Matthew 27:62-28:20 The Lord Is Alive

 
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            THE LORD IS ALIVE   
        Matthew 27:62-28:20         April 12 2009

    In the foregoing chapters, we saw the Captain of our
salvation engaged with the powers of darkness, attacked
by them, and vigorously attacking them; victory seemed
to hover between the combatants; nay, at length, it
inclined to the enemies’ side, and our Champion fell
before them; behold, God has delivered his strength into
captivity, and his glory into the enemies’ hand. Christ in
the grave is like the ark in Dagon’s temple; the powers
of darkness seemed to ride masters, but then the Lord
awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that
shouteth by reason of wine,(Psalms. 78:61,65). The
prince of our peace is in this chapter rallying again,
coming out of the grave, a Conqueror, yea, more than a
conqueror, leading captivity captive; though the ark be
a prisoner, Dagon falls before it, and it proves that none
is able to stand before the holy Lord God. Now the
resurrection of Christ being one of the main foundations
of our religion, it is requisite that we should have
infallible proofs of it; four of which proofs we have in
this chapter, which are but a few of many, for Luke and
John give a larger account of the proofs of Christ’s
 resurrection than Matthew and Mark do. Here is, The
testimony of the angel to Christ’s resurrection
(Matt.28:1-8). His appearance himself to the women
(Matt.28:9,10).  The confession of the adversaries that
were upon the guard (Matt.28:11-15).  Christ’s appearance
to the disciples in Galilee, and the commission he gave
them (Matt.28:16-20).

    1. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION. (Matt.28:1-8)

Matt. 28:1   After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of
the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look
at the tomb. 28:2   There was a violent earthquake, for an
angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to
the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 28:3   His
appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were
white as snow. 28:4   The guards were so afraid of him
that they shook and became like dead men. 28:5   The angel
said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you
are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  28:6   He is not
here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place
where he lay.  28:7   Then go quickly and tell his disciples:
‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into
Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
 28:8   So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid
yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

    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 souls.

    2. HE APPEARS TO THE WOMEN. (Matt.28:9,10)

Matt. 28:9   Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said.
They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
28:10   Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and
tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

    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.

    3. CONFESSION OF THE SOLDIERS. (Matt.28:11-15)

Matt. 28:11   While the women were on their way, some of
the guards went into the city and reported to the chief
priests everything that had happened. 28:12   When the chief
priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they
gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 28:13   telling
them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night
and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 28:14   If this
report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep
you out of trouble.”  28:15   So the soldiers took the money
and did as they were instructed. And this story has been
widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

    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.

    4. CHRIST’S COMMISSION TO HIS DISCIPLES.
        (Matt. 28:16-20)

Matt. 28:16   Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the
mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 28:17   When they
saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 28:18   Then
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on
earth has been given to me. 28:19   Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 28:20   and
teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And
surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    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.

        Summary:
        This evangelist passes over several other appearances
of Christ, recorded by Luke and John, and hastens to this,
which was of all other the most solemn, as being promised and
appointed again and again before his death, and after his
resurrection. Observe,
    How the disciples attended his appearance, according to the
appointment (Matt.28:16); They went into Galilee, a long journey
to go for one sight of Christ, but it was worth while. They had
seen him several times at Jerusalem, and yet they went into
Galilee, to see him there.
    Because he appointed them to do so. Though it seemed a
needless thing to go into Galilee, to see him whom they might
see at Jerusalem, especially when they must so soon come
back again to Jerusalem, before his ascension, yet they had
learned to obey Christ’s commands and not object against
them. Note, Those who would maintain communion with Christ,
must attend him there where he has appointed. Those who have
met him in one ordinance, must attend him in another; those
who have seen him at Jerusalem, must go to Galilee.
    Because that was to be a public and general meeting. They
had seen him themselves, and conversed with him in private,
but that should not excuse their attendance in a solemn
assembly, where many were to be gathered together to see
him. Note, Our communion with God in secret must not
supersede our attendance on public worship, as we have
opportunity; for God loves the gates of Zion, and so must we.
The place was a mountain in Galilee, probably the same
mountain on which he was transfigured. There they met, for
privacy, and perhaps to signify the exalted state into which
he was entered, and his advances toward the upper world.
    How they were affected with the appearance of Christ
to them, (Matt. 28:17). Now was the time that he was seen
of above five hundred brethren at once, (1Co. 15:6). Some
think that they saw him, at first, at some distance, above
in the air, ephtheµ epanoµ-He was seen above, of five
hundred brethren (so they read it); which gave occasion to
some to doubt, till he came nearer (Matt.28:18), and then
they were satisfied.