Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.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.
Ch. Matthew 28:1-8. The Resurrection
Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18The 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.
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.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).
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.5. Fear not ye] The pronoun “ye” is emphatic in the original. A contrast with the alarm of the soldiers is implied.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.6. he is risen] As in ch. Matthew 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.
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.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. Matthew 26:32.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
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.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.
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 28:9-10). (3) To Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5). (4) To Cleophas and another on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). (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 21:1-24). (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 16:19-20; Luke 24:50; Acts 1:3-12; 1 Corinthians 15:7).
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.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.
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.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.
And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.13. while we slept] The penalty for which would be death.
And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.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. is 1 Corinthians 7:32, “I would have you without carefulness.”
So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.15. this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day] Hence St Matthew found it especially needful to narrate the true facts.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.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 Matthew 28:9-10 (8) (9)], besides the Eleven, awaited the coming of the Great Shepherd (Matthew 28:7). 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.
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.17. worshipped him] See note ch. Matthew 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. Matthew 14:31, and in these passages only in N. T.; there too the doubt is followed by adoration, Matthew 14:33.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.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. Matthew 11:27, and Php 2:8-10. 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.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: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. Matthew 13:52, Matthew 27:57, where the same word is used. Teaching, Matthew 28:20, = “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; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 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 (Acts 2:38), or the gift of the Holy Ghost follows the rite (Matthew 8:17, Matthew 19:6), or precedes it (Acts 10:44; Acts 10:47).
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.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. Matthew 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.