Resurrection of the Lord/ Easter Sunday


Matthew 28:1-10 . . . Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the

tomb . . .

There is a very good discussion of this passage in:

Hare, Douglas. Matthew - Interpretation Bible Commentary. John Knox

Ranch. 1993.

Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance

A. Comparison of English or other published translations


3 His appearance was like lightning

6 for he has been raised, as he said.

7 This is my message for you.

8 fear and great joy

9 "Greetings!"

10 my brothers


3 looked as bright as lightning

6 God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would

7 That is what I came to tell you.

8 frightened and yet very happy

9 greeted them

10 my followers


3 Shafts of lightning blazed from him

6 He was raised, just as he said

7 That's the message.

8 deep in wonder and full of joy

9 "Good morning!"

10 my brothers

B. Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

2 Many Alexandrian texts insert apo tes thuras. The Nestle text favors

the shorter reading.

6 Several Alexandrian documents include the word kurios. Metzger argues

that it is more likely to have been inserted, rather than deleted.

Furthermore, Matthew never uses the word kurios for Jesus except in his

reported sayings.

9 There is a long insertion here supported by three Alexandrian texts,

but the majority of the Alexandrian family argues against it.

C. One's Own Rough Translation

1 But late of the sabbath, at the drawing on into one of the sabbaths,

came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary to view the grave.

2 And behold earthquake occurred, for an angel/messenger of the Lord

descending out of heaven and approaching rolled away the stone and sat

upon it.

3 And was the appearance of him as lightning, and the dress of him white

as snow.

4 And from the fear of him were quaking the guarding ones and they

became as dead.

5 And answering the angel said to the women, "Fear not y'all, for I know

that Jesus the one having been crucifed y'all seek.

6 He is not here, for he was raised as he said. Come see the place

where he lay.

7 And quickly going tell the disciples of him that he was raised from

the dead, and behold he goes before you into Galilee, there him you will

see. Behold I told you."

8 And going away quickly from the tomb with fear and joy great they ran

to announce (apaggeilai) to the disciples of him.

9 And behold Jesus met them saying, "Hail/Greetings/Rejoice, y'all." And

they approaching held of him the feet and worshipped him.

10 Then says to them Jesus, "Fear not y'all, go announce (apaggeilate)

to the brothers of me that they may go away into Galilee, and there they

will see me.

Step II - Disposition

A. Genre - How the text says what it says

This is a narrative including an angel, an earthquake, and the

appearance of the risen Jesus. Twice the women at the tomb are told to

tell the disciples to go to Galilee where they will see Jesus.

B. Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

Why are the women named different in different gospels? Why do these

women in particular go to the tomb?

The Greek word apaggeilai has the same root as angel. How can this be

translated into English to show this connection.

The women are told to go tell the disciples of Jesus' rising. Are the

women not considered disciples?

Why does Jesus call the disciples "brothers" in verse 10?

What is an appropriate translation of chairete?

C. Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located

Step III - Composition

A. Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

The kephalaia from the early Church include Matthew 27:57 though 28:20

as one reading. This adds on to the beginning of our reading Joseph

entombing Jesus' body and the placing of the guards at the tomb. At the

end, it adds the appearance to the disciples and the commissioning.

After reading this larger section, I am inclined to expand the reading.

Even if I keep the focus of the sermon on the two women and Jesus, it

seems that adding Joseph at the beginning and the disciples at the end

gives the listener a better understanding of the story.

How can we appreciate the surprise and fear of the women if we are not

reminded of the seeming finality of Jesus burial? How can appreciate

the importance of the women if we don't trace the storyline from Jesus

to the women, then to the disciples and finally to all nations?

B. Organization of the Compositional Whole

Matthew can be organized into five teaching discourses interspersed with

narrative material:

Introduction - Son of David and Son of God

Discourse 1 - Sermon on the Mount (4:23-7.29)

Healings and controversies (8:1-9.34)

Discourse 2 - Missionary instructions (9.35-10.42)

Conflict intensifies (11.1-12.50)

Discourse 3 - Parables of the kingdom (13.1-53)

Opposition and acceptance (13.54-17.27)

Discourse 4 - The Church community (18.1-35)

The authority of Jesus (19.1-22.46)

Discourse 5 - Judgments present and future (23.1-25.46)

Passion and crucifixion (26.1-27.66)

Resurrection (28.1-20)

This passage includes the first risen appearance of Jesus to the two

Mary's. It ends before the appearance to the disciples and the

commissioning of the disciples.

C. Issues of Authorship

Matthew gives us some distinctive clues to his perspective. He uses the

earthquake word again, seismon. He uses the behold word, idou,

repeatedly. These both seem to be markers for Matthew that indicate the

immediate presence of an act of God.

I wonder why Mary Magdalene and the other Mary are mentioned and not

Salome as in Mark.

Another disctinctive point is Jesus use of the word brother to describe

the disciples in v. 10. Actually, verse 9 and 10 are marked in the

Eusebian canon as being unique to Matthew.

Clearly, God is working in this story. The earth shakes, angels appear,

and Jesus is alive. The message is spread from the women, who are doing

the ordinary work of the world, to the disciples, now called brothers,

and from them to the world.

Step IV - Context

A. Primitive Christianity

Matthew has Jesus refer to his followers as brothers/siblings in

12.48-50. But not just brothers, he calls them "my mother and

brothers." In 25.40 he says those who do these particular acts of love

"to" his adelphoi will inherit the kingdom. Therefore, Jesus' use of

adelphoi for his disciples in this passage is a new usage for Matthew.

NT references from the Nestle text

1 1 Cor 16.2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put

aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I


2 Act 1.10-11 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was

going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also

said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This

Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the

same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

5 Rev 1.17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He

placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first

and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive

forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

5 Luk 1.13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for

your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a

son, and you will give him the name John.

Matthew references from the Nestle text

1 27.55-56 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had

followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. Among them was

Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother

of the sons of Zebedee.

2 27.51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to

bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

4 17.2 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to

bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

6 16.21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go

to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests

and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

6 17.22-23 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said

to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men;

and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day." And

they were deeply grieved.

6 20.19 will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and

crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up."


OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three

nights in the heart of the earth.

7 10.16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be

shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

7 26.32p "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to


9 26.49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and

kissed Him.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

Ezek 37.3 He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I

answered, "O Lord GOD, You know."

37.9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man,

and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four

winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.""'

37.12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,

"Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your

graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.

OT references from the Nestle text

2 Dan 10.5-7 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a

certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure

gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance

of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like


gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of

a tumult. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were

with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on

them, and they ran away to hide themselves.

4 Dan 7.9 I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

C. Hellenistic World

Using the Perseus project website, I attempted to find stories about

people who have been "raised" from the dead. All the references I could

find for anastasis simply refered to living. Matthew uses the verb

egerthe/egeiro. This also led to no interesting parallels.

According to Oepke's article on anastemi in the TDNT, the general Greek

belief was that resurrection was impossible. There were some isolated

miracles, but very few. And certainly, a general resurrection of the

dead at the end of time "is alien to the Greeks."

Oepke's article on egeiro mentions several death to life stories:

Tammuz, Bel-Marduk, Adonis, Sandan-Heracles of Tarsus, Attis, Osiris,

the Cretan Zeus, Dionysus, and cf. The Mithras sacrifice and the double

life of Kore. These stories are all distinct from the NT in that the

god is only delivered from Hades, or continues on in partial life, or is

seen symbolically in nature. The unique NT focus is on the spiritual

and ethical history of the event of Jesus' raising.

Aeschylus Euminides 648

Chorus: Zeus gives greater honor to a father's death, according to what

you say; [640] yet he himself bound his aged father, Cronus. How does

this not contradict what you say? I call on you as witnesses turning to

the judges to hear these things.

Apollo: Oh, monsters utterly loathed and detested by the gods! Zeus

could undo fetters, there is a remedy for that, [645] and many means of

release. But when the dust has drawn up the blood of a man, once he is

dead, there is no return to life. For this, my father has made no magic

spells, although he arranges all other things, turning them up and down;

[650] nor does his exercise of force cost him a breath.

Step V - Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

1) Jesus was truly dead, and is now truly risen (not re-surrected, but


2) Women are the first witnesses God chooses to Jesus' resurrection.

3) This passage is a crucial step, but only a step, on the way to the

proclamation of the good news to all nations.

4) It is the ordinary workers/doers of everyday life that first see

God's miraculous acts, not the religious students/disciples. This shows

the priority of the living of life over the studying of life, or the

studying of religion. The point seems to be that we are meant to live

life, and our faith is intended to support us in this endeavor.

B. Smooth Translation

1 But after the sabbath, near dawn on the first day after the sabbath,

Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the tomb.

2 And, behold, an earthquake occurred, for a messenger of the Lord,

descending out of heaven, approached and rolled away the stone and sat

upon it.

3 And the appearance of him was as lightning, and his clothing was white

as snow.

4 And from fear of him the guards were were quaking and they became like

dead men.

5 And responding, the angel said to the women, "Do not fear y'all, for I

know that Jesus, the one who was crucifed, you seek.

6 He is not here, for he was raised, as he said. Come see the place

where he lay.

7 Now go quickly and tell his disciples that he was raised from the

dead, and, behold, he goes before you into Galilee. There you will see

him. Behold, I told you."

8 And going away quickly from the tomb with fear and joy great they ran

to announce this to his disciples.

9 And, behold, Jesus met them saying, "Greetings, y'all." And,

approaching, they held his feet and worshipped him.

10 Then Jesus siad to them, "Fear not y'all. Go announce to my brothers

that they may go away into Galilee, and there they will see me.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

If God can take Jesus' physical death and give new life, God can give us

new life as well.

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Description of Audience

B. Intended Goals for the Address

To remember that God, the creator of all and the giver of life, wants us

to live truly full, good, and joyous lives. We are called to be

witnesses of this new life to others.

C. Address

Title: Rejoice! Do Not Fear! Go and Tell!

Focus statement (What does the text say?): God, the creator of all and

the giver of life, raised Jesus to life even after he was physically

killed. We are called to be witnesses of this new life to others.

Function statement (How does the text affect its listeners?): If God

can take Jesus' physical death and give new life, God can give us new

life as well. God wants us to live truly full, good, and joyous lives.

We are called to be witnesses of this new life to others.