by Dr. Robert R. Seyda



In finishing this 28th Chapter we have completed our study of Matthew’s Gospel. In this last portion, we find the disciples were sadly gone into hiding after Jesus’ crucifixion while two prominent Jews, who were secret believers in Jesus as the waited Messiah, gave Him a proper burial. Then several women, who had been constant helpers in Jesus’ ministry, were not ashamed of being followers of this prophet of Galilee, and on Sunday morning boldly went to the tomb to where He had been laid on Friday evening, to pay their respects.

As Matthew tells it, while they were on their way, the ground began to shake as an angel of the Lord arrived just in time to roll back the stone so they could see that their Lord was no longer there. The Roman sentries guarding the tomb panicked because the angel’s arrival was like a bolt of lightning, so they ran off. By the time the women arrived, the angel was sitting on the rolled-away stone.

As the women approached, the angel told them not to be afraid because he knew they were there to see Jesus who was crucified. That Jesus was no longer in the tomb because He was alive. The angel even invited them to look inside the tomb to make sure the Messiah was no longer there. After the women saw that the tomb was empty, then the angel told them to hurry back to the city and tell the disciples the good news that the Master had risen from the dead. The angel also told them to tell the disciples that Jesus would meet them back in Galilee just as He had promised.

The women were quick to obey the angel’s command. And although they were breathless because of their encounter with an angel, they took off for the city to tell the disciples what they had just seen and heard. But as they hurried away, they were suddenly confronted by an unusual looking man standing in their path who warmly greeted them. There was something about the way He spoke that immediately convinced them that this was their risen Savior. So they ran toward Him, fell on their knees, touched His feet with their foreheads as a sign of reverence and worship.

However, Jesus had another reason for this encounter. He could see both the fright and amazement in their eyes, so He told them not to be afraid. Then He confirmed what the angel had said, and asked them to go tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee at a place where they had often gathered before. The women did not hesitate, they started running immediately toward Jerusalem with the exciting good news.

But they were not the only group hurrying rapidly toward the city. Some of the Roman sentries who were guarding the tomb had recovered from their frightening encounter with the angel, and they were also on their way with an urgent message. While the women were intent on finding the disciples, the sentries were equally intent on finding the chief priests with their urgent message. We have been told that when the women told the disciples about Jesus being alive, they were skeptical thinking the women were having hallucinations. Oddly enough, when the sentries told the chief priests about Jesus being alive, they believed it and immediately concocted a story about how Jesus’ disciples had come in the middle of the night and stole His body. Then, to cover up their lie they paid the sentries to tell this story to their Roman commander.

There was a law all Roman soldiers who were given charge of prisoners knew about, that if any one of their prisoners escaped from custody they then would then suffer the consequences intended for that prisoner. But the chief priests knew that these Roman officers could be bribed just as easily as these guards were. On that assurance, the sentries hurried off to tell their false story. By the time Matthew’s gospel was published, this story was still going around among the Jews and Romans.

The disciples recovered from their doubt about Jesus’ resurrection and went back Galilee to the place Jesus was supposed to meet them. And sure enough, He showed up just as He said He would. When some of them saw him, in their amazement they ran to Him and did as the women had done. They fell on their knees and touched His feet with their forehead. Yet, Matthew says, others still had their doubts. But Jesus didn’t let this stand in His way. He had a message for them.

Jesus told them without no uncertainty, now that He had risen from the tomb, that His Father had given Him authority over everything in heaven and on earth. So by that authority, He was sending them out into the world to make disciples of all who believe. And as a sign of their confessed faith, He told them to baptize them with the approval of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then to instruct them on everything they had heard Him teach. But He also told them that He was not sending them out alone, that He would be with them every step of the way until God’s plan of salvation was carried out.

This is where Matthew’s account ends, but we know from others that Jesus told them to first go back to Jerusalem and way until the Holy Spirit would arrive to empower them, comfort them, and guide them on their way to winning the world to Christ. Then after 40 days being with them, He suddenly was taken up into heaven so that He could take His place at God’s right hand as their mediator. And that is where He is to this very day, awaiting His Father’s signal that it is time to go back and gather all those who believed in Him, whether they are dead or alive, and bring them back to the place that He has been preparing for them to live for eternity.

So, none of us were there to experience His first coming, but we will all be there for His second coming. And in the words of a song written by a young man named Jim Hill, who was studying to be a professional opera singer. But after his conversion, he joined a gospel quartet. Then, not too long afterward, his wife’s mother became gravely ill. He went to the hospital to visit her, and on the way home these words came flooding into his mind:

There is coming a day,
When no heart aches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

God bless all of you for your dedication and love for the Bible. I pray that the seed that has been sown in your hearts and minds during this journey through Matthew will be anointed by the Holy Spirit and help you grow stronger and wise in being the Christian God wants you to be. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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