Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers
Questions to Consider
1. What is the purpose of the book of Matthew? Which genre(s) of biblical literature (prophecy, epistle, narrative, wisdom, etc.) is the book of Matthew? What is the historical backdrop for this book?
2. What is the setting for Matthew 28? Briefly describe the events that led up to this chapter. How might the events of this chapter have been different if the women and the disciples had understood and/or believed Jesus the numerous times He told them He would die and rise again?
3. Compare and contrast the way the angel presented himself to the guards (unbelievers) (2-4) with the way he presented himself to the women (believers) (5-7) and the reaction to the angel by the guards (4) and by the women (8). What did the angel tell the women that he didn’t tell the guards? Why didn’t the angel tell the guards not to be afraid, or explain to them what was happening? What was the women’s reaction to encountering Jesus? (9-10) Did the guards get to see Jesus? Why is it good and right for unbelievers to be fearful and hopeless when encountering God, but for Believers to be joyful and reassured when encountering God?
4. Who was the guards’ employer – the Roman government or the chief priests? Yet, to whom did the guards report back after the resurrection? (11) What does 11-15 tell us about how deeply enmeshed the leaders of God’s people had become with pagans? Apply these passages to this relationship between the Jewish leaders and the Roman leaders. What does all of this teach you about your own life? Do you have any yokings (close partnerships or intimate relationships) with unbelievers that you need to reevaluate?
5. Notice the sequence of 16-20: Obedience (16) >> Nearness to Jesus (17a) >> Worship (17) >> Being sent out and used by God to further His Kingdom (18-20). How does this demonstrate the principle of “faithful in little, faithful in much“? What if one of the disciples had decided not to go to the mountain (16)? What would he have missed as a result of his disobedience? How does obedience to Christ draw us nearer to Him, which then fuels our worship of Him? Why should ministry work always be founded on worship?
Why was it important for Jesus to announce His authority (18) before commissioning the disciples (and by extension, all future disciples, including us today)? Does anyone else – pope, pastor, priest, etc. – have the authority to create, establish, or declare the mission of the church and individual Christians? What is the mission of the church and individual Christians? (18-20) Are you carrying out this mission? Is your church?