Matthew 28

* Christ's resurrection. (1-8) He appears to the women. (9,10)

Confession of the soldiers. (11-15) Christ's commission to his

disciples. (16-20)

1-8 Christ rose the third day after his death; that was the

time he had often spoken of. On the first day of the first week

God commanded the light to shine out of darkness. On this day

did He who is the Light of the world, shine out of the darkness

of the grave; and this day is from henceforward often mentioned

in the New Testament, as the day which Christians religiously

observed in solemn assemblies, to the honour of Christ. Our Lord

Jesus could have rolled back the stone by his own power, but he

chose to have it done by an angel. The resurrection of Christ,

as it is the joy of his friends, so it is the terror and

confusion of his enemies. The angel encouraged the women against

their fears. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid. Fear not ye, for

his resurrection will be your consolation. Our communion with

him must be spiritual, by faith in his word. When we are ready

to make this world our home, and to say, It is good to be here,

then let us remember our Lord Jesus is not here, he is risen;

therefore let our hearts rise, and seek the things that are

above. He is risen, as he said. Let us never think that strange

which the word of Christ has told us to expect; whether the

sufferings of this present time, or the glory that is to be

revealed. It may have a good effect upon us, by faith to view

the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly. It was good to be

there, but the servants of God have other work appointed. Public

usefulness must be chosen before the pleasure of secret

communion with God. Tell the disciples, that they may be

comforted under their present sorrows. Christ knows where his

disciples dwell, and will visit them. Even to those at a

distance from the plenty of the means of grace, he will

graciously manifest himself. The fear and the joy together

quickened their pace. The disciples of Christ should be forward

to make known to each other their experiences of communion with

their Lord; and should tell others what God has done for their

9,10 God's gracious visits usually meet us in the way of duty;

and to those who use what they have for others' benefit, more

shall be given. This interview with Christ was unexpected; but

Christ was nigh them, and still is nigh us in the word. The

salutation speaks the good-will of Christ to man, even since he

entered upon his state of exaltation. It is the will of Christ

that his people should be a cheerful, joyful people, and his

resurrection furnishes abundant matter for joy. Be not afraid.

Christ rose from the dead, to silence his people's fears, and

there is enough in that to silence them. The disciples had just

before shamefully deserted him in his sufferings; but, to show

that he could forgive, and to teach us to do so, he calls them

brethren. Notwithstanding his majesty and purity, and our

meanness and unworthiness, he still condescends to call

believers his brethren.
11-15 What wickedness is it which men will not be brought to by

the love of money! Here was large money given to the soldiers

for advancing that which they knew to be a lie, yet many grudge

a little money for advancing what they know to be the truth. Let

us never starve a good cause, when we see bad ones so liberally

supported. The priests undertook to secure them from the sword

of Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the sword of

God's justice, which hangs over the heads of those that love and

make a lie. Those men promise more than they can perform, who

undertake to save a man harmless in doing a wilful sin. But this

falsehood disproved itself. Had the soldiers been all asleep,

they could not have known what passed. If any had been awake,

they would have roused the others and prevented the removal; and

certainly if they had been asleep, they never would have dared

to confess it; while the Jewish rulers would have been the first

to call for their punishment. Again, had there been any truth in

the report, the rulers would have prosecuted the apostles with

severity for it. The whole shows that the story was entirely

false. And we must not charge such things to the weakness of the

understanding, but to the wickedness of the heart. God left them

to expose their own course. The great argument to prove Christ

to be the Son of God, is his resurrection; and none could have

more convincing proofs of the truth of that than these soldiers;

yet they took bribes to hinder others from believing. The

plainest evidence will not affect men, without the work of the

Holy Spirit.
16-20 This evangelist passes over other appearances of Christ,

recorded by Luke and John, and hastens to the most solemn; one

appointed before his death, and after his resurrection. All that

see the Lord Jesus with an eye of faith, will worship him. Yet

the faith of the sincere may be very weak and wavering. But

Christ gave such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made

their faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissioned

the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations.

The salvation they were to preach, is a common salvation;

whoever will, let him come, and take the benefit; all are

welcome to Christ Jesus. Christianity is the religion of a

sinner who applies for salvation from deserved wrath and from

sin; he applies to the mercy of the Father, through the

atonement of the incarnate Son, and by the sanctification of the

Holy Spirit, and gives up himself to be the worshipper and

servant of God, as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three

Persons but one God, in all his ordinances and commandments.

Baptism is an outward sign of that inward washing, or

sanctification of the Spirit, which seals and evidences the

believer's justification. Let us examine ourselves, whether we

really possess the inward and spiritual grace of a death unto

sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, by which those who were

the children of wrath become the children of God. Believers

shall have the constant presence of their Lord always; all days,

every day. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our

Lord Jesus is not present with his churches and with his

ministers; if there were, in that day, that hour, they would be

undone. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God that

hideth himself, but never a God at a distance. To these precious

words Amen is added. Even so, Lord Jesus, be thou with us and

all thy people; cause thy face to shine upon us, that thy way

may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
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