Bible Commentary

Matthew 28

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Matthew 28)

Verse 2

[2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

An angel of the Lord had rolled away the stone and sat upon it — St. Luke and St. John speak of two angels that appeared: but it seems as if only one of them had appeared sitting on the stone without the sepulchre, and then going into it, was seen with another angel, sitting, one where the head, the other where the feet of the body had lain.

Verse 6

[6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Come, see the place where the Lord lay — Probably in speaking he rose up, and going before the women into the sepulchre, said, Come, see the place. This clearly reconciles what St. John relates, John 20:12, this being one of the two angels there mentioned.

Verse 7

[7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

There shall ye see him — In his solemn appearance to them all together. But their gracious Lord would not be absent so long: he appeared to them several times before then.

Lo, I have told you — A solemn confirmation of what he had said.

Verse 9

[9] And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Hail — The word in its primary sense means, "Rejoice:" in its secondary and more usual meaning, "Happiness attend you."

Verse 10

[10] Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Go tell my brethren — I still own them as such, though they so lately disowned and forsook me.

Verse 13

[13] Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

Say, his disciples came by night, and stole him while we slept — Is it possible, that any man of sense should digest this poor, shallow inconsistency? If ye were awake, why did you let the disciples steal him? If asleep, how do you know they did?

Verse 16

[16] Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

To the mountain where Jesus had appointed them — This was probably Mount Tabor, where, (it is commonly supposed,) he had been before transfigured. It seems to have been here also, that he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once.

Verse 18

[18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

All power is given to me — Even as man. As God, he had all power from eternity.

Verse 19

[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Disciple all nations — Make them my disciples. This includes the whole design of Christ's commission. Baptizing and teaching are the two great branches of that general design. And these were to be determined by the circumstances of things; which made it necessary in baptizing adult Jews or heathens, to teach them before they were baptized; in discipling their children, to baptize them before they were taught; as the Jewish children in all ages were first circumcised, and after taught to do all God had commanded them. Mark 16:15.

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