MatthewCHAPTER 28Verse 1-10April 8, 2012 Easter SundayFIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI Thomas by CaravaggioAnnouncements!"Praying For Our Jerusalem" Acts 1:8Praying For Our Jerusalem is a prayer effort by which we attempt to go into everyhome of our church family for the sole purpose of praying with the people in thathome. No gimmicks, no signing up for something, just to pray. Prayer Warriors will visitup to four homes and pray with our church family from April 1-30.
So what?What difference does the Resurrection make in my life today and tomorrow? 1. My past can be forgiven. 2. My present problems can be managed. 3. My future can be secure.Matthew 28:1-101 “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, MaryMagdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lorddescended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking forJesus Who has been crucified.6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He waslying.7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He isgoing ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to Hisdisciples.9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took holdof His feet and worshiped Him.10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren toleave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10Like every piece of good literature, Matthews gospel is not a random collection offacts or ideas or stories but has a specific plan and purpose. Chapter 28 is thepowerful climax of everything else Matthew had written about Christ under theguidance of the Holy Spirit.The central event of that climax, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is also the centralevent of Gods redemptive history.The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, and everything that we areand have and hope to be is predicated on its reality.There would be no Christianity if there were no resurrection.The message of Scripture has always been a message of resurrection hope, amessage that death is not the end for those who belong to God. For the believer,death has never been an end but rather a doorway that leads to eternity with God.
Abraham willingly obeyed Gods command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, because, in faith, "he considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead" (Heb 11:19). The psalmists declared, "God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He will receive me" (Ps 49:15) and that "with Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory" (Ps 73:24). Isaiah proclaimed, "Your dead will live; their corpses will rise" (Isa 26:19). Through Daniel the Lord assures His people that, although they die, one day they "will awake... to everlasting life" (Dan 12:2). Hosea assures believers that the Lord will raise up all believers to live before Him (Hos 6:2). Job asked rhetorically, "If a man dies, will he live again?" and then declared, "All the days of my struggle I will wait, until my change comes" (Job 14:14). That ancient man of God even foresaw the reality of resurrection, proclaiming to his three friends, Bildad in particular: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God" (Job 19:25-26).Such has been the promised hope of Gods people throughout history, a hopepredicated on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is His resurrection that guaranteesours. "Now Christ has been raised from the dead," Paul declares, "the first fruits ofthose who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came theresurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be madealive" (1 Cor 15:20-22).The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world!It is so foundational to Christianity that no one who denies it can be a true Christian.Without resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation, and no hope.“If there is no resurrection of the dead," Paul explains, "not even Christ has beenraised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also isvain" (1 Cor 15:13-14).A person who believes in a Christ who was not raised believes in a powerless Christ, adead Christ.If Christ did not rise from the dead, then no redemption was accomplished at thecross and "your faith is worthless," Paul goes on to say; "you are still in your sins" (v. 17).The foundation of all our hope is expressed in Jesus own words: "I am the resurrectionand the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies" (John 11:25), and,"Because I live, you shall live also" (14:19).
Although they reveal the same divine truths in perfect harmony with one another,each of the gospel writers presents the resurrection from a distinctive perspective.Matthew does not approach the resurrection from a scholarly, historical, analytical, orevidential perspective but focuses rather on the emotional reaction of a somewomen who loved Jesus deeply.Because Jews considered reference to "a day" as meaning any part of that day,Sunday was the third day of Jesus interment, the day which He had repeatedlypredicted would be the day of His resurrection.It is because of the resurrection that Christians worship on Sunday rather than on theSabbath.Matthew 28:11“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, MaryMagdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. Matthew 28:1Although they had witnessed Josephs and Nicodemus wrapping of Jesus body inthe linen cloths and spices, the women had secured and prepared their own spices(probably a small amount in comparison to that brought by Nicodemus) with whichthey would personally anoint the Lord. Although Salome, the mother of James andJohn and the wife of Zebedee and Joanna were also there, Matthew focuses only onthe two Marys. The other Mary was the mother of James and Joseph and the wife ofClopas. The women obviously thought Jesus would still be in the grave and wouldremain there, or else they would not have brought the anointing spices.They had not come to see Jesus risen but to look at the grave where they expectedHis body to still be lying. They had been among the women who ministered to Jesus inGalilee and who had stood with Him at the cross. Now they came to the gardenhoping that somehow the great stone could be removed so they could minister toHim one last time. But despite their lack of faith in Jesus promises to rise on the thirdday, they came to the tomb out of deep affection for their Lord.Jewish tradition wrongly held that the spirit of a dead person left the body four daysafter death because by that time the body had become so disfigured by decaythat the spirit could no longer recognize it. That tradition may be reflected inMarthas comment to Jesus about her brother, Lazarus: "Lord, by this time there willbe a stench, for he has been dead four days”. Perhaps the two Marys and the otherwomen came to Jesus grave with the intent of anointing His body one more timebefore His spirit departed from it.
Matthew 28:22 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lorddescended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” Matthew 28:2This was the second supernaturally caused earthquake in connection with Jesusdeath and burial, the first one having occurred at the moment of His death.God caused an earthquake on Mount Sinai just before He revealed the law to Moses(Ex 19:18) and on Mount Horeb when He revealed Himself to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11).In the end times He will also send numerous earthquakes (Joel 2:10; Matt 24:7; Rev6:12; 8:5; 11:13-19). Now, within three days, He caused two earthquakes just outsideJerusalem.The angel did not move the stone in order to let Jesus out of the tomb.If Jesus had the power to raise Himself from the dead, which He did (John 10:18), Hecertainly had the relatively minor power required to escape a sealed grave. As Hedemonstrated during several post resurrection appearances, just as He was no longerbound by death, He was no longer bound by the limitations of the physical world orof time. In His glorified form He could escape a closed grave just as easily as He couldenter a closed room.In comparing the gospel accounts, it becomes clear that Jesus had already left thetomb when the stone was rolled away.The angel moved the stone not to let Jesus out but to let the women and the apostlesin.Matthew 28:33 “And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” Matthew 28:3The description suggests that God transmitted some of His own Shekinah glory to theangel, just as He had transmitted a measure of it to Moses on Sinai when thecovenant was renewed (Ex 34:29). In a similar way, the angels glistening garmentthat was as white as snow suggests Gods purity and holiness. The angel bore the verycharacter of God in order to make clear to the observers not only that he was asupernatural messenger but that he was an agent of God and not Satan.Matthew 28:44 “The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.” Matthew 28:4
Shook translates a Greek term that has the same root as "earthquake" in verse 2,indicating that the soldiers experienced personal earthquakes of both mind andbody. But after a brief moment of shaking, they then became like dead men,paralyzed with fear. The idea seems to be that they not only became rigid butunconscious, completely traumatized by what they saw. The soldiers had goodreason to be afraid. Not only was the angels appearance terrifying in itself but,because they had been charged with protecting the grave, an empty tomb couldspell their death.Matthew 28:55 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking forJesus Who has been crucified.” Matthew 28:5Unlike the soldiers, the women had no reason to fear, and the angels first words weremeant to give them comfort and assurance. They had not come expecting to findJesus raised, but in His gracious mercy God overlooked their weak faith and their lackof understanding. Acknowledging their great love, God responded with great love,not condemnation.Matthew 28:66 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He waslying.” Matthew 28:6"He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said." Has risen translates a Greek aoristpassive and can also be rendered, "has been raised." Jesus Himself had power to giveup His life and to take it up again (John 10:18). But Scripture makes clear that He alsowas raised by the power of the Father (Rom 6:4; Gal 1:1; 1 Peter 1:3) and of the HolySpirit (Rom 8:11). The entire Trinity participated in the resurrection of Jesus!When Peter and John entered the tomb a short while later, they "beheld the linenwrappings lying there, and the face-cloth, which had been on His head, not lyingwith the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself" (John 20:6-7). The burialclothes were just as they were when Joseph and Nicodemus laid the body to rest,except for the face-cloth, which was set to one side. Jesus did not have to beunwrapped any more than He had to have the stone removed. At one moment Hewas encased in the linen, and the next He was free, leaving the wrappingsunchanged.While the women were in the tomb, another angel joined the first, "one at the head,and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying" (John 20:12). Theirpositions are reminiscent of the two golden cherubim who were on either side of theMercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:18). The two angels in the garden wereposted at either end of the tomb of Jesus, Who, by the sacrifice He had just made ofHis own life, became the true and eternal Mercy Seat for sinful mankind.
Matthew 28:77 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He isgoing ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:7The womens fascination must quickly turn to proclamation. They did not have time torevel in the marvelous reality of the Good News but were to go immediately andannounce it to the cowering disciples, who were still hiding in Jerusalem. It wouldseem more than justified for the Lord to have allowed the disciples to suffer in fear,despair, and agony for a week or so before telling them the Good News. They hadstubbornly refused to believe that Jesus would die and be raised, although He hadtold them of His death and resurrection many times. God is not interested in beating you up (Jesus took your beating for you) so don’t beat yourself up either.But in His gracious mercy God sent the women to tell the disciples as soon as possible,so they would not have to experience another moment of misery and grief. He didnot rebuke them for their lack of faith and for their cowardice but rather sent themmessengers with a gracious word of hope and comfort.One wonders why God chose to reveal the truth of the resurrection first to thosewomen rather than to the disciples. One commentator suggests that it was becauseGod chooses the weak to confound the strong. Another suggests the women wererewarded for their faithful service to the Lord in Galilee. Another holds that, becausedeath came by a woman in a garden, so new life was first announced to a woman ina garden. Others propose that it was because the deepest sorrow deserves thedeepest joy or that supreme love deserves supreme privilege. But Scripture offers nosuch explanations. It seems obvious that the women were the first to hear the angelicannouncement of the resurrection simply because they were there. Had the disciplesbeen there, they, too, would have heard the Good News directly from the angelrather than indirectly through the women. This is analogous to the reality that thecloser a believer stays to the Lord and to His work, the more he is going to witness andexperience the Lords power. Those who are there when the Lords people gather forworship and prayer, who are there when His Word is being taught, who are therewhen the lost are being won to Christ, who are there when others are being served inHis name, who are regular in their times of private prayer— those are the ones whowill most often experience firsthand the work of God.Matthew 28:7b7b “He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have toldyou.” Matthew 28:7bThe angels further instruction to the women was to tell Jesus disciples that "He isgoing before you into Galilee," Earlier in the week Jesus had told the elevenremaining disciples, "After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee" (Matt
26:32). Being both Jewish and Gentile, Galilee represented the world at large. It wasthere that Jesus began His ministry, in "Galilee of the Gentiles, " where "the peoplewho were sitting in darkness saw a great light" (Matt 4:15-16). It would also be inGalilee that the disciples would receive the Great Commission from the Lord to "gotherefore and make disciples of all the nations”. It was not that Jesus would firstappear to the disciples in Galilee, because He manifested Himself to them severaltimes before that. He appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus,to ten of the disciples as they were assembled on resurrection evening, to all elevendisciples eight days later, and to seven of the disciples as they were fishing in the Seaof Galilee. But Jesus supreme appearance to the disciples was to be in Galilee,where He "appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time" (1 Cor 15:6)and where He would commission the eleven to apostolic ministry.Matthew 28:8-98 And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to reportit to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they cameup and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Matthew 28:8-9As the women were on their way to report the angels message to the disciples, Jesusmet them and greeted them. Greeted translates chairete, a common greeting thatloosely rendered means something like “Hello" or “Good morning." It was the ordinarysalutation of the marketplace and of travelers who passed each other on the road.In other words the greeting was casual and ordinary, seemingly too mundane to beappropriate for such a momentous occasion. Yet the glorified Christ, Who had justfinished conquering sin and death, greeted those faithful women with warm, informaltenderness. As the writer of Hebrews assures us, "We do not have a high priest whocannot sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb 4:15). They now knew with certaintythat He was the risen Messiah, the divine Son of God, and that adoration and praisewere the only proper responses to His presence. They did what every person,unbeliever as well as believer, will do one day when He comes again, "every knee willbow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God theFather" (Phil 2:10-11).Matthew 28:10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leavefor Galilee, and there they shall see Me." Matthew 28:10Despite the disciples lack of faith, their cowardice, and their defection, the Lordgraciously spoke of them as His brethren. When they arrived in Galilee, they wouldsee Him again, and there they would experience a great convocation andcommissioning by the Lord.The basic truth of the resurrection under-girds a number of other truths. First, it gives evidence that the Word of God is totally true and reliable. Jesus rose from the dead precisely when and in the way He had predicted.