|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1-11 The word resurrection, usually points out our existence beyond the grave. Of the apostle's doctrine not a trace can be found in all the teaching of philosophers. The doctrine of Christ's death and resurrection, is the foundation of Christianity. Remove this, and all our hopes for eternity sink at once. And it is by holding this truth firm, that Christians stand in the day of trial, and are kept faithful to God. We believe in vain, unless we keep in the faith of the gospel. This truth is confirmed by Old Testament prophecies; and many saw Christ after he was risen. This apostle was highly favoured, but he always had a low opinion of himself, and expressed it. When sinners are, by Divine grace, turned into saints, God causes the remembrance of former sins to make them humble, diligent, and faithful. He ascribes to Divine grace all that was valuable in him. True believers, though not ignorant of what the Lord has done for, in, and by them, yet when they look at their whole conduct and their obligations, they are led to feel that none are so worthless as they are. All true Christians believe that Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead, is the sun and substance of Christianity. All the apostles agreed in this testimony; by this faith they lived, and in this faith they died.
Verse 6. - Above five hundred brethren at once. We cannot be certain whether this memorable appearance took place in Jerusalem or in Galilee. It is, however, most probable that this was the appearance on the mountain (Matthew 28:16, 17; comp. Matthew 26:32). Of whom the greater part remain unto this present. This sentence - a confident contemporary appeal to a very large number of living witnesses, by one who would rather have died than lied - is of the highest evidential value. It shows that the Resurrection was not "a thing done in a corner "(Acts 26:26). Fallen asleep. The beautiful and common word for death in the New Testament (Matthew 27:52; John 11:11; Acts 7:60, etc.). Hence the word "cemetery" - "a sleeping place."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,.... Not at, or near Jerusalem, for the number of the disciples that were together there, made but about an hundred and twenty, Acts 1:15 but in Galilee, where Christ, in the days of his flesh, had most chiefly conversed, most frequently preached and wrought his miracles, and where the number of his disciples and followers were very large: here he promised his disciples to go before them, and show himself to them after his resurrection, as he accordingly did, Matthew 26:32. And this being signified by the apostles to the brethren there, it is no wonder that there was such a number of them gathered on that occasion:
of whom the greater part remain unto this present; and so might be personally applied unto for the truth of this, was it necessary; it being but about five or six and twenty years ago at the writing of this epistle:
and some were fallen asleep; were dead, as it might be reasonably thought there were among so many, and in such a length of time; though doubtless these had surviving friends, relations, and acquaintance, to whom they had communicated this important case, and who were ready to attest what they had heard them in the most solemn manner declare.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. five hundred—This appearance was probably on the mountain (Tabor, according to tradition), in Galilee, when His most solemn and public appearance, according to His special promise, was vouchsafed (Mt 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16). He "appointed" this place, as one remote from Jerusalem, so that believers might assemble there more freely and securely. Alford's theory of Jerusalem being the scene, is improbable; as such a multitude of believers could not, with any safety, have met in one place in the metropolis, after His crucifixion there. The number of disciples (Ac 1:15) at Jerusalem shortly after, was one hundred and twenty, those in Galilee and elsewhere not being reckoned. Andronicus and Junius were, perhaps, of the number (Ro 16:7): they are said to be "among the apostles" (who all were witnesses of the resurrection, Ac 1:22).
remain unto this present—and, therefore, may be sifted thoroughly to ascertain the trustworthiness of their testimony.
fallen asleep—in the sure hope of awaking at the resurrection (Ac 7:60).
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