28:1 After the Sabbath [24-hour period from sunset on Friday till sunset Saturday], at dawn on the first day of the week [Sunday], Mary Magdalene [from the village of Magdala on western shore of Sea of Galilee; cf. Lk. 8:2] and the other Mary [the mother of James and Joseph (Matt. 27:56)] went [came with spices in order to anoint body of Jesus for burial (Mk. 16:1)] to look at the tomb [they expected to find Jesus’ corpse there].
28:2 There was a violent earthquake [or “a great tempest or commotion”], for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone [cf. Mk. 16:3 re: concern of women re: how to move stone; the stone was moved not to let Jesus out but to let the world in] and sat [only Matt. notes that angel “sat” on the stone] on it.
28:3 His appearance [the angel’s entire form] was like lightning [brilliant], and his clothes were white [emblem of purity and righteousness] as snow.
28:4 The guards [Romans; cf. Matt. 27:65] were so afraid of him [the angel] that they shook [Gr. “seismos” (same word for “earthquake” in 28:2)] and became like dead men [they were paralyzed by fear].
28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified [perfect tense of verb points to completed action with ongoing results].
28:6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said [Jesus predicted His resurrection in Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 26:32]. Come [invitation to enter the open tomb] and see the place where he lay [no body present].
28:7 Then go quickly and tell [the women who were expecting to anoint body of Jesus were given an important new task] 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 [as instructed by the angel], afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings [Gr. “chairete”],” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped [appropriate response to the risen Lord] him.
28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers [His disciples] to go to Galilee [just as Jesus had told them during the Last Supper (cf. Matt. 26:32)]; there they will see me.”
28:11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards [cf. Matt. 27:62-66; Roman guards assigned to the service of the religious leaders] went into the city and reported to the chief priests [rather than to Pilate thus indicating these religious leaders were the driving force behind Jesus’ crucifixion] everything that had happened.
28:12 When the chief priests [controlled the temple] had met with the elders [influential leaders from key families; chief priests and elders represented the strongest leaders among the Jews] and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money [gave the soldiers a bribe to perpetuate a lie],
28:13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples [if the disciples were responsible the chief priests could easily have had them arrested and prosecuted] came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep [by admitting that they had fallen asleep the guards incriminated themselves in an offense that could have fatal results; however, if the guards were indeed asleep, they could not know what happened and had no basis to accuse the disciples of stealing the body].’
28:14 If this report gets to the governor [Pilate], we will satisfy him [possibly means they would also bribe Pilate to ignore the story] 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 [Matthew probably written between AD 60–65 before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70].
28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go [cf. Matt. 28:10; the ascension took place at a later time, after Jesus had ministered to His disciples in Jerusalem (Lk. 24:44-53)].
28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped [to prostrate oneself (in homage)] him; but some [this possibly was occasion when over 500 followers of Jesus saw Him alive (cf. 1 Cor. 15:6)] doubted [either some among the 500 or people other than the disciples; this word can also mean “hesitated”].
28:18 [see also Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49; Jn. 20:21-23] Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority [absolute power and the right to act, make choices, issue commands] in heaven and on earth [scope of Jesus’ authority] has been given to me.
Note: Charles Spurgeon, preaching from the text, “All power is given unto Me … lo I am with you always,” said the following: “You have a factor here that is absolutely infinite, and what does it matter as to what other factors may be. ‘I will do as much as I can,’ says one. Any fool can do that. He that believes in Christ does what he cannot do, attempts the impossible and performs it.”
28:19 Therefore [on the basis of Jesus’ authority and because He is worthy of our obedience] go [we must not just “come” to church, we must “go”] and make disciples [imperative; a command; a disciple is more than a convert] of all nations [people groups rather than political-geographical regions], baptizing them in the name of [“under the authority of” or “in allegiance to”] the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Note: Someone wisely said that the church must evangelize or it will fossilize.
28:20 and teaching [an imperative; essential to making disciples; a lifelong process that requires the study of God’s Word; “A disciple is not simply one who has been taught but one who continues to learn.” (Mounce)] them to obey [to heed; to keep] everything I have commanded you. And [what follows is more than an unconditional promise, it is a fact] surely I am with [Jesus is with His followers in the Person of the Holy Spirit] you [read Acts 18:9-10 re: words of Jesus to Paul at Corinth when things got tough: “For I am with you…”] always [cf. Matt. 1:23 re: Jesus as Immanuel (God with us)], to the very end of the age [if understood in the spatial sense: “to the end of the inhabited world;” if understood in the temporal sense: “throughout all time”].”