire and hail, snow and vapours." [Psalms 148:7] Thus in the Angel’s countenance is preserved the splendour of his heavenly nature; in his raiment is shewn the grace of human communion. For the appearance of the Angel that talked with them is so ordered, that eyes of flesh might endure the still splendour of his robes, and by reason of his shining countenance they might tremble before the messenger of their Maker.

Chrysol., Serm. 77: But what means this raiment where there is no need of a covering? The Angel figures our dress, our shape, our likeness in the Resurrection, when man is sufficiently clothed by the splendour of his own body.

Jerome: The Angel in white raiment signifies the glory of His triumph.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxi, 4: Or otherwise; "Lightning" inspires terror; "snow" is an emblem of equity; and as the Almighty God is terrible to sinners and mild to the righteous, so this Angel is rightly a witness of His resurrection, and is exhibited with a countenance as lightning, and with raiment as snow, that by His presence He might terrify the wicked, and comfort the good; and so it follows, "And for fear of him the keepers did shake."

Raban.: These who had not the faith of love were shaken with a panic fear; and they who would not believe the truth of the resurrection "become" themselves "as dead men."

Chrysol., Serm. 75: For they kept watch over Him with a purpose of cruelty, not with the solicitude of affection. And no man can stand who is forsaken by his own conscience, or troubled with a sense of guilt. Hence the Angel confounds the wicked, and comforts the good.

Jerome: The guards lay like dead men in a trance of terror, but the Angel speaks comfort not to them, but to the women, saying, "Fear not ye;" as much as to say, Let them fear with whom unbelief abides; but do ye who seek the crucified Jesus hear that He has risen again, and has accomplished what He promised.

Chrysol., Serm. 77: For their faith had been bowed by the cruel storm of His Passion, so that they sought Him yet as crucified and dead; "I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified;" the weight of the trial had bent them to look for the Lord of heaven in the tomb, but, "He is not here."

Raban.: His fleshly presence, that is; for His spiritual presence is absent from no place. "He is risen, as he said."

Chrys.: As much as to say, If ye believe me not, remember His own words. And then follows further proof, when he adds, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay."

Jerome: That if my words fail to convince you, the empty tomb may.

Chrysol., Serm. 76: Thus the Angel first announces His name, declares His Cross, and confesses His Passion; but straightway proclaims Him risen and their Lord. An Angel after such sufferings, after the grave acknowledges Him Lord; how then shall man judge that the Godhead was diminished by the flesh, or that His Might failed in His Passion.

He says, "Which was crucified," and points out the place where the Lord was laid, that they should not think that it was another, and not the same, who had risen from the dead. And if the Lord reappears in the same flesh, and gives evidence of His resurrection, why should man suppose that he himself shall reappear in other flesh? Or why should a slave disdain his own flesh, seeing the Lord did not change ours?

Raban.: And this glad tiding is given not to you alone for the secret comfort of your own hearts, but ye must extend it to all who love Him; "Go quickly, and tell his disciples."

Chrysol., Serm. 77: As much as to say, Woman, now thou art healed, return to the man, and persuade him to faith, whom thou didst once persuade to treachery. Carry to man the proof of the Resurrection, to whom thou didst once carry counsel of destruction.

Chrys.: "And, behold, he shall go before you," that is, to save you from danger, lest fear should prevail over faith.

Jerome: Mystically; "He shall go before you into Galilee," that is, into the wallowing style [marg. note: volutabrum] of the Gentiles, where before was wandering and stumbling, and the foot had no firm and steady resting-place.

Bede: The Lord is rightly seen by His disciples in Galilee, forasmuch as He had already passed from death to life, from corruption to incorruption; for such is the interpretation of Galilee, ’Transmigration.’ Happy women! who merited to announce to the world the triumph of the Resurrection! More happy souls, who in the day of judgment, when the reprobate are smitten with terror, shall have merited to enter the joy of the blessed resurrection!

Verses 8-10

Ver 8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "All hail." And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.10. Then said Jesus unto them, "Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."

Hilary: The women having been comforted by the Angel, are straightway met by the Lord, that when they should proclaim His resurrection to the disciples, they should speak rather from Christ’s own mouth than from an Angel’s.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 23: "They departed forth of the tomb," that is, from that spot of the garden which was before the tomb hewn in the rock.

Jerome: A twofold feeling possessed the minds of the women, fear and joy; fear, at the greatness of the miracle; joy, in their desire of Him that was risen; but both added speed to their women’s steps, as it follows, "And did run to bring his disciples word." They went to the Apostles, that through them might be spread abroad the seed of the faith. They who thus desired, and who thus ran, merited to have their rising Lord come to meet them; whence it follows, "And, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail."

Raban.: Hereby He shewed that He will meet with His help all those who begin the ways of virtue, and enable them to attain to everlasting salvation.

Jerome: The women ought first to hear this "Hail," that the curse of the woman "Eve" may be removed in these women.

Chrysol., Serm. 76: That in these women is contained a full figure of the Church is shewn hereby, that Christ convinces His disciples when in doubt concerning the Resurrection, and confirms them when in fear; and when He meets them He does not terrify them by His power, but prevents them with the ardour of love. And Christ in His Church salutes Himself, for He has taken it into His own Body.

Aug.: We conclude that they had speech of Angels twice at the sepulchre; when they saw one Angel, of whom Matthew and Mark speak; and again when they saw two Angels, as Luke and John relate. And twice in like manner of the Lord; once at that time when Mary supposed Him to be "the gardener," [John 20:15] and now again when He met them in the way to confirm them by repetition, and to restore them from their faintness.

Chrysol.: Then Mary was not suffered to touch Him; now she has permission not only to touch, but to hold Him altogether; "they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."

Raban.: It was told above how He rose when the sepulchre was closed, to shew that that body which had been shut up therein dead, was now become immortal. He now offers His feet to be held by the women, to shew that He had real flesh, which can be to

Chrysol.: They hold Christ’s feet, who in the Church present the type of Evangelic preaching, and merit this privilege by their running to Him; and by faith so detain their Saviour’s footsteps, that they may come to the honour of His perfect Godhead. She is deservedly bid to "touch me not," who mourns her Lord upon earth, and so seeks Him dead in the tomb, as not to know that He reigns in heaven with the Father. This, that the same Mary, one while exalted to the summit of faith, touches Christ, and holds Him with entire and holy affection; and again, cast down in weakness of flesh, and womanly infirmity, doubts, undeserving to touch her Lord, causes us no difficulty.

For that is of mystery, this of her sex; that is of divine grace, this of human nature. And so also we, when we have knowledge of divine things, live unto God; when we are wise in human things, we are blinded by our own selves.

Chrysol., Serm. 80: They held His feet to shew that the head of Christ is the man, but that the woman is in Christ’s feet, and that it was given to them through Christ, not to go before, but to follow the man. Christ also repeats what the Angel had said, that what an Angel had made sure, Christ might make yet more sure. It follows, "Then saith Jesus unto them, Fear not."

Jerome: This may be always observed, both in the Old and New Testament, that when there is an appearance of any majestic person, the first thing done is to banish fear, that the mind being tranquillized may receive the things that are said.

Hilary: The same order as of old now followed in the reversal of our woe, that whereas death began from the female sex, the same should now first see the glory of the Resurrection, and be made the messenger thereof.

Whence the Lord adds, "Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there shall they see me."

Chrysol.: He calls them "brethren" whom He has made akin to His own body; "brethren" whom the generous Heir has made His co-heirs; "brethren," whom He has adopted to be sons of His own Father.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, ult: That the Lord, both by His own mouth, and by the Angel, directs them to seek for Him, not in that place in which He was to shew Himself first, but in Galilee, makes every believer anxious to understand in what mystery it is spoken. Galilee is interpreted ’transmigration,’ or ’revelation.’ [ed. note: According to the two different senses of the Hebrew root , ’migrating from a country,’ or ’revealing,’ both coming from the primitive notion of ’making bare.’]

And according to the first interpretation what meaning offers itself, save this, that the grace of Christ was to pass from the people of Israel to the Gentiles, who would not believe when the Apostles should preach the Gospel to them, unless the Lord Himself should first make ready their way in the hearts of men. This is the signification of that, "He shall go before you into Galilee. There shall ye see him," means, there shall ye find His members, there shall ye perceive His living Body in such as shall receive you. According to the other interpretation, ’revelation,’ it is to be understood, "ye shall see him" no longer in the form of a servant, but in that in which He is equal with the Father. That revelation will be the true Galilee, when "we shall be like him, and shall see him as he is." [John 3:2] That will be the blessed passing from this world to that eternity.

Verses 11-15

Ver 11. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the Chief Priests all the things that were done.12. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,13. Saying, "Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.14. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you."15. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Chrys., Hom. xc: Of the signs which were shewn around Christ, some were common to the whole world, as the darkness; some peculiar to the watch, as the wonderful apparition of Angels, and the earthquake, which were wrought for the soldiers’ sake, that they might be stunned with amazement, and bear testimony to the truth. For when truth is proclaimed by its adversaries, it adds to its brightness.

which befel now; "Some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the Chief Priests all the things that were done."

Raban.: Simple minds, and unlearned country-folk, often make manifest without guile the truth of a matter, as the thing is; but on the other hand, a crafty wickedness studies how to recommend falsehood by glosing words.

Jerome: Thus the Chief Priests, who ought to have been by this turned to penitence, and to seek Jesus risen, persevere in their wickedness, and convert the money which was given for the use of the Temple to the purchase of a lie, as before they had given thirty pieces of silver to the traitor Judas.

Chrysol.: Not content to have put the Master to death, they plot how they may destroy the disciples, and make the Master’s power matter of charge against His disciples. The soldiers indeed lost Him, the Jews missed Him, but the disciples carried Him away, not by theft, but by faith; by virtue, and not by fraud; by holiness, and not by wickedness; alive, and not dead.

Chrys.: How should the disciples carry Him away by stealth, men poor, and of no station, and who scarcely dared to shew themselves? They fled when afterwards they saw Christ alive, how, when He was dead, would they not have feared so great a multitude of soldiers? How were they to remove the door of the sepulchre? One might have done it unperceived by the guard. But a large stone was rolled to the mouth requiring many hands. And was not the seal thereon? And why did they not attempt it the first night, when there was none at the sepulchre? For it was on the Sabbath that they begged the body of Jesus.

Moreover, what mean these napkins which Peter sees laid here? Had the disciples stolen the Body, they would never have stripped it, both because it might so receive hurt, and cause unnecessary delay to themselves, and so expose them to be taken by the watch; especially since the Body and clothes were covered with myrrh, a glutinous spice, which would cause them to adhere.

The allegation of the theft then is improbable. So that their endeavours to conceal the Resurrection do but make it more manifest. For when they say, "His disciples stole the body," they confess that it is not in the sepulchre. And as they thus confess that they had not the Body, and as the watch, the sealing, and the fears of the disciples, make the theft improbable, there is seen evidence of the Resurrection not to be gainsaid.

Remig.: But if the guards slept, how saw they the theft? And if they saw it not, how could they witness thereto? So that what they desire to shew, they cannot shew.

Gloss., non occ.: That the fear of the Governor might not restrain them from this lie, they promise them impunity.

Chrys.: See how all are corrupted; Pilate persuaded; the people stirred up; the soldiers bribed; as it follows, "And they took the money, and did as they were instructed." If money prevailed with a disciple. so far as to make him become the betrayer of his Master, what wonder that the soldiers are overcome by it.

Hilary: The concealment of the Resurrection, and the false allegation of theft, is purchased by money; because by the honour of this world, which consists in money and desire, Christ’s glory is denied.

Raban.: But as the guilt of His blood, which they imprecated upon themselves and their children, presses them down with a heavy weight of sin, so the purchase of the lie, by which they deny the truth of the Resurrection, charges this guilt upon them for ever; as it follows, "And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

Chrysol.: "Among the Jews," not among the Christians; what in Judaea the Jew concealed by his gold, is by faith blazed abroad throughout the world.

Jerome: All who abuse to other purposes the money of the Temple, and the contributions for the use of the Church, purchasing with them their own pleasure, are like the Scribes and Priests who bought this lie, and the blood of the Saviour.

Verses 16-20

Ver 16. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Bede, Beda in Hom., non occ.: When Saint Matthew has vindicated the Lord’s Resurrection as declared by the Angel, he relates the vision of the Lord which the disciples had, "Then the eleven disciples went into Galilee into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them."

For when coming to His Passion the Lord had said to His disciples, "After I am risen I will go before you into Galilee;" [Matthew 26:32] and the Angel said the same to the women. Therefore the disciples obey the command of their Master. Eleven only go, for one had already perished.

Jerome: After His Resurrection, Jesus is seen and worshipped in the mountain in Galilee; though some doubt, their doubting confirms our faith.

Remig.: This is more fully told by Luke; how when the Lord after the Resurrection appeared to the disciples, in their terror they thought they saw a spirit.

Bede, Hom. Aest. in Fer., vi., Pasch. [ed note: This Homily of Bede (tom. vii, p. 12) is word for word, the same with the Commentary of Rabanus on this part of S. Matthew.]: The Lord appeared to them in the mountain to signify, that His Body which at His Birth He had taken of the common dust of the human race, He had by His Resurrection exalted above all earthly things; and to teach the faithful that if they desire there to see the height of His Resurrection, they must endeavour here to pass from low pleasures to high desires.

And He goes before His disciples into Galilee, because "Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept." [1 Corinthians 15:20] And they that are Christ’s follow Him, and pass in their order from death to life, contemplating Him as He appears with His proper Divinity. And it agrees with this that Galilee is interpreted ’revelation.’

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 25: But it is to be considered, how the Lord could be seen bodily in Galilee. For that it was not the day of the Resurrection is manifest; for He was seen that day in Jerusalem in the beginning of the night, as Luke and John evidently agree. Nor was it in the eight following days, after which John says that the Lord appeared to His disciples, and when Thomas first saw Him, who had not seen Him on the day of the Resurrection.

For if within these eight days the eleven had seen Him on a mountain in Galilee, Thomas, who was one of the eleven, could not have seen Him first after the eight days. Unless it be said, that the eleven there spoken of were eleven out of the general body of the disciples, and not the eleven Apostles.

But there is another difficulty. John having related that the Lord was seen not in the mountain, but at the sea of Tiberias, by seven who were fishing, adds, "This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples after he was risen from the dead. [John 21:14]

So that if we understand the Lord to have been seen within those eight days by eleven of the disciples, this manifestation at the sea of Tiberias will be the fourth, and not the third, appearance. Indeed, to understand John’s account at all it must be observed, that he computes not each appearance, but each day on which Jesus appeared, though He may have appeared more than once on the same day; as He did three times on the day of His Resurrection. We are then obliged to understand that this appearance to the eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee took place last of all.

In the four Evangelists we find in all ten distinct appearances of Our Lord after His Resurrection.

1. At the sepulchre to the women.

2. To the same women on their way back from the sepulchre.

3. To Peter.

4. To two disciples as they went into the country.

5. To many together in Jerusalem;

6. when Thomas was not with them.

7. At the sea of Tiberias.

8. At the mountain in Galilee, according to Matthew.

9. To the eleven as they sat at meat, because they should not again eat with Him upon earth, related by Mark. [Mark 16:14]

10. On the day of His Ascension, no longer on the earth, but raised aloft in a cloud, as related by both Mark and Luke.

But all is not written, as John confesses, for He had much conversation with them during forty days before His ascension, "being seen of them, and speaking unto them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." [Acts 1:3]

Remig.: The disciples then, when they saw Him, knew the Lord; and worshipped Him, bowing their faces to the ground. And He their affectionate and merciful Master, that He might take away all doubtfulness from their hearts, coming to them, strengthened them in their belief; as it follows, "And Jesus came and spake to them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

Jerome: Power is given to Him, Who but a little before was crucified, Who was buried, but Who afterwards rose again.

Bede: This He speaks not from the Deity coeternal with the Father, but from the Humanity which He took upon Him, according to which "He was made a little lower than the Angels." [Hebrews 2:9]Chrysol., Serm. 80: The Son of God conveyed to the Son of the Virgin, the God to the Man, the Deity to the Flesh, that which He had ever together with the Father.

Jerome: Power is given in heaven and in earth, that He who before reigned in heaven, should now reign on earth by the faith of the believers.

Remig.: What the Psalmist says of the Lord at His rising again, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands," [Psalms 8:6] this the Lord now says of Himself, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

And here it is to be noted, that even before His resurrection the Angels knew that they were subjected to the man Christ. Christ then desiring that it should be also known to men that all power was committed to Him in heaven and in earth, sent preachers to make known the word of life to all nations; whence it follows, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations."

Bede, Beda in Hom. non occ.: He who before His Passion had said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles," [Matthew 10:5] now, when rising from the dead, says, "Go and teach, all nations."

Hereby let the Jews be put to silence, who say that Christ’s coming is to be for their salvation only. Let the Donatists also blush, who, desiring to confine Christ to one place, have said that He is in Africa only, and not in other countries.

Jerome: They first then teach all nations, and when taught dip them in water. For it may not be that the body receive the sacrament of Baptism, unless the soul first receive the truth of the Faith. "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," that they whose Godhead is one should be conferred at once, to name this Trinity, being to name One God.

Chrysol, Serm. 80: Thus all nations are created a second time to salvation by that one and the same Power, which created them to being.

Jerome, Didymi Lib. ii, de Spir. Sanct.: And though some one there may be of so averse a spirit as to undertake to baptize in such sort as to omit one of these names, therein contradicting Christ Who ordained this for a law, his baptism will effect nothing; those who are baptized by him will not be at all delivered from their sins. From these words we gather how undivided is the substance of the Trinity, that the Father is verily the Father of the Son, and the Son verily the Son of the Father, and the Holy Spirit the Spirit of both the Father and the Son, and also the Spirit of wisdom and of truth, that is, of the Son of God. This then is the salvation of them that believe, and in this Trinity is wrought the perfect communication of ecclesiastical discipline.

Hilary, de Trin. ii, 1 &c: For what part of the salvation of men is there that is not contained in this Sacrament? All things are full and perfect, as proceeding from Him who is full and perfect. The nature of His relation is expressed in the title Father; but He is nothing but Father; for not after the manner of men does He derive from somewhat else that He is Father, being Himself Unbegotten, Eternal, and having the source of His being in Himself, known to none, save the Son.

The Son is the Offspring of the Unbegotten, One of the One, True of the True, Living of the Living, Perfect of the Perfect, Strength of Strength, Wisdom of Wisdom, Glory of Glory; the Image of the Unseen God, the Form of the Unbegotten Father.

Neither can the Holy Spirit be separated from the confession of the Father and the Son. And this consolation of our longing desires is absent from no place. He is the pledge of our hope in the effects of His gifts, He is the light of our minds, He shines in our souls.

These things as the heretics cannot change, they introduce into them their human explanations. As Sabellius who identifies the Father with the Son, thinking the distinction to be made rather in name than in person, and setting forth one and the same Person as both Father and Son. As Ebion, who deriving the beginning of His existence from Mary, makes Him not Man of God, but God of man. As the Arians, who derive the form, the power, and the wisdom of God out of nothing, and in time. What wonder then that men should have diverse opinions about the Holy Spirit, who thus rashly after their own pleasure create and change the Son, by whom that Spirit is bestowed?

Jerome: Observe the order of these injunctions. He bids the Apostles first to teach all nations, then to wash them with the sacrament of faith, and after faith and baptism then to teach them what things they ought to observe; "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

Raban.: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." [James 2:26]

Chrys.: And because what He had laid upon them was great, therefore to exalt their spirits He adds, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." As much as to say, Tell Me not of the difficulty of these things, seeing I am with you, Who can make all things easy. A like promise He often made to the Prophets in the Old Testament, to Jeremiah who pleaded his youth, to Moses, and to Ezekiel, when they would have shunned the office imposed upon them. And not with them only does He say that He will be, but with all who shall believe after them. For the Apostles were not to continue till the end of the world, but He says this to the faithful as to one body.

Raban.: Hence we understand that to the end of the world shall not be wanting those who shall be worthy of the Divine indwelling.

Chrys.: He brings before them the end of the world, that He may the more draw them on, and that they may not look merely to present inconveniences, but to the infinite goods to come. As much as to say, The grievous things which you shall undergo, terminate with this present life, seeing that even this world shall come to an end, but the good things which ye shall enjoy endure for ever.

Bede, Beda in Hom., non occ.: It is made a question how He says here, "I am with you," when we read elsewhere that He said, "I go unto him that sent me." [Jonah 16:5]

What is said of His human nature is distinct from what is said of His divine nature. He is going to His Father in His human nature, He abides With His disciples in that form in which He is equal with the Father. When He says, "to the end of the world," He expresses the infinite by the finite; for He who remains in this present world with His elect, protecting them, the same will continue with them after the end, rewarding them.

Jerome: He then who promises that He will be with His disciples to the end of the world, shews both that they shall live for ever, and that He will never depart from those that believe.

Leo, Serm., 72, 3: For by ascending into heaven He does not desert His adopted; but from above strengthens to endurance, those whom He invites upwards to glory. Of which glory may Christ make us partakers, Who is the King of glory, "God blessed for ever,"


Bibliographical Information
Aquinas, Thomas. "Commentary on Matthew 28". "Golden Chain Commentary on the Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcc/matthew-28.html.
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