Class Presentation on Matthew 28
Back to Post-Resurrection Appearance Stories

Outline of chapter 28 (BA)
Vs. 1 – 4 Empty tomb; Heavenly Radiance appearance; and Grave guards appear
Vs. 5 – 8 Heavenly Radiance speaks to women
Vs. 9 – 10 Women meet Resurrected One and receive instructions
Vs. 11 – 15 Grave guards and elders conspire
Vs. 16 – 17 Disciples see and some doubt
Vs. 18 – 20 Jesus commissions them

Matthew 28: 1-4 (NL)

Initial Acquaintance

(A) Translation Comparison

I utilized the King James Version (K.J.V.), the Revised Standard Version (R.S.V.) and Phillips Modern English. Variation in three translations accrued in the first verse of the pericope.


V-1. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week. V-1. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.

V-1. Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week. V-1. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.

V-1. When the Sabbath was over, just as the first day of the week was dawning. V-1. Mary from Magdalene and the other Mary.


V-2. --For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

V-2. --For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

V-2. --for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, went forward and rolled back the stone and took his seat upon it.

(B) Textual criticism

(a) In verse I the conjunction de (but/and) is omitted by the witness cited. There are four (L, 33, 574, 124) substantial Alexandrian support for it.
(b) The noun mapia (N.N.F.S.) is replaced with one or more words by the witness cited. There is only one substantial Alexandrian support for it (B). For Nestle text there are four Alexandrian supports. For mapiau there are two substantial Alexandrian supports.

(a) In verse II. There is one Alexandrian (A) support for omitting the word kai. There are six Alexandrian supports for Nestle's text (kai idou), (and behold) (b) apo thj quraj (from the door), there are four substantial Alexandrian supports. a o ths quras tou mnhmeiou (from the door of the tomb), there are (L, T, 33, 1241) four substantial Alexandrian support. The evidence is split. The Nestle text has only two Alexandrian support (X, B). Why would Nestle chose this? We go to internal evidence. Lectio dificilior is the more difficult reading, while Lectio brevior is the shorter reading. Nestle's shorter and older text omits all additions to the stone. I will therefore go with Nestle's text.

(C). Rough Translation

1. But after Sabbath, the drawing into 1st (one) of Sabbaths came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary to see the grave. 2. And behold earthquake accrued a great. For an angel of Lord descending out of heaven and having approached rolled away the Stone and was sitting upon it. 3. And was the appearance of him as lightening and the garment of him white as snow. 4. And from the fear of him were shaken the ones guarding and they became as dead.

II Disposition:

A: Genre: This would be called the "empty tomb" genre. In V.1 people are in crisis due to death of Jesus, wanting to visit the grave. In V. 2. There is a cosmic and an angel motif. Drawing on the theophany tradition, we have the earthquake, a sense of mystery and fear.

B: Personal interaction:

Q. 1. Where were the disciples? Why only the women?
Q. 2. Who is this other Mary? Why are the name of the two Marys spelled different?
Q. 3. What is the significance of the earth quake?
Q. 4. Earthquake, angel, lightening, white, fear, death--doesn't all that set the mood for something? Doesn't it remind one of some theophany story of Old Testament?
Q. 5. What exactly is 1st of Sabbath?
Q. 6. Why does the angel roll away the stone and sits on it? Would the resurrected Jesus need the stone rolled away?
Q. 7. Was the angel really an angel or someone else? V.3 and V.4 do not mention the angel again but use the personal pronoun OUTOU (of him).
Q. 8. What kind of fear was it? Which left the guard "as dead"?

C. Organization:

The questions relating to the role of women would be answered in step IV as we look at the Hellenistic world and Judaism traditions. The questions relating to the angel, the tomb stone, and to Mary could be addressed in step III when we look at the texts surrounding our pericope, and also in step IV when we look at inner and outer margins of Nestle's text, other biblical writings and personal reflections.

Step. III, Composition:

A. Immediate context: verses 62-66 conclude the 27th chapter of Matthew. This relates to the guards at the tomb. Here we have the chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate. Their main concern is that the tomb be made secure so that the disciples may not steal the body of Jesus and tell the people that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Matthew (v. 64) answered part of my question as to why it was necessary to secure the tomb by sealing with the stone (V. 66).

The placing of guard at the tomb (27: 62-66) is unique to Matthew. There is no other parallel to it in the Gospel. In the passion narrative, Pharisees are not mentioned at all by Mark and Luke and only this once by Matthew. Matthew follows the same Kerygma tradition described by Paul in 1 Cor. 15: 3-5, "Christ died", "was buried", "appeared". (The pericope immediately following the text understudy, and authorship are undertaken by various members of the group).

Raymond Brown, in An Introduction to the New Testament, dates the writing of Matthew back to 80-90. The author by tradition was probably a tax-collector, on of the Twelve disciples. The author detectable from contents was probably a Jewish Christian, who spoke Greek and knew Aramaic or Hebrew. He was not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry. He drew on Mark and Q source as well as other available written and oral tradition (p. 172).

I agree with Brown's divisions of the Gospel of Matthew in 7 different parts (p. 172).

1: 1-2:23: Introduction: Origin and Infancy of Jesus the Messiah.
3: 1-7: 29: Proclamation of the Kingdom.
8: 1-10: 42 Ministry and Mission in Galilee.
11: 1-13: 52 Questioning of and opposition to Jesus.
13: 53-18: 35 Christology and Ecclesiology.
19: 1-25: 46 Journey to and Ministry in Jerusalem.
26: 1-28: 20 Climax: Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Step IV is in a way a continuation of step III, as we move further back to gain an even greater view within a wider context.

The inner and outer margins of the Nestle - Aland text give us suggested Parallels: Mark 16: 1-8; Luke 24: 1-12; John 20: 1-10; and a reference to I Corinthians 16: 2-27: 56. The inner margin reference points to references recommended by Eusebius. It pointed that Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John all had similar parallels.

Although the underlying Genre in all of them is the resurrection of Christ, we find some significant differences.

Matthew 28: 1-4 (1) In Mathew v. 1, we have "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary". In Mark it is Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome. Luke omits them both and uses "they’ (v. 1). John mentions only Mary Magdalene. (2) Mathew in v. 2 mentions "a great earthquake for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone". "His appearance was like lightning and his raiment as snow". (v. 3) Luke mentions "behold, two men" (v. 4). John says that the stone had been taken away. Mark mentions a young man on the right clothed with a white robe. (v. 5). (3) It is only in Mathew that we have the mention of the guards (v. 4), "and for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men".

Matthew 28: 5-7 (BA)


5 Angel said: do not be afraid, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.(NIV) Angel: there is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross.(Message) Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (RSV)

6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said Come see the place where he lay.(NIV) He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.(Message) He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.(RSV)

7 Now I have told you(NIV) That's the message(Message) Lo, I have told you.(RSV)

I.b. Textual variants: Determined that no textual variant required a change

I.c. 5) But (post positive) he answered, the angel, (aor,pass,part;dep.Nom. M(s)), he said to the women, You do not be afraid (imptv,perf pass, 2P) for I know (PIA 1s) Jesus, the Having Been Crucified One (perf pass prt, acc.) y'll seek.(PIA, 2 P).
6) He is not here, for he was raised (AIP/M, 3S) just as he said. (AAI 3S) Come, see (Aor, impv, Act, 2P) the place where he lay. (Impf,ind m/p dep., 3s)
7) And quickly they went (Aor, pass, dep) they said to the disciples of him , "He was raised (Aor, ind. Pass 3S) from the dead, and look, (Aorist middle passive) he goes before (PIA 3S) y'all into Galilee, there you will see (Fut. Ind. Mid, dep) him. Look, (aor. mid. Impv.) I have (AIA, 1s) told (this) to y'all.

II. a. Genre Outline for verses 5 - 7 : Heavenly Radiance

II. b. Questions:
1) How could the women NOT be afraid of an earthquake and an angel, for even the guards "trembled and became like dead men." Does an earthquake appear at any other place in the book of Matthew?

2) Why would just seeing the place where the body of Jesus had been be an assurance for the women? Wouldn't it raise as many questions as it might have answered?

3) Matthew has the disciples meeting Jesus in Galilee; Luke and John have the meeting placed in Jerusalem – is there significance to the different locations? How does Matthew use the place of the mountain, or the outdoors, in Galilee as a setting for Jesus?

III. a. Mt. 5 – 7 compares closely with Mk. 28: 5 – 7, including meeting in Galilee.

III. c. According to Kummel the author of the book of Matthew:
Wrote in linguistic forms familiar to Jewish readers
Would have been a Jewish Christian who had some rabbinic knowledge
Matthew probably written in the 80s of the first century
Perhaps by a Jewish member of the Christian church at Antioch in Syria
No evidence that author of Matthew is actual disciple with same name.

Study of Matthew 28:8-10 (DS)

Step 1 (Initial Acquaintance)

A. Comparison of English or other published translations.
A review of the RSV, NIV, and The Message follows:
8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (RSV) So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples (NIV) The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. (Message)
9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Hail!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (RSV) Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. They ran to tell the disciples. (NIV) Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. (Message)
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.” (RSV) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NIV) Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.” (Message)

B. Textual Criticism

Verse 8: The reading avpelqou/sai (having departed) appears to be strongly supported by a wide range of witnesses and appears to be assimilated by copyists to the parallel in Mark 16:8, evxelqou/sai.
Verse 9: The critical apparatus appears to imply the reference was expanded and derived from the reading in verse 8.
Verse 10: a) The rendering in the text “to the brothers” against the rendering in the apparatus “my disciples” does not appear to be a significant change. b) The rendering in the text “that they may see” against “y’all may see” does not appear to be significant.

C. Rough translation Matthew 28:

8 And having gone away/departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy they ran to tell/report the disciples of him. 9 And behold Jesus met them saying, “Greetings.” And they having approached seized/grasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go, you tell my brothers in order that they go away to Galilee and there they may/will see me.”

Step II - Disposition

A. Genre
Verse eight falls into the Empty Tomb Tradition and includes the first seven verses of Chapter 28. The human participants appear to be in a crisis. Verses nine and ten may possibly fall within the Appearance Story Tradition. Jesus comes upon the scene unexpectedly and at his initiative.

B. Questions/Personal Interaction

Where were the women going?
Were they afraid because the body of Jesus was missing or did it relate to their expectations of seeing Christ?
Where did Jesus come from at this specific moment?
Why did Jesus instruct them to go to Galilee?

C. Prioritization/Organization

The above questions raise interest in the emotions of the women as they discovered Jesus’ body was missing. Jesus’ actions, meeting the women first, also present a unique twist on the narrative. Looking at the intent of the author’s composition may help to answer the above questions.

Step III - Composition

A. Immediate Context

Immediately prior to this passage, the two women involved in the story experience an earthquake, an angel of the Lord, and an explanation as to what happened to Jesus. As with many other traditions, the individuals are instructed to not be afraid and the instructions continue.
After this pericope, the narrative concerning the religious leaders bribing the guards begins. This graveguard tradition explains how his disciples took Jesus’ body and is an attempt to explain away why Jesus’ body was missing.

B. Major Sections

Below is my outline of the resurrection, which takes place in Matthew 28. The resurrection (Matthew 28:1-20):

A. The angel and the women (vv. 1-8)
B. Jesus’ appearance to the women (vv. 9-10)
C. The false witness or graveguard testimony (vv. 11-15)
D. Jesus’ final appearance (vv. 16-20)
C. Authorship
Tradition has historically placed the author of this Gospel account to Matthew (named in 9:9), one of the twelve. Irenaeus (Against Heresies III. 1. 1.) assumes the author was an apostle as well as Origen and Eusebius (The Interpreter’s Bible, p. 242). It does not appear, however, that an eyewitness wrote the Gospel account.

Exegesis of Matthew 27:62-64 and Matthew 28: 11-13 (JL)

I. Initial Acquaintance

Matthew 27:62-64 is the beginning of the narrative of the guard at Jesus' tomb; Matthew 28: 11-13, completes the narrative with the guards being bribed by the Temple officials to account for the empty tomb by a story of "grave robbing" by Jesus' disciples.

Text critical issues:

appear to be minor, 27:64 - some mss leave out autou (of him), others add nukto.j "by night" to the phrase kle,ywsin auvto.n which makes it more closely parallel 28: 13. 28:11 alternate verb form anhggeilan used for avph,ggeilan in four mss.including Sinaticus. Same meaning.

Rough translation:

Matthew 27: 62-64 62 - So the next day (tomorrow) which was after the "day of preparation" (either before a feast or the sabbath), they were gathered (sunh,cqhsan, aorist pass. 3rd pl) the chief priests and the Pharisees before Pilate. 63 - They are saying (le,gontej, part. pres. act masc nom pl), "Sir, we have remembered (evmnh,sqhmen, aorist pass 3rd pl) that that one, the deceitful one, he said ( ei=pen , 2nd aorist 3rd sing) still living (zw/n, part, pres act mas sing) ' After three days I am being raised up (evgei,romai pres pass ind first sing)''. 64 - "You command (ke,leuson impt. act 2nd sing) thus to secure (avsfalisqh/naiinf. aor pass) the tomb until the three days, lest they are coming (evlqo,ntej, part. aor.act nom mas pl) the disciples of him in order (they) to steal (kle,ywsin, subj aor. act 3rd pl) him and in order they say (ei;pwsin, subj aor act 3rd pl) to the people, 'He has been raised (Hge,rqh, aor pass 3rd sing) from the dead', and it will be (e;stai , fut. act 3rd sing) the last deception worse the first.

Matthew 28: 11-13

11- Then they were leaving (Poreuome,nwn, part pres dep mas gen pl) them, lo, some of the guards they are going (evlqo,ntej, part aor acr mas pl nom) into the city, they told (avph,ggeilan, aor act ind 3rd pl) the chief priests everything (the all) that was happening (geno,mena,, part. aor dep. acc neu pl). 12- And they had been gathering ( sunacqe,ntej, part aor pass mas nom pl) with the elders (a) plan so that they are collecting (labo,ntej, part aor act mas nom pl) money sufficient they gave (e;dwkan aor act pl) the soldiers. 13 - They are saying (le,gontej, part. pres. act masc nom pl), " You say ( Ei;pate, imp. 2nd pl) that the disciples of him (at) night they appeared (evlqo,ntej, aor act 3rd pl) they stole ( e;kleyan apr act 3rd pl) him (while) we were sleeping (koimwme,nwn, part pres, mid dep gen ms 1st pl).

Translation Issues (for me):

28:11 Poreuome,nwn de. auvtw/n , but leaving (participle, mas. pl) them (fem)...the participle indicates mas. pl. but most translations read as though it was the women who were leaving, and then the guards go into the city (Why didn't some of the guards follow the women?)

28:12 - kai. sunacqe,ntej meta. tw/n presbute,rwn sumbou,lio,n It appears they are meeting to hatch a plan to bribe the soldiers. Is there a missing verb here or is it understood in sumbou,lio,n which is a noun?

II. Disposition

Genre: The "guard at the tomb" seems to be that of an apologetic or polemic against those who were saying that Jesus' resurrection and appearances were a fiction concocted by the disciples. The "guard at the tomb" story would seem to account for why Jesus' resurrection and subsequent appearances are not attested in Jewish and Roman writings of the time: the truth had been suppressed by bribery. (Perhaps Josephus alludes to this, but does not give it much credance).

General Commentary and Questions:

Matthew's passion account does not have the Pharisees participating in the events of Jesus' trial and crucifixion, but they reenter the story here. Why? Possibly to implicate them also in Jesus' death (NIB, 497): some of their members had heard Jesus predict his resurrection after three days, so they wanted to be sure that this would not happen, and set the guard in case the disciples conspired to steal the body: (27:64 evlqo,ntej oi` maqhtai. auvtou/ kle,ywsin auvto.n ) (Douglas Hare, Interpretation, 1993).

It is interesting that they ask for Roman guards for this duty, rather than their own "Temple police". Again the question is why? To further implicate the secular officials? Because they were trying to gain Pilate's favor in case of an uprising? If God was going to intervene they (the Chief Priests) wouldn't physically be there?

The Interpreter's Bible (1951 edition) notes that Jesus was often called an imposter (27:63 o` pla,noj) and magician by Jewish and pagan writers in the second and third centuries (IB, Vol 7 614).

Matthew's insertion of this story seems to be reflective of the tensions of his time: the Jews trying to hold on to their identity and the Christians trying to establish theirs.

III. Composition

Context: The "guard at the tomb" is split between the burial of Jesus in chapter 27 and the resurrection in chapter 28. The presence of the guard in verse 28:4 is explained by 27:62-66.


Some commentators believe the "guard at the tomb" may have been a connected narrative unto itself (World Biblical Commentary, Vol 33B, 1995, 875). Most commentators agree also that it is probably more legend than historical truth, and the legend grew as the controversies between the synagogue and church grew more contentious.

Issues of authorship:

Though the "guard at the tomb" is unique to Matthew, commentators agree that it is an authentically matthean writing, as noted by style and vocabulary (NIB, Vol 8. 496), and was probably based on an early oral tradition. The apocryphal "Gospel of Peter" has expanded on the same story. If we agree with Raymond Brown (An Introduction to the New Testament) and the editors of the Oxford Annotated Study Bible, we would see the author of Matthew is writing shortly after the "fall of Jerusalem" to the Romans, sometime after 70CE.. The Jewish world had been turned upside down and the "Jesus sect" members weren't making life any easier. Whoever Matthew was (he wasn't the tax-collector apostle, though he may have been a source for the anonymous author - The Oxford Study Bible.) , he was probably himself a Jewish Christian, and knew Hebrew and Aramaic drawing on Hebrew Scripture as well as Greek. The place of origin was probably Syria, specifically Antioch.

Study of Matthew 27: 66-65 & 28:14-15 (MWB)

Initial Acquaintance:

A. Comparison of English or other published translations: The three comparisons on Matthew 27:65-66 with the RSV and the NIV and The Gospels shows a similar story line. The Gospels gives a more story form to the two verses.

B. Greek Textual Criticism:

In Matthew 27: 65 the only variance in the Greek is that fulakaz, aofalisasqai , aofalisasfai. In verse 66- variance in the text range from twv fulakwv These do not seem to make a major difference in the reading of the text.

C. Translation:

Matthew 27: 65-66- Pilate said to them, " You have a guard. Go on your way, secure it as you know.

And they went, to secure the tomb, having sealed the stone with the guard.

Matthew 28: 14-15- And if this report is heard before the governor we will persuade him and you will be kept out of trouble. And the soldiers having received the silver did as they were instructed. And this story was made known among the Jews up to this day.

Step II- Disposition:

A. The genre is apologetic and refutes the criticism in 28:15, that is the Jewish slander that the disciples had stolen the Jesus' body. It reinforces Jesus' resurrection within the Christian community and to those that are not Christian. Dialogue is used by Pilate to make it feel like an eyewitness event.

B. In Matthew 27: 65-66- Pilate's response "exete koustwdisv" is problematic since it can be taken literally to " you have a guard" The use of the word soldiers used by the text leaves question as whether it is Roman guard or not? The use of the word soldiers in 14; 28:12 is stratiwtai a word that really means Roman soldier. Another interesting idea is the discussion of the Jews and their concern for the Resurrection. The Phariees believed in resurrection, but the Chief Priests were of Sadducean, who deny the possibility of resurrection. In spite of their beliefs if the Jews believed that Jesus would not rise from the dead why were they so concerned with guarding the tomb? The question of guarding the tomb must be explained if there was a stone that had been secured by Joseph of Arimathea , why was another stone needed? Translation of verse Mat27:65-66 was difficult because of the structure of the sentences and it left dangling nouns without connections or verbs. This left one to make assumptions in translating. It is noted in the differences between NIV and RSV.

C. Organization:

The concerning questions are located in Matthew 27:65-66. However, they lay the groundwork for verse 14-15 in Matthew 28.

Step III

A. Immediate Context:
Verses 65-66 in Matthew 27 complete the pericope of the guard at the tomb. It completes the story so the events at the tomb and appearance stories can be told. Matthew 28:15-15 is a continuation of Mt.27:65-66. Following Mt. 28:14-15 is the continued story of the resurrection where the disciples meet Jesus and are commissioned.

B. In Matthew 27:65-66 is the last story in chapter twenty -seven. The beginning of the chapter begins with Jesus being handed over to Pilate and continues through Jesus' trial, crucifixion, death and burial. The last part of the chapter ends with verses 65-66 that discuss the guard at the tomb.
In Matthew 28: 14-15 is part of the pericope that begins in verse 11 with the guards report of the body. Chapter 28 begins with the women at the tomb, Jesus appears to the women and then the guards report( 11-15). The rest of the chapter includes the appearance to the eleven and concluding the chapter with the commissioning of the disciples.

C. The issues of authorship revolve around the fact that the story in Matthew 27:65-66 and Matthew28:14-15 are unique to Matthew. The other gospels do not have any mention of the story of the guards. This leads one to believe by the use of the vocabulary that it is part of Matthean style and tradition. It could lead one to believe that it was original to Matthew.

Remarks from Alsup's paper
Mt. As inserted the story of the grave guard report and the theme of Jewish polemic, also Matthaean composition. Thus, the final scene of the assemble disciples on a mountain in Galilee.p.144)

With reference to Johnson's argument- That Mt 27:63-66, and Mt 282-4,11-15 build a unit which is in comparison to the Gospel of Peter. Johnson claims that this is eschatological epiphany story . The insertion of the guard story as a means to exonerate Pilate from the Crucifixion and put the proof of the Resurrection in neutral hands.

Matthew 28:16-17 Presented by KW

Steps I, II, and III

I. (Initial) Acquaintance - Matthew 28. 16-17

A. Comparison of 3 translations - The RSV, the NJB, and the NIV.

The Revised Standard Version in verse 16 renders, "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them." The New Jerusalem Bible renders it, "Meanwhile the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them." The New International Version says , "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go."

In verse 17: The RSV states, "And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted". The NJB states, "When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated." The NIV states, "When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted." Words and phrases that stood out (see italics above):

Verse 16 - Now vs Meanwhile vs Then, to which Jesus had directed them vs where Jesus had arranged to meet them vs where Jesus had told them to go.

Verse 17 - they worshiped, but some doubted vs they fell down before him, though some hesitated vs they worshiped him, but some doubted.

B. Textual Criticism

I found no external or internal textual evidence to merit alterations of the Nestle-Aland text.

C. Rough Translation - Matthew 28. 16-17

16. So the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where appointed them Jesus 17. And seeing him they worshiped, but some doubted.

II. Disposition

A. Genre -The text is a narrative as well as a resurrection appearance. Compare Mark 16.14-18; Luke 24.36-49; John 20.19-23; Acts 1.6-8

B. Personal Interaction - In verse 16, what mountain in Galilee did this reunion take place? Why meet on a mountain? Could not the desired results been accomplished on level ground? Is it possible that the Hellenistic influence is being revealed in this lofty meeting place, for don't the "gods" reside in such high places? Didn't even the ancient Jewish prophets Moses and Elijah meet God on the mountain (Horeb/Sinai)? Did not these two notable prophets appear with Jesus on the mountain?

Verse 17 indicates that the eleven disciples worshiped Jesus when they saw Him. They were on the mountain paying homage to their "God." Problematically, some of them doubted or hesitated. Who were they, and what was their problem? Wasn't it evident that Jesus, having risen from the dead, must , of necessity, be "God?" How is it, if the issue was recognition, that the doubters failed to recognize Him? What was really going on? Who was this person, and, more importantly, where did He get this body?

C. Organization - The questions posed here are 1) practical, 2) historical, 3) philosophical, 4) theological, and 5) eschatalogical.

III. Composition

A. This pericope is sandwiched between two extremely relevant Christian doctrinal texts. The Resurrection and the Great Commission occur before and after, respectively, the appearance to the eleven disciples. The angel tells the women in Matthew 28.5-6, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said." The doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is implemented. After he appears to the women and eleven disciples, He commands the apostles in verses 19 and 20 to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Thus Jesus implements the "Great Commission."

B. Many scholars who accept Marcan priority and the existence of Q consider Mark to be the principal source for Matthew. In general, Matthew is quite faithful to Mark. However, Matthean thought and proclivity is readily identified in the changes that he made to Marcan texts. Matthew (see Matthew 15.39 and Mark 8.10 Dalmanutha, Matthew 26.45 and Mark 14.41 apechei, and so on). Some commentators suggest that Matthew added source material to what was taken over from Mark; Especially the extraordinary events that followed Jesus' death. Events like earthquakes, an angel moving a stone, guards being bribed, and soldiers in collusion with the Jewish leaders, are exclusively Matthean creativity and composition.

C. Authorship - By the 2nd Century the Gospel of Matthew had been attributed to Matthew, who tradition states was the tax collector apostle of Our Lord Jesus. However, upon closer examination it is reasonably clear that the author of this Gospel was a Greek-speaker, who knew Aramaic and/or Hebrew and was not an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry. He probably wrote about 80-90 A. D. and drew from Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord (Q), as well as on other available traditions, oral or written. He was probably a Jewish Christian residing in the Antioch region (see Raymond E. Brown, S.S., "An Introduction to the New Testament").

Matthew 28:18-20 Presented by DDH February 16, 2001

I. Initial Acquaintance

A. Comparison
In comparing the KJV, ASV, and RSV the following differences occurred.
19 Teach all nations (KJV) Make disciples of all nations (ASV) Make disciples of all nations (RSV)
20 End of the world (KJV) End of the world (ASV) Close of the age RSV)

B. Textual Criticism
There is no compelling textual evidence to warrant deviation from the Nestle-Aland text. The insertion after verse 18, “In as much as the Father sent me forth, I am sending you [pl]” (Jh 20:21) is perhaps intended to clarify the relationship between the power Jesus has been given and the sending forth of the disciples. However, the textual evidence indicates that this is a later addition.

C. Rough Translation
18) And while coming Jesus spoke to them while saying, “all authority in heaven and on earth was given to me. 19) Having gone [aorist, passive, participle], therefore, make disciples [imperative] [of] all the nations while baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) while teaching them to obey all things I commanded to you and look, I myself am with you until the end of the age.”

1. Disposition

B. Genre
The genre of these verses is that of a commissioning or sending out. Statements of similar genre can be found in Mat 10:5, 24:14, Mk 6:7, 16:15, Lk 9, 10:3, Jh 20:21, and Act 1:8, 14:21.

C. Personal Interaction and Organization

The grammar in these verses if very straight forward. I did wonder why “all the nations” in verse 19 was not a genitive or dative clause? I found it interesting that the imperative in this statement is on the verb “make disciples” and not on the verbs “going”, “baptizing”, and “teaching”. In verse 18, what is “all authority” and from where does it come? What is the intention in connecting the ideas of “authority” and the “sending out” with the conjunction “therefore”? Are the disciples somehow receiving some of this power? In verse 20, why was the phrase “end of the age” used and not the word eschaton? What does it mean that Jesus will be with them until the end of the age? Where did the commission form originate? There are no statements that indicate that Jesus’ appearance has been altered in any way. His approach is not signaled by any extraordinary means and the disciples recognize him. This final appearance in Matthew of Jesus in Galilee does not cause us to suspect any kind of extra-human form.

2. Composition

A. Immediate Context
This pericope falls as the last three verses in the last chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. Most writers refer to this chapter as “The Resurrection of Jesus”. Preceding these verses the empty tomb is discovered by the grieving women, an angel of the Lord appears in heavenly radiance, the guards were paralyzed with fear, the women are told that Jesus has risen, the women go to tell the disciples and unexpectedly meet Jesus on the way, the guards make up a grave stealing story, the disciples go to Galilean Mountains and recognize Jesus as Lord and worship him and yet, there is also doubt. The commission is given and the story ends without resolving the issue of doubt or what happens to the risen Jesus. The commissioning leaves us with the imperative statement to Make Disciples!