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Bible: What Does Matthew 28 Teach Us About Jesus' Resurrection, Post-Resurrection Appearances, and Great Commission?

Updated on September 15, 2016

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Matthew 28: The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus; Post-Resurrection Appearance; "The Great Commission"; Study Questions

An Angel Comforts the Maries

Dawn Sunday: the two Maries come to Jesus’ tomb to finish preparing His body for permanent burial (v. 1).

[Is “the other Mary” Jesus’ mother or someone else?]

A severe earthquake shakes the land; Matthew attributes it to an angel’s heavenly descent (v. 2a).

Having rolled the gola [large boulder] away from the sepulcher to show Jesus’ absence—he did not come to let Him out! —and having frightened the guards almost to death, the glorious angel sits atop the crag and addresses the women (vv. 2b-4).

He performs his duty as comforter first (v. 5a), then as messenger, informing them of the fulfilled prophecy regarding Jesus’ resurrection.

The angel also functions as a tomb guide, showing them where the men had laid the Lord (vv. 5b-6).

“Your task now,” he says, in essence, “is to announce this good news to the eleven, and tell them to go to Galilee where they will see the Lord” (v. 7).

The Maries Meet the Resurrected Jesus

Overwhelmed with joy, the two Maries hasten to obey the angel’s message (v. 8).

While on their way, they meet their resurrected Master, who confirms the angel’s message to them—with one significant change.

Instead of “tell His disciples,” Jesus says, “Go and tell My brethren” (v. 10).

[The women needed confirmation, and His men needed to know that a change in their relationship with Him had taken place.]

The Jewish Elders React

Word of “all the things that had happened”—that is, the earthquake, angelic appearance, and the missing body—finds its way back to the Jewish elders via some members of the guard (v. 11).

Rather than acknowledge the miracles, they bribe the soldiers to tell the Roman authorities a contradictory story about the nighttime theft of Jesus’ body while they all slept (v. 13).

A dangerous risk it is for soldiers to confess that they slept on the job; they are dead men if the elders cannot appease Pilate with this flimsy excuse (v. 14).

Nevertheless, they take the money and lie to their overseer; the fabricated story remains extant among the Jews, at least to the day Matthew wrote this gospel (v. 15).



Jesus and Disciples


Jesus' Post-Resurrection Appearances

Matthew concludes his gospel by recording the post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus that launches the apostles’ mission to the world.

Meeting at the appointed place—a mountain in Galilee—some of them greet Him with worship, yet some with skepticism (v. 17).

[Was there something about His appearance that caused some of them to doubt?

How could they doubt if they saw the same face, heard the same voice, and felt the same flesh?]

Jesus' Great Commission

Prefacing His commission to His men with a statement asserting His absolute, universal authority (v. 18), the Lord then commands them to “make disciples,” that is, preach the gospel and win peoples of all nations to its truth so that they believe it.

After making that profession of faith, these new Christians should submit to baptism—that is, an immersion into water that identifies them with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

The one performing this ordinance must “dip” them in the name of the Triune Godhead—one name [Being, Essence], three personal subsistences [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] [v. 19].

The converts should then come under Jesus’ teachings with a view to “observing” them, i.e., practicing them in their lives (v. 20a).

To enable them to accomplish this “Great Commission,” Jesus promises His apostles (and those who follow them) that His Spirit/presence will remain with them “until the end of the age,” i.e., until He returns physically to set up His kingdom on earth (v. 20b).

As followers of Christ, the Church continues this work throughout the world until the Rapture (cf. Acts 1:8); the 144,000 Jews and their converts will finish the task during the tribulation period (Rev. 7:5-10).

Study Questions from The Gospel of Matthew

What “family-related” terms figure prominently in the beginning of Genesis and Matthew, respectively?

Matthew delineates Jesus’ ancestry under two famous personages. Who are they?

What grammatical construction indicates that Mary was the only human being involved in Jesus’ conception (1:16)?

Which OT Scripture foretells the birthplace of the Ruler?

Where is that birthplace?

How did God communicate with Joseph around the time of Jesus’ conception, birth, and infancy?

What was the message of John the Baptizer?

What does the Greek word associated with the Baptizer’s message (metanoia) literally mean?

What chapters house Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount”?

What does Jesus say in Matthew 5: 17-18 about the authority of the OT?

What does it mean to “exceed” the Pharisees in righteousness?

What is morally objectionable about the lex talionis, if anything?

To what does the term “kingdom of heaven” refer?

With how many temptations did Satan test Jesus during the one recorded occasion, and how did Jesus defeat him?

What specific sections of the Hebrew Scriptures did Jesus consider authoritative?

About what “three practices of piety” did Jesus discuss in His sermon?

Jesus teaches that an effective prayer life consists of three elements. What are they?

What is the “Golden Rule”?

What is the definition of “mystery,” and how does the concept relate to the kingdom and the Church?

Explain the parable of “The Four Soils.”

Defend your interpretation of Jesus’ “rock” statement to Peter.

Interact with Walter Kaiser’s interpretation of the “coming of Elijah” at the Transfiguration.

Using Jesus’ explanation to the disciples, discuss why the doctrine of Transubstantiation cannot be Scripturally correct.

With whom did God promise to make a new covenant?

What songs did the Jews traditionally sing at the end of the Passover supper?

Using the Psalmist, an OT prophet and a passage from Luke’s Acts, discuss the betrayal and death of Judas.

What does Jesus’ citation of Psalm 22:1 signify?

What are the constituent parts of the “Great Commission”?

© 2013 glynch1


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