Matthew 28:1 “…after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn…”
Has been and probably still is a great deal of question/debate over exactly what day Christ was crucified. This is due to a misunderstanding of how Jews refer to time as well as a lack of knowledge of the Passover, especially its origins. When that is considered, it is obvious that Christ was crucified on Friday and arose sometime after sunset on Saturday which would begin the third day. Here we have a reference to the fact that the night has passed and the daytime portion of the third day or Sunday is just beginning.
1 “…the other Mary…”
From Mark, this is believed to be Mary the mother of James and Joses. Seems every family had the same names.
2 “…there was a great earthquake…”
From harmonizing the other gospels with Matthew, it appears Matthew is letting us know this had happened at some point, not when the women arrived. The opening of the tomb occurred at some point during the night. The guards had probably left by this time as well.
6 “…Come, see the place where the Lord lay”
Come see that He is indeed gone. See the burial cloths that He left.
7 “…He is going before you into Galilee…”
His appearance in Galilee is announced, but from the other gospels He appeared to the disciples before He went to Galilee. Commentary suggests Christ did this due to the disciples’ lack of faith in what the women told them and of their own belief in His resurrection. Therefore, He appears to them in the upper room and later continues on to Galilee.
9 “…held Him by the feet…”
John’s account tells of the first appearance to Mary Magdalene in which Jesus tells her not to cling to Him. This is apparently afterwards, and the women’s exuberance at seeing Him was greater than their restraint. Really need to see a full harmonization to determine a timeline of events.
10 “…tell My brethren to go to Galilee…”
From John we learn that Peter has already seen the empty tomb, but doesn’t believe. So there was a hesitancy to do what Jesus instructed. It took His own appearance to get things going.
11 “…reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened”
Witness of non-believers. They didn’t see everything, but they saw enough. Yet the religious leaders aren’t going to change their direction regardless of the facts. Wonder what they would have done if Jesus had appeared to them directly. Wish He had dropped in right in the middle of the Sanhedrin meeting.
12-14 “…gave a large sum of money to the soldiers…stole Him away while we slept…we will appease him and make you secure”
My understanding is the guards could face a death sentence for admitting they were asleep and abandoned their post. They would have to be paid a good deal of money to risk their necks like this. Probably was the money plus the assurance of the leaders that they would appease Pilate on their behalf. Commentary brought out how foolish a story this was as how could they know what happened if they were indeed asleep while everything happened.
16 “…the eleven disciples went away into Galilee…”
Eventually got around to doing what Jesus told them to do.
17 “…but some doubted”
Even with Jesus Himself standing in front of them. If those who followed Him had trouble believing their own eyes, we can see why Jesus didn’t appear to the Sanhedrin. Obviously Jesus knew their hearts, but it’s hard for us to believe that people can be so hardened they can’t accept the truth when it stands before them.
18 “…All authority has been given to Me…”
He completed all things to have full authority. As John says in Revelation, the Lamb was found worthy to open the scrolls, to show what is to take place as He is Lord of all. Was His in the beginning, and is now His again as He purchased it all with His blood.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples…”
The active verb here is go. The English way of saying this is as you go or as you live your life make disciples of those you encounter. Certainly nothing wrong with going anywhere with the express purpose of sharing the gospel with someone, but I think we are fooled into non-action when we think that’s all there is. If we had the idea that we were going to live our lives as a witness to Him and take every opportunity to share Him with those we meet, we could probably have evangelized the whole world by now.
19 “…all the nations…”
To include all others besides the Jews. I’m glad the word nations is used rather than races. Only one race on this planet, the human race. Any differences in family groups are only physical attributes. What we try to blow up as such a large problem called racism is nothing more than petty prejudices.
19 “…baptizing them…”
A command to associate believers with the faith, not a part of actual salvation.
20 “…I am with you always…”
Promise we can hold on to. We don’t have to think He is going with us, He is already there.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.