Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Matthew
Book: Matthew
Chapter: 28

Christ's resurrection. (1-8) He appears to the women. (9,10)
Confession of the soldiers. (11-15) Christ's commission to his
disciples. (16-20)

1-8 Christ Rose the third Day after his Death; that was the
time he had often spoken of. On the first Day of the first Week
God commanded the Light to shine out of Darkness. On this Day
did He who is the Light of the world, shine out of the Darkness
of the Grave; and this Day is from henceforward often mentioned
in the New Testament, as the Day which Christians religiously
observed in solemn assemblies, to the honour of Christ. Our Lord
Jesus could have rolled back the Stone By his own power, but he
chose to have it done By an Angel. The Resurrection of Christ,
as it is the joy of his friends, So it is the terror and
confusion of his enemies. The Angel encouraged the women against
their fears. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid. Fear not ye, for
his resurrection will be your consolation. Our Communion with
him must be spiritual, By Faith in his Word. When we are ready
to make this world our home, and to say, It is good to be here,
then let us remember our Lord Jesus is not here, he is risen;
therefore let our hearts rise, and seek the things that are
above. He is risen, as he said. Let us never think that strange
which the Word of Christ has told us to expect; whether the
sufferings of this present time, or the Glory that is to be
revealed. It may have a good effect upon us, By Faith to view
the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly. It was good to be
there, but the servants of God have other work appointed. Public
usefulness must be Chosen before the pleasure of secret
Communion with God. Tell the disciples, that they may be
comforted under their present sorrows. Christ knows where his
disciples Dwell, and will visit them. Even to those at a
distance from the plenty of the Means of Grace, he will
graciously manifest himself. The fear and the joy together
quickened their pace. The disciples of Christ should be forward
to make known to each other their experiences of Communion with
their Lord; and should tell others what God has done for their

9,10 God's gracious visits usually meet us in the way of duty;
and to those who use what they have for others' benefit, more
shall be given. This interview with Christ was unexpected; but
Christ was nigh them, and still is nigh us in the Word. The
Salutation speaks the good-will of Christ to Man, even since he
entered upon his state of exaltation. It is the will of Christ
that his people should be a cheerful, joyful people, and his
resurrection furnishes abundant matter for joy. Be not afraid.
Christ Rose from the dead, to silence his people's fears, and
there is enough in that to silence them. The disciples had just
before shamefully deserted him in his sufferings; but, to show
that he could forgive, and to teach us to do So, he calls them
brethren. Notwithstanding his majesty and purity, and our
meanness and unworthiness, he still condescends to Call
believers his brethren.

11-15 What wickedness is it which men will not be brought to By
the Love of Money! Here was large Money given to the soldiers
for advancing that which they knew to be a Lie, yet many grudge
a little Money for advancing what they know to be the Truth. Let
us never starve a good cause, when we see bad ones So liberally
supported. The priests undertook to secure them from the Sword
of Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the Sword of
God's Justice, which hangs over the heads of those that Love and
make a Lie. Those men promise more than they can perform, who
undertake to save a Man harmless in doing a wilful Sin. But this
falsehood disproved itself. Had the soldiers been all asleep,
they could not have known what passed. If any had been awake,
they would have roused the others and prevented the removal; and
certainly if they had been asleep, they never would have dared
to confess it; while the Jewish rulers would have been the first
to Call for their Punishment. Again, had there been any Truth in
the report, the rulers would have prosecuted the apostles with
severity for it. The whole shows that the story was entirely
false. And we must not charge such things to the weakness of the
understanding, but to the wickedness of the Heart. God left them
to expose their own course. The great argument to prove Christ
to be the Son of God, is his resurrection; and none could have
more convincing proofs of the Truth of that than these soldiers;
yet they took bribes to hinder others from believing. The
plainest evidence will not affect men, without the work of the
Holy Spirit.

16-20 This Evangelist passes over other appearances of Christ,
recorded By Luke and John, and hastens to the most solemn; one
appointed before his Death, and after his resurrection. All that
see the Lord Jesus with an Eye of Faith, will Worship him. Yet
the Faith of the sincere may be very weak and wavering. But
Christ gave such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made
their Faith to triumph over doubts. He now solemnly commissioned
the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations.
The Salvation they were to preach, is a common Salvation;
whoever will, let him come, and take the benefit; all are
welcome to Christ Jesus. Christianity is the religion of a
sinner who applies for Salvation from deserved wrath and from
Sin; he applies to the Mercy of the Father, through the
Atonement of the incarnate Son, and By the Sanctification of the
Holy Spirit, and gives up himself to be the Worshipper and
servant of God, as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three
Persons but one God, in all his ordinances and Commandments.
Baptism is an outward sign of that inward Washing, or
Sanctification of the Spirit, which seals and evidences the
believer's Justification. Let us examine ourselves, whether we
really possess the inward and spiritual Grace of a Death unto
Sin, and a new Birth unto Righteousness, By which those who were
the children of wrath become the children of God. Believers
shall have the constant presence of their Lord always; all days,
every Day. There is No Day, No Hour of the Day, in which our
Lord Jesus is not present with his churches and with his
ministers; if there were, in that Day, that Hour, they would be
undone. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God that
hideth himself, but never a God at a distance. To these precious
words Amen is added. Even So, Lord Jesus, be thou with us and
all thy people; cause thy Face to shine upon us, that thy way
may be known upon Earth, thy saving health among all nations.