The Lord in Matthew 28

Matthew 28  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The sabbath-day was ended. It was the night before the first day of the week. The women were there, the sabbath over, poor things, without any assignable cause, but they loved the Lord. The hope of embalming Him would have availed little with the keepers; but love could reckon on what seemed hopeless. Man was not to roll away the stone. Pleas of unbelief might have been raised. God acted by His angel, and Jesus manifestly was not there when it was rolled away. (Compare verse 6.). “He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Angels own Him their Lord, are witnesses to His resurrection, as ministers in His weakness and suffering; alway His due and ready servants, concerned in the speedy honor of Christ and comfort of His disciples; but they cannot go beyond their message or commission. In that they speak with authority.
Verse 7. The women, with instant thankfulness, or readiness of. obedience, with fear and great joy, run to tell His disciples. The account here is very brief, as of Jesus' death, merely taking in the facts together which apply themselves to the evidence of the immediate subject.
It would seem, then, that the Lord rose before the stone was removed by the angel, who was, for the satisfaction of the disciples, and a testimony to others that His appearance, was not delusive—a wonderful testimony to that wonderful change awaiting us. Here a summary only in connection with the immediate subject is manifest. No interview with the appearance is mentioned, save that in the mountain in Galilee, where, moreover, a spiritual commission is noticed. He was seen of them forty days, and conversed with them. John gives the apostolic meeting twice in Jerusalem and at the sea of Tiberias. There are other interviews in 1 Cor. 15, where we learn, too, that He was seen by above five hundred brethren at once. Matthew was at many of these in person; and this shows how entirely their accounts are matters of inspiration, and not merely the Holy Ghost aiding or directing the memory for things which, in such cases, Matthew might naturally have been expected to mention, be does not, but simply what puts the dispensation on its own basis as to this, the Spirit so dealing by Him. The Lord had left Jerusalem, and gives them, therefore, His word in His accustomed place with them, and putting them in the new commission there in the power He had now given Him to all nations, and He with them. They were now to disciple them all the Gentiles, gathering them in the new full revealed name, and He would be with them. Hence merely what is characteristic is synoptically related: the earthquake, angel speaking, Jesus speaking, and then meeting all His disciples in Galilee. Comparing accounts, we find all the disciples in great perplexity about it, no idea of resurrection. (So John 20; Luke 24:22, 2422Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; (Luke 24:22)
24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. (Luke 24:24)
.) Though some particulars may have been credited, no understanding or faith of the great fact.
First, then, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and probably some others—at any rate one—came to the sepulcher with spices, and to see the tomb. They found the stone rolled away. Mary Magdalene, who, in the first part, appears to have been alone, ran and told Peter and John, and they came to the sepulcher, and found it so, and returned home. The women go in, the angels address them, telling them He is risen. At this moment also Mary Magdalene seems to have been alone outside, weeping. The angel addressed her, and then, turning round, she saw and conversed with Jesus Himself, and receives a special message to the disciples. Jesus met all the women, who got a general message to the disciples, which they delivered.
The message of the angel here is to the women, thus generally, because given in fact to the women, Mary being then outside the sepulcher, and getting a particular word. She had gone off as soon as she saw the stone rolled away, merely saying, “They have taken away the Lord,” &c., and had then seen nothing of the angels. As the women went to tell the disciples, the Lord met them, and added His personal testimony to the angels. We learn from Mark that the Lord was first seen of Mary Magdalene: Peter and John having come on Mary's account, find it so, and go home, wondering at what had happened. They appear then to have received the fact that He was risen on seeing the sepulcher, but to have seen nothing of God's mind in the scripture concerning it. Jesus had not yet opened their understanding to understand the scriptures, nor breathed the Spirit into them by which they could, though they might credit what they saw and heard from His month. Mary had returned to the sepulcher, and stood without, weeping. Then the angels appeared to them, and spoke; they do not, from John, seem to have appeared to Peter and John at all. They spoke to Mary without, she, stooping down and looking in, repeated the words used to Peter, only “I” for “we.” Others had gone with others, and she mentioned common ignorance; for then no angel seen, and no message. Now she repeats her own anxiety, being alone. All the angel had yet said was, “Why weepest thou?” Having answered, she turns, and sees Jesus, who, to the same question, adds the awakening suggestion, “Whom seekest thou?” and she makes a reply which shows the profoundest ignorance, but love withal. Jesus names her, His own loved but far wandered sheep, by name, and who so loved could be ignorant of that voice? All was told at once, and Jesus—His heart of love makes her the messenger to His brethren (strictly Jews)—her, the chief of sinners, possessed with Satan's full power, seven demons. Mary goes and tells the brethren that she had seen the Lord, and that He said these things.
The women, whoever they had been, when Mary went away the first time, go into the sepulcher, and then the angel says, “Fear not, I know that ye seek Jesus,” &c. As they went, they also meet Jesus, and received the message from Him to the disciples, and returned with it to them. Mark 16:99Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9), compared with John, makes all plain, and shows the order, the only omitted circumstance being where the women were subsequent to Mary's going away and her returning again. They appear not to have had the energy, without love, to do anything, but to, have returned, and were blessed subsequently. Their messages then were not believed by the apostles. Meanwhile, in the course of that day, He appeared to Peter, also to the two going to Emmaus. When these came back, they found the apostles gathered, occupied with the application to Peter, but much incredulity in their minds, though Peter's testimony had weight, but no real faith in the matter. The statement of the two returned disciples did little; their testimony was not believed. Thus gathered, and brought to this point, they have Jesus Himself appearing in their midst, shut up for fear of Jews, and then, or previously at supper. Even then, till He ate, they believed not, for joy. John and Luke give the contrast of real state. For as yet they understood not the scripture, and then opened He their understanding, &c. This done, they saw the mind of God, and believed, on the authority of God's word, in the resurrection. When the two reached Emmaus, it was towards evening, and the day was far spent. After this they had seven and a half miles to return, so that it was late when they came in; and as they were speaking of these things together—I suppose at their evening meal, Jesus appeared, and ate of the remains of that meal, the broiled fish and honeycomb; and then He spoke what is given in Luke and John. All saw, Thomas being there.
When the women went to tell the disciples, the soldiers recovered from their alarm (occasioned by the angel, earthquake, rolling away of stone, &c.) The fact being now manifestly known, and they hindered by its character from arresting the women, go to tell the chief priests what had happened. It is not said that all left the tomb, nor did it matter where they went. I observe that these chief priests are always holding a council.
There is no single inquiry of the will of God, but the wisdom of this world, to gain their ends. Their opposition to the Lord was deliberate and willful. They knew from their own guard what had happened, and if they could give but thirty pieces of silver for the Lord, as His utmost worth, they would furnish much money to evade the evidence that He was risen, and discredit Him when the need arose. They spread their report. The Lord's testimony puts us behind the scenes. The eleven went to Galilee. Here it was Peter went a fishing—active-minded Peter! They met at the mountain where the Lord had appointed, and, seeing, they worshipped Him, but some doubted. So constant and strong their unbelief—the heart of unbelief in all. Then, however, Jesus met them, and, in speaking, stated the entirely new ground on which His present commission to them tested—not Messiah's authority over the Jewish peoples whatever gathering may have been to that, but the wide-spread and universal authority of the risen Son of man, due by virtue of His death, which alone redeemed them to God; and vindicated His character, and to which He had creation's title, though thus taken as Heir of them all, as Son of God. Here, however, He speaks of authority given to Him which is as Son of man, given Him in heaven and on earth. The heathen were His inheritance. They were to go and call all nations unto the obedience of faith. Heretofore He had, as the Seed of David after the flesh, presented Himself to Israel, and was sent but to them. Now He was declared to be the Son of God with power, and the isles were to wait for His law.
There are four different commissions in the Gospel directed to each. Here it is the exaltation of Messiah to all power in heaven and earth, and the consequent commission to disciple all the Gentiles, in contrast with the mission in chapter 10. Now His exaltation, through the rejection of Him, took a wider scope, the result of Israel's rejection of Him. They were accordingly to baptize the Gentiles, not into John's or even Messiah's baptism, but into what was fully revealed by His death and resurrection—the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This was the position. and unfolded fellowship with God into which they were brought, both for God's display of Himself and the economy of grace, not Jehovah and Messiah, but Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, paramount and superior to all previous, and all the unfolded fullness of the Godhead, in fellowship with the glorified Lord, and the Holy Ghost dwelling in them. Mark, being more expressly the ministry of Christ, gives not the outreaching power of dispensation now opened by His death, and founded on the place of power where He was, but the new power of ministry itself, and its consequences. “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature [or the whole creation]” —(compare Rom. 1; Col. 1:16-2316For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Colossians 1:16‑23))—though there is the ministry of the church also here.
In Luke, suitably to that Gospel, we have not the economical scope of the Gospel, or its result, but its moral subject and scope, involving withal therein Jew and Gentile alike as sinners For Luke looks at man. (Chap. 24:46, 47.) In John, as the Sonship of Jesus is the great truth, who He was in person, the authority and power of His person in mission was the thing brought forward. (Chap. 20: 21-23.) We have the authority of the Sender from His person, title, and work. It was authority delegated in grace.