Jesus' Resurrection-Part 2 of 2

Matthew 28:6-10


From Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, 2006, AMG Publishers.

[6] Because the women had come to the tomb to anoint Christ's body, the angel immediately told them, "He is not here (hōde [5602], in this place): for he is risen (ēgérthē, the aorist passive of egerō [1453], lit., he was raised) as he said "(Cf. Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:17-19; John 2:19).

Had Jesus not risen from the dead "as he said," everything else He had said would have been questionable. The angel challenged them to an on-site inspection: "Come, see (dete, the aorist-"see once for all"-the imperative of edon/horō [1492], to see and perceive) the place where the Lord lay."

[7] Then the angel commanded the women, "Go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and behold, He goes before you into Galilee. There you shall see Him" (a.t.; see Matt. 26:32). Just seeing "the place where the Lord lay" was not conclusive; it was still possible that someone had stolen the body. So the angel pointed the women in the direction of His physical presence: "Behold (i.e., Pay attention!), He goes before (from progō [4254]) you into Galilee" (a.t.). As Jesus said about the Good Shepherd, "When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them" (John 10:4).

Why did the angel say, "Go quickly (tach [5035])"? He implied that there was no time to waste. We, too, should waste none of the precious time the Lord has given us on worldly priorities. We cannot get the Gospel out fast enough! Twice in his epistles, Paul tells us to redeem "the time" (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5).

The women could certainly testify that Jesus had risen "from" (ap [575]) the dead because He had put space between Himself and the dead. Additionally, He was now physically removed from the tomb. More frequently, the preposition ek ([1537], out of from within or among), is coupled with "the dead" to describe the resurrection (John 21:14; Acts 3:15; Rom. 4:24; etc.).

The verb "you shall see" (psesthe [3708], the future of optnomai [3700], to physically see, and horō, to perceive) includes physical sight. Through a physical sighting, especially of Jesus' wounds from the crucifixion, the women would be able to perceive that it was the same Person.

[8] "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear (from phbos [5401])." This kind of anxiety was more of a healthy expectation than a terror, but perhaps the women were, notwithstanding the message from the angel, uncertain about what had transpired. Nevertheless, their fear was mixed with great joy (char [5479] from chris [5484], grace)-a wonderful blend of anxious expectation for the best. Notice that the women ran "to tell" (from paggéllō [518], announce) the disciples what had happened. When we have good news to announce, we must not delay but move quickly.

[9] While the women were on their way to tell the eleven disciples the news of Christ's resurrection, Jesus appeared to them personally. "As they went (from poreomai [4198], to go, proceed) to tell his disciples, behold (ido [2400], the imperative of edon [1492], the aorist of horō [3708], to perceive, calling attention to the extraordinary [see Matt. 3:17]), Jesus met (from apantō [528], to meet, possibly coming from the opposite direction) them, saying, All hail (charete, rejoice, the present imperative of charō [5463], to rejoice, not a common greeting).'"

"Chare" in Luke 1:28 was the angel Gabriel's special greeting to the virgin Mary, followed by kecharitōménē (from the verb chartō [5487], from chris [5485], the grace of which Jesus Christ was full). John 1:16 says "of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."

Only Matthew records the event of verse 9. The women had left the tomb with "fear and great joy" (see v. 8), in spite of the angel's command to "fear not." Now Jesus commanded them to fully "rejoice!" (see translation for "hail"). When they recognized Him, they "approached (from prosérchomai [4334], to come close to; from prs [4314], toward, close to; and érchomai [2064], to come) and held (from kratéō [2902], to take hold of) His feet, and worshiped (from proskunéō [4352] from prs [4314], to; and kunéō [n.f.], meaning to kiss, worship, reverence by showing respect and devotion) Him" (a.t.).

Holding someone by the feet was not merely an act of humiliation but a worshipful desire that the person being held would not walk away, as when Jacob said, "I will not let thee go, except Thou bless me" (Gen. 32:26). A certain detainment is implied in the word that stands out in John's account of Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene: "Jesus saith unto her, Touch (from hpto [681], to hold on to) me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God"' " (John 20:17).

Proskunéō, to worship, is sometimes used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in the general sense of doing homage or reverence toward a dignitary like a king (LXX Gen. 19:1; 48:12). In the New Testament, however, it is almost exclusively used for the worship of God. In two instances, men were rebuked for falling prostrate to someone other than God: Cornelius who "prostrated" before Peter (Acts 10:25, 26), and the apostle John who was about to "prostrate" before an angel (Rev. 19:10), perhaps thinking that he was a theophany. In Revelation 13:12; 14:11, those not written in the Book of Life "prostrate" before the beast.

The worship accorded to Jesus, however, is divine. As the writer of Hebrews quotes the Septuagint: "When He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He says, And let all the angels of God worship (from proskunésō) Him" (Heb. 1:6; a.t.; annotating the LXX of Deut. 32:43). Since "all," not some, angels are included, the writer excludes Jesus from angels, which he sets out to prove in the first chapter of Hebrews. Worship of the Son of God (Heb. 1:2), he insists, is not worship of an angel but designates Jesus as "the Son" (en huiō, in and through "the Son") by "His Son" (KJV).

The King James Version translates this correctly. When we humans become related to God, we are called children (tékna [5043]) of God. We become first babies, then children, then huio ([5207], mature people). So when God became sinless Man incarnate, He was born a babe (cf. Luke 1:41-44; 2:12-16). When He became mature at the age of thirty, He manifested His deity for three years till God permitted His enemies to crucify Him. His shed blood redeems those who believe on Him, and cleanses from sin (cf. katharzō [2511], 1 John 1:7).

When God allowed the death of His incarnate Son, it was meant for all those who would believe at any time of history. As God is the creator of time (chrnos [5550]), He also ordained that the birth, crucifixion, and death of His incarnate Son took place for the purpose of saving "his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Observe that the verb sōsei is the future active indicative of sōzō (4982). This salvation (sōtēra [4991]) is immediately effective and continues to the end of human life. Jesus is the author (archēgs [747]), the initiator and finisher (teleiōtēs [5054]), and the perfecter (NIV) of our faith (Heb. 12:2).

Hebrews 1:2 says God has spoken and is still speaking (laléō [2980], to speak) by His Son (en Huiō). The Son of God (John 1:1) became incarnate but when crucified and risen again, He proved to be forever God (adios [126], from ae [104] and dios [2398]).

[10] Jesus reinforced the command the angel gave the women at the tomb in verse 5, "Be not afraid (from phobéomai [5399])." This was not a time for fear but for joy. Jesus had risen as He promised (v. 6). They had seen both the empty tomb and the living Christ.

Jesus commanded the disciples to meet Him in Galilee. Whom did He have in mind when He said, "Tell my brethren"? Were these physical or spiritual brothers? We can only guess. His physical brothers were apparently unbelievers according to John 7:5: "For neither did his brethren (from adelphs [80]) believe (from pisteō [4100], to believe) in him," the imperfect tense covering some indefinite period in which they had not yet believed. But Acts 1:14 shows that they came to faith: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." Their unbelief may be the reason Jesus assigned the care of His mother to John, the beloved disciple (John 19:25-27). But the resurrection was most likely the miracle that penetrated his brothers' hearts of unbelief.

Spiros Zodhiates (1922-2009) served as president of AMG International for over 40 years, was the founding editor of Pulpit Helps Magazine (Disciple's predecessor), and authored dozens of exegetical books.

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