Matthew 28* Christ's resurrection. (1-8) He appears to the women. (9,10)Confession of the soldiers. (11-15) Christ's commission to hisdisciples. (16-20)1-8 Christ rose the third day after his death; that was thetime he had often spoken of. On the first day of the first weekGod commanded the light to shine out of darkness. On this daydid He who is the Light of the world, shine out of the darknessof the grave; and this day is from henceforward often mentionedin the New Testament, as the day which Christians religiouslyobserved in solemn assemblies, to the honour of Christ. Our LordJesus could have rolled back the stone by his own power, but hechose to have it done by an angel. The resurrection of Christ,as it is the joy of his friends, so it is the terror andconfusion of his enemies. The angel encouraged the women againsttheir fears. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid. Fear not ye, forhis resurrection will be your consolation. Our communion withhim must be spiritual, by faith in his word. When we are readyto 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 areabove. He is risen, as he said. Let us never think that strangewhich the word of Christ has told us to expect; whether thesufferings of this present time, or the glory that is to berevealed. It may have a good effect upon us, by faith to viewthe place where the Lord lay. Go quickly. It was good to bethere, but the servants of God have other work appointed. Publicusefulness must be chosen before the pleasure of secretcommunion with God. Tell the disciples, that they may becomforted under their present sorrows. Christ knows where hisdisciples dwell, and will visit them. Even to those at adistance from the plenty of the means of grace, he willgraciously manifest himself. The fear and the joy togetherquickened their pace. The disciples of Christ should be forwardto make known to each other their experiences of communion withtheir Lord; and should tell others what God has done for theirsouls. 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, moreshall be given. This interview with Christ was unexpected; butChrist was nigh them, and still is nigh us in the word. Thesalutation speaks the good-will of Christ to man, even since heentered upon his state of exaltation. It is the will of Christthat his people should be a cheerful, joyful people, and hisresurrection furnishes abundant matter for joy. Be not afraid.Christ rose from the dead, to silence his people's fears, andthere is enough in that to silence them. The disciples had justbefore shamefully deserted him in his sufferings; but, to showthat he could forgive, and to teach us to do so, he calls thembrethren. Notwithstanding his majesty and purity, and ourmeanness and unworthiness, he still condescends to callbelievers his brethren. 11-15 What wickedness is it which men will not be brought to bythe love of money! Here was large money given to the soldiersfor advancing that which they knew to be a lie, yet many grudgea little money for advancing what they know to be the truth. Letus never starve a good cause, when we see bad ones so liberallysupported. The priests undertook to secure them from the swordof Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the sword ofGod's justice, which hangs over the heads of those that love andmake a lie. Those men promise more than they can perform, whoundertake to save a man harmless in doing a wilful sin. But thisfalsehood 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; andcertainly if they had been asleep, they never would have daredto confess it; while the Jewish rulers would have been the firstto call for their punishment. Again, had there been any truth inthe report, the rulers would have prosecuted the apostles withseverity for it. The whole shows that the story was entirelyfalse. And we must not charge such things to the weakness of theunderstanding, but to the wickedness of the heart. God left themto expose their own course. The great argument to prove Christto be the Son of God, is his resurrection; and none could havemore convincing proofs of the truth of that than these soldiers;yet they took bribes to hinder others from believing. Theplainest evidence will not affect men, without the work of theHoly Spirit. 16-20 This evangelist passes over other appearances of Christ,recorded by Luke and John, and hastens to the most solemn; oneappointed before his death, and after his resurrection. All thatsee the Lord Jesus with an eye of faith, will worship him. Yetthe faith of the sincere may be very weak and wavering. ButChrist gave such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as madetheir faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissionedthe 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 arewelcome to Christ Jesus. Christianity is the religion of asinner who applies for salvation from deserved wrath and fromsin; he applies to the mercy of the Father, through theatonement of the incarnate Son, and by the sanctification of theHoly Spirit, and gives up himself to be the worshipper andservant of God, as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, threePersons but one God, in all his ordinances and commandments.Baptism is an outward sign of that inward washing, orsanctification of the Spirit, which seals and evidences thebeliever's justification. Let us examine ourselves, whether wereally possess the inward and spiritual grace of a death untosin, and a new birth unto righteousness, by which those who werethe children of wrath become the children of God. Believersshall have the constant presence of their Lord always; all days,every day. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which ourLord Jesus is not present with his churches and with hisministers; if there were, in that day, that hour, they would beundone. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God thathideth himself, but never a God at a distance. To these preciouswords Amen is added. Even so, Lord Jesus, be thou with us andall thy people; cause thy face to shine upon us, that thy waymay be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
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