Matthew Chapter 28 Resurrection and Commission

Introduction to Chapter 28

  1. Matthew 28 shows the reader the nature of Jesus (God and man), his power, his right and authority, and his commission to his disciples.
  2. Note, too, that Jesus’ commission now includes all the world and not just Israel. Compare Matthew 10:1-8 and 15:24 with 28:19-20.
  3. Matthew succeeded in his purpose to demonstrate to Israel that Jesus is Messiah. Matthew demonstrated Jesus’ biblical heritage, his baptism, his call of disciples, his teaching and training his disciples, his sending the disciples to proclaim the messianic kingdom message, his own teaching and miracles, his prophecies, the rejection of Jesus and his kingdom, Jesus’ setting aside Israel and postponing the kingdom, his substitutionary death, his resurrection and post resurrection appearances, his commission to his disciples, and his ascension.

Outline of Matthew 28

  1. Jesus arises from the dead and soon talks with the two Mary’s (Matthew 28:1-10).
  2. The military guard reports that Jesus is missing from the grave and the plot (Matthew 28:11-15).
  3. Jesus commissions his disciples for the inter-advent ministry which is to make disciples from all the nations (Matthew 28:16-20).

Main points, and exposition of Matthew 28

  1. Jesus arises from the dead and soon talks with the two Mary’s (Matthew 28:1-10).
    • Matthew 28:1. Women were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome, and possibly Joanna (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:10).
    • Matthew 28:2. In verse two an earthquake is mentioned. This was a second earthquake in this context. The first was in Matthew 27:51-52. This quake was associated with the angel descending from heaven and rolling the stone from the entrance to the grave. There are 20 mentions of earthquakes in the Bible. The earthquakes in the Bible were related to God’s actions in history.
    • Matthew 28:5-8. The angel in white terrified the guards (Matthew 28:2-4). He spoke to the women about Jesus and said that Jesus had risen from the dead just as he said that he would. Jesus predicted his own resurrection. How does one do that unless he is God? The angel told the women to go and tell Jesus’ disciples that he had arisen from the dead.
    • Matthew 28:8. The women were both fearful and joyous. Fearful because of the miracle announced by the angel and joyful because Jesus was alive.
    • Matthew 28:9a. Jesus takes the initiative to greet the women. He wants them to know it is he and that he is alive just as he predicted. Jesus is building the faith of the women. Note that women are the center of this scene. They were the one seeking Jesus. They were the ones to who Jesus spoke first. In the ancient world women were not considered good legal witnesses. If and author was attempting to “fix” the story to make it more acceptable he would not have put this emphasis. Matthew wrote what happened and the way he wrote it increases the credibility of the narrative.
    • Matthew 28:9b. The women came up to Jesus touched his feet and worshipped him. They had to bow down to the ground to touch his feet. Matthew wrote that they worshipped Jesus when they bowed down to him. Worship is the Greek word proskunew. It means to prostrate oneself on the ground and kiss the foot of another. The Persians and Greeks did this to express in attitude and gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to another and to show allegiance. The women worshipped Jesus. They recognized him as Lord God and savior. We ought to do the same.
    • Matthew 28:10. Jesus then reminded them to not be afraid. What they were experiencing was really happening. It was true. He gave instructions to the women to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee. Again, women were/are large part of the historical narrative.
  2. The military guard reports that Jesus is missing from the grave and the plot (Matthew 28:11-15).
    • Matthew 28:11. While the women were finding he disciples, the guards went into Jerusalem and reported to the chief priests. Why go to the chief priests first? Because they were the ones who wanted the guard on the tomb (27:62-66). They were the ones who had the most to lose. The response of the chief priests indicates that they probably knew that God had intervened in some way. Matthew 27:42 reports their words, “we will believe in him” if he proves that he is Messiah. Resurrection will prove that and Jesus had predicted that he would arise. The religious leaders would not even consider resurrection. They went back on their word.
    • Matthew 28:12-16. The plot. The chief priests plotted that the disciples came while the soldiers were sleeping and stole Jesus’ body. If Sanhedrin had any evidence against disciples, they would have produced it and brought charges. The chief priests bribed the guards with a large amount of money (verse 12). If necessary the religious leaders would also bride Pilate. Matthew records that this fabricated story, this lie, this reconstructed history was widely spread at the time he wrote his gospel some 30 years later. It is still widely circulated today, though there is no more evidence to support the lie today than there was in AD 33.
      • If Sanhedrin had any evidence against disciples, they would have produced it and brought charges.
      • If the soldiers were asleep, how would they know that the disciples came and stole the body? If some were awake, why did they not sound the alarm? Guards who failed in their duty were executed (Acts 12.19).
      • Why would soldiers admit to sleeping on the job?
      • The disciples were afraid and discouraged at this time. They would not have risked their lives to open the grave (a crime) steal a dead body.
    • Jesus commissions his disciples for the inter-advent ministry which is to make disciples from all the nations (Matthew 28:16-20).
    • The mountain in Galilee is not identified. He meets them in Galilee, possibly to demonstrate that the ministry is now to the entire world. The ministry enlarges
    • Matthew 28:17. Jesus’ identity is known. The disciples worshipped him. The verb is proskunew as in verse 9. It is aorist active indicative for the action.
      • A theme of Matthew is the recognition that Jesus is Messiah-God. In Matthew 2:2 and 11 the magi worship Jesus. In Matthew 14:33, the disciples worship Jesus when he quieted the storm. In Matthew 28:9 the women worship Jesus. In Matthew 28:17 the disciples worshipped Jesus. The question for us now that we have the entire history, do we worship Jesus?
    • Matthew 28:18. Jesus’ authority is again revealed. All authority—authority over creation, people, nations, ideologies, everything. His authority now commands and provides for the future ministry.
    • Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus’ commission is to go and make disciples from all the nations. Baptizing and teaching are the way to do it. Baptizing is part of the disciple making because it was linked so closely to belief in the gospel. One who believed was baptized. Baptizing then refers to evangelism and the public demonstration of one’s faith. Teaching refers to the teaching of God’s message, God’s word. This is necessary for spiritual health, growth, and service.
      • Observe all things. This includes Jesus teaching whether clarification of the Law, Christian life teaching of the upper room discourse, and that which the Holy Spirit would bring to them later on.
    • Matthew 28:20, Jesus presence and provision is granted to his disciples.
      • “I am with you always.”
      • “Even to the end of the age.”
  3. So Whats?
    • Jesus is the Messiah of Old Testament predictions. He is the one the prophets wrote about and the Hebrew people were looking for. Israel did not accept him when he came, therefore God disciplined Israel by setting her aside until Jesus returns to earth at his second coming.
    • The biblical faith is real. The biblical faith is established in historical events that are evident to the world. Such events include the formation of the nation Israel, the lives of the prophets and kings, the birth of Jesus, the life of Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the lives of the apostles, and the founding and life of the church.
    • We worship Jesus—Messiah, God, Savior. Only God may be worshipped. Jesus accepted worship because he is God. Paul wrote in Philippians that God the father highly exalted Jesus and gave him the name above every name, Jesus, and every knee shall bow to Jesus and confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).
    • The strategy Jesus set for believers to follow during the inter-advent period is to make disciples. Believers do this by witnessing about the person and work of Jesus Christ and then by teaching God’s word. This is what we are to do.
    • Jesus’ authority was granted to all believers who will obey his command to make disciples. He is physically at the right hand of God the Father, but his granted authority as the one who gave the final command to make disciples should encourage and strengthen each believer.
    • Jesus links himself with Father and Holy Spirit. He is God, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.