Matt 28:1-15 The Resurrection of Jesus CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
It is easiest to view the resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of the various characters that were involved. The characters directly involved with the resurrection are:
The Two Mary’s
Matt 28:1 at first daylight, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses (27:56) came to the sepulcher. They were accompanied by Salome who had been with them at the crucifixion (Mk 16:1; 15:40) and by Joanna (Lk 24:10) and other women.
They wondered who would roll the stone back for them (Mk 16:3). Yet when they looked at the tomb, they saw that the great stone had already been rolled away (Mk 16:4)
Matt 28:2, 5 they saw an angel sitting on the stone that covered the sepulcher. In Matt 28:5-6 the angel pronounced that Jesus had risen and that they could see the place where he lay.
In Mk 16:5-8, they entered the sepulcher and saw a young man clothed in a long white garment sitting on the right side. According to Lk 24:4, he must have stood and the angel that had been sitting on the stone must have stood beside the women as well. He told them not to be afraid, Jesus was risen and then he gave them instructions to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee. In Matt 28:7, after hearing the instructions, they ran to tell the disciples. They fled, not talking to anyone, because they were afraid.
In Lk 24:9, they went to the eleven and those that were with them to tell them these things. In Jn 21:2-10, Peter and John returned with Mary Magdalene to the sepulcher. They both went in and saw the linen clothes lying and the napkin that had been wrapped around his head lying by itself. They left.
Mary Magdalene stayed behind because Jesus appeared to her alone first (Mk 16:9). In Jn 20:11-18, she was weeping at the sepulcher and when she looked inside again, the two angels were there. She thought someone had taken the body of Jesus. When she saw Jesus, she first thought that he was the gardener, and asked him where the body was. He called her by name and then she knew it was the Lord. She tried to touch him but he refused because he had not yet ascended to his Father. She reported to the disciples that she had seen the Lord.
In Matt 28:9, as they were notifying the disciples of the resurrection, Jesus appeared again and they held him by the feet this time and worshipped him. Therefore, he had already ascended to heaven and returned. In verse 10, he confirmed the angel’s instructions to them that they meet him in Galilee.
There were two of them. The first one they saw was sitting on the stone (Matt 28:2). Then they saw one sitting in the tomb (Mk 16:5). He evidently stood up and was joined by the other angel (Lk 24:4). Then when Mary remained after Peter and John left, the two angels were sitting, one at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus had lain (Jn 20:12).
In Matt 28:4, the keepers saw the angel roll back the stone, and they were afraid of him. So, they had not fallen asleep. They knew for sure that the disciples had not removed the body, since the angel rolled back the stone right before dawn.
In Matt 28:11- 15, they went to the chief priests to tell them what happened. When the elders assembled with them, they decided to bribe the soldiers with a large sum of money to lie about the resurrection saying that Jesus had been stolen by his disciples. They promised to protect the soldiers if Pilate found out that they had allegedly fallen asleep on their watch. Even up to the time that Matthew wrote this gospel, this lie was commonly reported among the Jews.
The Chief Priests and Elders
In Matt 28:11, they had been told by eyewitnesses (the keepers) that Jesus had risen from the dead. These eyewitnesses did not testify to seeing Jesus personally but they did see the angel and the stone rolled back from the empty tomb. So, when confronted with the truth of the resurrection, they were without excuse. They knew for sure that he was not a deceiver (27:63)
They mourned and wept (Mk 16:10). When they first heard about the resurrection from the women, they didn’t believe it (Mk 16:11). They thought the women had made it up (Lk 24:11). They even heard confirmation from the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and didn’t believe them (Mk 16:12-14). The only one who believed after he had seen the empty tomb was John (Jn 20:8).
On the day of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first (Mk 16:9). Then he appeared to some as they went to tell the disciples (Matt 28:9). Then he appeared to Peter (Lk 24:34; I Cor 15:5). Then he appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-33). Then he appeared to the disciples in the evening (Jn 20:19; Lk 24:36).