Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Matthew's Gospel Studies|
Chapter: Matthew 28
Passage: Matthew 28:1-7
A. Find Out:
1. Who went where and when? v.1
2. Who appeared to do what, appearing like what? v.2,3
3. What effect did this have on the guards? v.4
4. Yet what did he say to the woman? v.5
5. What news did he then convey? v.6
6. What did he tell them to do, and why? v.7
Matthew allows us no room to suppose that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a mere human event, possibly Jesus not having died but being revived and then helped by the disciples! Yes some of the women are involved here but only as onlookers. Observe the details of Matthew's account.
First there is an earthquake. A slight coincidence that it should happen at the moment the women come along? But the source of this “earthquake” is declared by Matthew not to be a mere grumbling of the ground but a consequence of the presence of heaven come down in the form of an angel. It is the angel who rolls back the massive stone that sealed the tomb, and then sits on as if to make his claim on this event, as if to say “I did this!”. This being is not only terribly powerful but he also has the fearful glow of heaven about him, so bright it's almost too bright to look at. The impact of his presence on the guards is laughable. There is no question as to who he is; they are terrified!
But as with all messengers from heaven, he comes with care and concern for the people of God. He reassures the women and then reveals the divine strategy: Jesus who has now risen will shortly be going up to Galilee to continue with his disciples.
Chapter: Matthew 28
Passage: Matthew 28:8-15
A. Find Out:
1. How did the women leave the tomb? v.8
2. Who did they encounter & how did they respond to him? v.9
3. What did he instruct them to do? v.10
4. Meanwhile what were the guards doing? v.11
5. Who told them to say what? v.12,13
6. How were they reassured? v.14
What seems surprising from Matthew's account is how little he records of Jesus' resurrection appearances. It is almost as if he takes the whole thing for granted that he just gives a bare outline of what happened. Perhaps in his writing he knew that Jesus' resurrection was not disputed among the early church and so it didn't need to be detailed in any big way. He simply recounts, very briefly the women meeting with Jesus and Jesus instructing them. For Matthew it is almost as if he is answering a detractor's question, “Why wasn't Jesus seen much in Jerusalem before he ascended?”. So, Matthew tells us that both the angel and Jesus announced his plan to take his disciples back up to Galilee where he could teach them, undisturbed by the religious leaders based at Jerusalem.
Matthew also tells us why is was that the Jews believed in a grave snatching solution to the problem of the disappearing body. These ungodly and unrighteous leaders continued as they had done before. If they had broken the law in trying and crucifying Jesus, what is a little lying and bribery to cover up the truth.
Chapter: Matthew 28
Passage: Matthew 28:16-20
A. Find Out:
1. Where did the twelve go and why? v.16
2. What mixed reactions were there to Jesus? v.17
3. What did Jesus say about himself? v.18
4. What did he tell them to do? v.19,20a
5. What final encouragement did he give them? v.20b
The remaining eleven key disciples (don't forget there were in fact many more disciples than just the eleven) go back up to Galilee as they have been instructed and there they encounter Jesus. Matthew's account is brief and perhaps that may be one of the reasons John later wrote, giving a more detailed account of what happened up there. Matthew is the one who seeks to show Jesus as the Messianic king and so he closes his Gospel with these vitally important words.
First, note that Jesus now claims that (by implication) through the work of the Cross all authority to rule has now been given to him by the Father. He is now the supreme ruler on earth! Believe it!
Second, note that he says he'll be with them always, yet within a few weeks he ascends into heaven. Pentecost was surely the outpouring of the very presence of Jesus in the form of his own Holy Spirit. He is with us - in us!
Finally, note his final instructions, what the disciples are to do: they are to carry on the work he had started and make disciples of people from all nations. As people came to him the existing disciples were to baptise the new disciples, just as he had done with them previously, and they were to teach them, just as he had done.
RECAP: "Resurrection" - Matthew 28
In this final group of 3 studies we have seen :
And so the story comes to an end. But what an end! The body which was clearly dead and buried is released. An earthquake and an angel are involved and then Jesus shows himself to the women and then to the rest of the disciples. He is alive! That is the end of the story as far as Matthew is concerned, and now the disciples have to take the message across the road. But meanwhile, a lie is being perpetrated – the body was stolen by the disciples. The sin of man carries on. For us of course, the ongoing history and the lives (and deaths) of the disciples counter that. No way could they have lived and done the things they did if they were living a lie. No, they knew the truth – he is alive! He's ascended and he's ruling at his father's right hand in heaven! Hallelujah!
1. With God all things are possible.
2. Death is not the end. God is the God of resurrection!
3. Seekers who go looking for Jesus find the risen Lord.
4. This is good news worth telling.
5. There is a world that needs to hear it.
Thank the Lord that death could not hold him. Thank him that he is risen, ascended and ruling! He is the Lord. Worship him! Ask the Lord to help you be a faithful witness to the truth of the resurrection, to the Good News that Jesus died for our sins but is risen again!
SECTION SUMMARY - Matthew 25 - 28
SECTION CONCLUSION - MATTHEW 25 - 28
As we come to the end of this of studies, the following may be some of the things we may wish to consider further:
1. The Lordship of Jesus
Throughout these chapters one thing stands out so clearly: Jesus knows exactly what is going on. His teaching was evangelistic to the world about being ready for his return ( Ch. 25). His words to his closest disciples indicate that he knows he is about to be crucified (26:2). When he is anointed he sees it as preparing his body for death (26:12). At the Last Supper he predicts his betrayal by Judas (26:23-25), the disciples falling away (26:31) and his denial by Peter (26:34). In Gethsemane he knows he is about to be arrested (26:45,46) and stops his disciples resisting the arresting force (26:52-56). Before the Sanhedrin he confesses he is the Christ, knowing it will provoke them (26:64). Before Pilate he refuses to defend himself (27:14).
Question: If Jesus was in complete control of the awful circumstances that were forcing themselves on him through sinful men, isn't he in control, in the same way, of your life?
2. The Sinfulness of Mankind
If the total understanding and control of what was happening by Jesus is paramount, the actual sinful behaviour of every human involved must be close behind. Acts 2:23 tells us that this was all “by God's set purpose and foreknowledge”. God knew how every human would act, but He didn't make them do it. They chose to. His closest friends fell away, one of his leaders denied him, another betrayed him. The crowds got manipulated and rejected him. The religious leaders conspired unlawfully against him and twisted the truth. Pilate took the easy way out and condemned him, and the soldiers gave him an unnecessarily hard time. Every human being involved blew it! That is the sin of mankind. That is why Jesus died, to deal with this sin.
3. Our Response
After you have finished these studies, having read all that is here, how are you left? Even in the writing of these notes, worship has risen in the writer. Surely worship and adoration must be the natural response to these incredible things we've read in the closing chapters of Matthew's Gospel. May it be so in you.