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Matthew Chapter Twenty-eight


I. Content of the Chapter


Resurrection of the Lord:

I. The testimony of resurrection:

A. The time and witnesses of resurrection (v.1).

B. Angels spread glad tidings of resurrection (v.1-7).

C. The appearance of resurrection (v.8-10).

D. The lie against resurrection (v.11-15).

II. Resurrection is in power:

  A. They gathered together on the mountain of Galilee (v.16-17).

  B. The declaration of authority that the Lord had gained (v.18).

  C. The proclamation of the mission (v.19-20a).

  D. The promise of the Lord’s presence (v.20b).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Matt. 28:1 “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

   YLT: “And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre,”

   Literal Meaning: “after the Sabbath” It is “after” because the Sabbath ended at sunset of Saturday.

  “The first day of the week” There are seven days in the Jewish calendar and the seventh day is the Sabbath (See Gen. 2:2-3). Therefore the Sabbath is the last day of a weak and the day following the Sabbath is the beginning of another weak, i.e. Sunday and “the Lord’s day” of Christians today (See Rev. 1:10). The Jews called Sunday “the first day of the week” and Christians called Sunday “the Lord’s day” which is for the memorial of resurrection of the Lord Jesus (See Acts. 20:7; 1Cor. 16:2).

  “The other Mary” Please see the literal meaning of Matt. 26:61.

  “Came to see the tomb.” Their aim was to anoint the body of Jesus (See Mark. 16:1).

   Spiritual Meaning: “the first day of the week” symbolizes the beginning of a new dispensation. The Lord’s death and burial ended the old creation and the Lord’s resurrection brought in the new creation.

  “Began to dawn” symbolizes that the life of resurrection of the Lord breaks through the power of darkness and brings in the dayspring to those sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (See Matt. 4:16; Luke. 1:78-79).

  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” These two “Mary”s followed the Lord until the cross (See Matt. 27:56-57). They were the last to leave the tomb (See Matt. 27:61) and the first to come to the tomb and therefore they could represent those who are so attracted by the Lord’s love that they love and seek the Lord. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord Jesus rose on “the first day of the week”. It symbolizes that resurrection of Christ brings in a new starting; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new (2Cor. 5:17).

2) “Began to dawn” Whenever believers live in the old creation, they live in the shadow of night; whenever believers live in the new creation, they have spiritual daybreak.

3) The Lord Jesus raised the third day of His death (See Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19). However, in the work of re-creation in the beginning, God brought in life the third day (See Gen. 1:11-13). Therefore that the Lord raised the third day symbolized the manifestation of the life of God.

4) The Lord said that, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John. 11:25). The resurrection not only shows that He is the originator (See Acts. 3:15) but also shows that death is swallowed up of life (2Cor. 4:10-11; 5:4).


Matt. 28:2 “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

   YLT: “and lo, there came a great earthquake, for a messenger of the Lord, having come down out of heaven, having come, did roll away the stone from the door, and was sitting upon it,”

   Literal Meaning: “there was a great earthquake.” According to the records elsewhere of the Bible, v.2-4 in this chapter must state things that happened before women came to the tomb (See Mark. 16:2-6; Luke. 24:1-7; John. 20:1). Therefore when they came to the tomb, they saw soldiers fall on the ground and become like dead men and shining angels sit on the rock at the same time (See v.3-4).

  “An angel of the Lord descended from heaven” The angel announced glad tidings during the birth of the Lord (See Luke. 2:10) and the angel approved the fact when the Lord arose. Both things shook heaven and earth and therefore angels from heaven came to preach the news and they were saw and heard by men on earth.

  “Rolled back the stone from the door” The aim to roll the stone is to let women enter in (See v.6) instead of to let the Lord Jesus come out (because there is no need to do so for Him).

   Spiritual Meaning: “there was a great earthquake” symbolizes that the fact of resurrection shook the earthly power and the old creation was removed, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain (See Heb. 12:27).

  “Rolled back the stone from the door” symbolizes that the power of resurrection has removed all the obstacles and makes life be manifested.


Matt. 28:3 “His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

   YLT: “and his countenance was as lightning, and his clothing white as snow,”

   Spiritual Meaning: “His countenance was like lightning” symbolizes that it is full of the heavenly glory in the realm of resurrection.

  “His clothing as white as snow” symbolizes that everything is holy and bright in the realm of resurrection.


Matt. 28:4 “And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

   YLT: “and from the fear of him did the keepers shake, and they became as dead men.”

   Spiritual Meaning: “the guards” symbolize officers of dark Hades.

  This verse symbolizes that when the witness of resurrection (the angel) appeared, forces of darkness lost their power.


Matt. 28:5 “But the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

   YLT: “And the messenger answering said to the women, `Fear not ye, for I have known that Jesus, who hath been crucified, ye seek;”

   Spiritual Meaning: “women” symbolize believers who are of the Lord and love the Lord.

  This verse symbolizes that the message of resurrection brought in rejoice (See v.9) and comfort to those who are of the Lord.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “For I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.” If any man loves God, the same is “known” of Him (1Cor. 8:3).

2) As long as there is first a willing mind, it is accepted to Him (2Cor. 8:12).


Matt. 28:6 “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

   YLT: “he is not here, for he rose, as he said; come, see the place where the Lord was lying;”

   Literal Meaning: “He is risen, as He said.” When the Lord Jesus was alive, He told again and again to His disciples that He would be killed and raised up (See Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19). The Lord’s words never fail and things shall be even as it was said by the Lord. Moreover, the Old Testament (i.e. God’s words) which are said concerning the Lord Jesus that He must be risen from the dead must be fulfilled (See Luke. 24:44-46; Ps. 16:10; Acts. 13:34-35).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “He is not here.” Though He has been in the tomb, the tomb is not His terminal; all the same, we all shall die, however, death is not our terminal.

2) Death could not lock Him as the tomb cannot hold Him (See Acts. 2:24). Believers also cannot remain in the places of death. Since we have already had this life of resurrection, we should usually have the experience that “death is swallowed up of life”.

3) If Christ is not risen, then our faith is vain (1Cor. 15:14) because:

  a) The Lord Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection form the dead (Rom. 1:4).

  b) God has proved that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God to us His children, in that He has raised up Jesus (Acts. 13:33; Ps. 2:7).

  c) Jesus was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Rom. 4:25).

  d) If Christ is not raised, we are yet in our sins (1Cor. 15:17).

  e) Christ was risen from the dead, and became the first-fruits of the them that slept. Even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1Cor. 15:20-23).

  f) If believers won’t be risen, in this life we only have hope in Christ and we are of all men most miserable (1Cor. 15:19).


Matt. 28:7 “And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.’”

   YLT: “and having gone quickly, say ye to his disciples, that he rose from the dead; and lo, he doth go before you to Galilee, there ye shall see him; lo, I have told you.’”

   Literal Meaning: “He is going before you into Galilee” It is to remind the disciples what the Lord had said after the Feast of the Passover (See Matt. 26:32).

  “Behold, I have told you.” It shows that the instruction is very serious and women should do the things that were instructed to them well.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The witness of resurrection strengthens those who are of the Lord and makes them be firm (See 1Cor. 15:58). It also leads men to meet the Lord Himself. Therefore we should “go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead”.

2) The risen Christ is the common information of the angel and human beings. Those who are in heaven and on earth should try their best to declare Him.

3) The message of resurrection were unexpectedly told to the strong apostles by weak women------in the church we should learn to be humble and modestly receive spiritual provision from any brother or sister.

4) “He is going before you into Galilee.” The Lord, like a shepherd, walks in front of the folk of sheep. He is our forerunner and He shall bring many sons unto glory (See Heb. 2:10).

5) “Into Galilee” When the king of heaven was on this world, He started to work in Galilee of the Gentiles (See Matt. 4:12-17) instead of Jerusalem the Holy City. Today after His resurrection, He went to Galilee instead of Jerusalem, showing that He completely rejected the earthly Judaism and preached the salvation of the New Testament to the Gentiles.


Matt. 28:8 “So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

   YLT: “And having gone forth quickly from the tomb, with fear and great joy, they ran to tell to his disciples;”

   Literal Meaning: “with fear and great joy” They were with “fear” because the countenance of the angel is to be feared (See v.3-4); they were with “great joy” because the message from the angels is rejoicing that the Lord whom they loved was risen!

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) It is the greatest joy for believers to know and experience resurrection of Christ.

2) We should learn from women’s attitude of “going out quickly”; we should be anxious to share with other believers any knowledge or experience of the risen Christ.

3) “Ran to bring His disciples word” The risen Christ is the center of all information; how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of grace, and bring glad tidings of good things (Rom. 10:15).


Matt. 28:9 “And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, Rejoice!So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

   YLT: “and as they were going to tell to his disciples, then lo, Jesus met them, saying, `Hail!’ and they having come near, laid hold of his feet, and did bow to him.”

   The Background: “they came and held Him by the feet” “holding someone by the feet” is a ceremony for women in the land of Palestine to welcome distinguished guests.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) As long as we love the Lord like Mary Magdalene, the Lord must appear to us; loving the Lord is the prerequisite to meet the Lord.

2) The Lord’s appearing certainly will bring in us peace and rejoice and therefore the best way for us to receive more peace and rejoice is to love His appearing.

3) Only those who truly meet the Lord are able to worship Him sincerely (“they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him”)


Matt. 28:10 “Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’”

   YLT: “Then saith Jesus to them, `Fear ye not, go away, tell to my brethren that they may go away to Galilee, and there they shall see me.’”

   Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord here repeated the words of the angel (See v.5, 7), telling us that:

  a) The testimony which is truly of the Lord must be in complete accord with the Lord’s own words and the Lord is willing to restate and confirm it.

  b) The disciples had denied Him, forsook Him and fled because of weakness (See Matt. 26:56, 69-75), however, He did not forsake them because of this and contrarily He called them “brethren” (See John. 20:17; Heb. 2:11-12), showing His relation with them in the life of resurrection.

  c) Though it is the woman that brought death into this world (See the third chapter of Genesis), women also brought glad tidings of resurrection to the world.

  d) The Lord had told His disciples that: “after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” (See Matt. 26:32) and the Lord’s words must be fulfilled.


Matt. 28:11 “Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

   YLT: “And while they are going on, lo, certain of the watch having come to the city, told to the chief priests all the things that happened,”

   Literal Meaning: “reported to the chief priests all things that had happened” It shows that these soldiers were assigned temporarily from Pilate to the council to guard the tomb (See Matt. 26:65-66).


Matt. 28:12 “When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

   YLT: “and having been gathered together with the elders, counsel also having taken, they gave much money to the soldiers,”

Literal Meaning: “they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers.” The soldiers had not been punished for their dereliction of duty, showing that the chief priests and the elders trusted that the report of soldiers were true. Unfortunately, they did not fear because of this and on the contrary they purposely covered the fact of Christ’s resurrection.


Matt. 28:13 “saying, Tell them, His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.'

   YLT: “saying, `Say ye, that his disciples having come by night, stole him we being asleep;”

   Literal Meaning: “tell them” shows that the following lie was not made up by soldiers and soldiers were instigated to tell the lie by the priests and others.

  “At night…while we slept” It was the very serious sin for guard to neglect the duty because of “sleep” and they even may be put to death.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If the enemy could not use power to suppress the witness of Christ’s resurrection, it will use paradoxical deception to confuse and deceive all the people.

2) Night is the time for the forces of darkness to act wantonly. They are not permitted to “sleep” and they won’t “sleep”. Believers should awake out of sleep and live in the life of resurrection (See Rom. 13:11-12; Eph. 5:14) and then we are able to bear witness of the Lord’s resurrection and defeat the lie of the enemy.


Matt. 28:14 “And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’”

   YLT: “and if this be heard by the governor, we will persuade him, and you keep free from anxiety.’”

   Literal Meaning: this verse shows that the depraved religious believers and earthly politicians act in collusion and they make use of each other.


Matt. 28:15 “So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

   YLT: “And they, having received the money, did as they were taught, and this account was spread abroad among Jews till this day.”

   Literal Meaning: “until this day” “this day” indicates the time the book of Matthew was written. The words show that until several decades later, the Jews still used the saying that “the body was stolen” to resist the message that “Jesus was risen”.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If men deal with the Lord’s resurrection with lie, they will also deal with the Lord’s church and believers with lie (See Acts. 24:5-9; 25:7).

2) The whole world is false and it is against the truth: religious believers (the high priests and the elders) made up the lie, evil villains (soldiers) spread the lie, politicians (the governor) connived at the lie and the world (the Jews) received and spread the lie.

3) If the enemy cannot hold back the Lord from being risen, it would use lies to confuse and deceive men. From generation to generation, if Satan could not hold back men from hearing and believing in glad tidings with unyielding means, it would use cunning means to make men have false understanding towards glad tidings.

4) Mammon is opposed to God (See Matt. 6:24) and it could make Judas betray the Lord (See Matt. 26:14-16) and guard oppose the witness of the Lord. Believers should be completely divorced from the power of mammon and then we are able to bear witness of the Lord’s resurrection.


Matt. 28:16 “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

   YLT: “And the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mount where Jesus appointed them,”

   Literal Meaning: “the eleven disciples went away into Galilee” Judas betrayed the Lord and hanged himself (See Matt. 27:5). There were only eleven apostles before Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ overseership (See Acts. 1:26).

  “To the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them” In the book of Matthew, on the “mountain” the Lord proclaimed the law of the kingdom of heaven, showed the glory of the kingdom in advance, foretold the reality of the kingdom (See Matt. 5:1, 17:1, 24:3). Today, He also declared “the great mission” towards citizens of the kingdom of heaven after He was risen on the “mountain”.

   Spiritual Meaning: “eleven disciples” represent all Christians; “mountain” symbolizes the excellent and heavenly realm.

   Enlightenment in the Word: If we want to see and experience the risen Christ personally, we have to believe in His words and pay price and make great effort to reach higher and heavenly realm (“the mountain”).


Matt. 28:17 “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

   YLT: “and having seen him, they bowed to him, but some did waver.”

   Meaning of Words: “doubted”: duplicate, waver, question.

   Literal Meaning: though they saw Jesus with eyes, some still doubted, showing that the body of Jesus after resurrection is different from the flesh when He was alive. When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus face to face, she did not know that He is Jesus (See John. 20:14).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Wherefore henceforth we should not know men after the flesh (See 2Cor. 5:16) and we should never know Christ who has been risen from the dead according to the flesh.

2) We should pray to the Lord for the spiritual eyes------faith (See John. 20:29; 2Cor. 5:7; 1Pet. 1:8), that we may have the full knowledge of Him (See Eph. 1:17-18).


Matt. 28:18 “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

   YLT: “And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, `Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth;”

   Literal Meaning: the Lord Jesus, as “the Son of God”, already has the authority over all (See Heb. 1:3), however, as “the Son of Man”, He received “the authority in heaven and on earth” after He was risen from the dead.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Authority that men have today is temporary and limited and only the authority that is received in resurrection lasts forever and it is unlimited. Moreover, the authority in resurrection overcomes all authorities (See Num. 17:1-11; the rods of leaders of twelve tribes of Israel typified authority. Only the rod of Aaron was budded, typifying that He reigns in resurrection and therefore this authority overcomes all other authorities).

2) Authority is in the Lord; whenever men depart from the Lord, they lose the authority. 

3) If believers are dead with Him, they will not only live with Him but also reign together in the life of resurrection (See 2Tim. 2:11-12)

4) Christ not only receives the authority “in heaven”, but also receives the authority “on earth and under the earth”. Therefore none of difficulties is too difficult for Him to solve.


Matt. 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

   YLT: “having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,”

   Literal Meaning: “therefore” shows that the following instruction of the Lord Jesus is according to the authority that He had received in v.18.

  “Make disciples of all the nations” “Make disciples” means that not only to make men receive glad tidings and believe in Christ but also to train and teach them, that their reality (including life and knowledge) will be worthy of their identity.

  “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” “The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” are three persons, however, there is only one name. This sentence includes the truth of Trinity.

  “Baptizing them” It is to immerse them in water in the original.

   Spiritual Meaning: “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” The meaning of the baptism of Christians is different from “the baptism of John”. The baptism of John only leads men to repent (See Acts. 19:3-4), however, the baptism of Christians not only symbolizes that the original life of corruption of men is buried in water, but also positively means to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Name represents one’s reality and the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit represents the reality of the Holy Trinity. Therefore “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” means to bring men into the mysteriously spiritual union of the Holy Trinity------buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him (Col. 2:12) and you receive Christ’s life of resurrection. This life is the reality of the Holy Trinity and therefore believers have the mysterious union with the Holy Trinity in the life of resurrection.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Go therefore.” The Lord instructed His disciples to “go” by the authority that He had received (See v.18), this shows that anyone who is instructed to go is also with His authority.

2) When preaching, we should not only lead others believe in the Lord, but also take care and feed them after they have believed in the Lord, that they will become the Lord’s “disciples”.

3) Baptism should not be formalized and we should bring men to Christ and make them have relationship of life with the Holy Spirit.


Matt. 28:20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.

   YLT: “teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days till the full end of the age.’”

   Literal Meaning: “all things that I have commanded you” indicate all words that the Lord had taught the disciples, especially the mission that had been instructed to them at that moment. Concerning believers of later ages, it indicates all the words of the Holy Bible.

  “Teaching them to observe all things” “All” shows that our teachings should not be unilateral or extreme and should be comprehensive and balanced; “observe” shows that what’s essential is not the objective knowledge of truth but the subjective fulfillment of experience (See Matt. 7:24-25).

  “And lo, I am with you always.” “And” is the promise with requirement, showing that the prerequisite for us to have the Lord’s presence depends on whether we observe the previous three missions: a) make disciples of all the nations; b) baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; c) teach men to observe the words of the words.

  This sentence also implies that the Lord’s presence is the important fact to fulfill the mission that has been instructed to us by the Lord.

  “Even to the end of the age” “the end” in the original means “the completion” “the completion of the age”, i.e. even to the time when the Lord comes. From this we could know that the Lord’s final instruction to His disciples is also the final one to all believers.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The church should not only stress on the preaching of glad tidings and the church should teach believers to observe the Lord’s instruction.

2) The beginning of the church depends on that they continued stedfastly in the Apostles’ teaching (Acts. 2:42); the continuation and end of the church depends on teaching and admonishing one another (Col. 3:16).

3) The Lord is Emmanuel------God with us (See Matt. 1:23). While He was on earth, He was with His disciples in the flesh and today He is with believers in the Holy Spirit.

4) The Lord instructed us the mission with the “authority in heaven and on earth”; the Lord is also with us with the “authority in heaven and on earth”. Only when the Lord is with us will we be able to receive heavenly authority and only when the Lord is with us can we fulfill the mission that He had instructed to us.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Nature and Power of Resurrection

I. “The first day of the weak” (v.1)------the old creation was ended and the new creation was brought in.

II. “Began to dawn” (v.1)------heavenly light was brought in.

III. “There was a great earthquake” (v.2)------the earthly power was shaken.

IV. “An angel of the Lord descended from heaven” (v.2)------heavenly help was brought in.

V. “Rolled back the stone” (v.2)------the things that would block the manifestation of life were removed.

VI. “The guards shook for fear of him” (v.4)------He defeated the forces of darkness.

VII. “The angel said to the women, ‘do not be afraid’” (v.4)------heavenly comfort was brought in.

VIII. “He is not here” (v.6)------He is the one who cannot be held by death.

IX. “With great joy” (v.8)------ heavenly joy was brought in.

X. “Behold, Jesus met them” (v.9)------they received the Lord’s appearing.

XI. “Rejoicing” (v.9)------they received Christ’s peace.

XII. “They came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him” (v.9)------the true worship was brought in.


The Authenticity of Resurrection

I. Resurrection was declared and spread (v.2-7).

II. Resurrection was seen by those who loved the Lord (v.8-10).

III. Resurrection was reported by enemies (v.11).

IV. Resurrection was experienced and confirmed by believers (v.16-17).


The Foundation, Duty and Promise of the Great Mission

I. The foundation of the great mission------“the authority in heaven and on earth” (v.18).

II. Three duties of the great mission:

  A. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (v.19a)------go to be witnesses of the Lord all over the world (See Acts. 1:8) and make men believe on Jesus Christ.

  B. “Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (v.19b)------make men have union of life with the Holy Trinity through death and resurrection with the Lord (See Rom. 6:3-8).

  C. “Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (v.20)------make men receive edification in the words of the Lord and grow up to be sons and daughters who are acceptable to God. 

III. The promise of the great mission------“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (v.20b).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren