Matthew 28 Study Notes
28:1 These events occurred early Sunday morning. For the identity of the other Mary, see note at 27:55-56. Mark indicates Salome went with them (Mk 16:1). Since the ancients did not view women as trustworthy, a writer who made up an account designed to convince readers of Jesus’s resurrection would not have made women the first witnesses of the resurrection. That Matthew included the women confirms that he was faithful to record actual events, even if they would be seen as discreditable by society.
28:4 The soldiers lost consciousness and fell to the ground.
28:5-7 The words just as he said recall Jesus’s prophecies about his resurrection (12:40; 16:21; 17:23; 20:19). Jesus taught that the OT prophecies had to be fulfilled since they came from God (5:18; 26:54,56).
28:8-10 During his wilderness temptation (4:10), Jesus quoted Dt 6:13, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him” (Mt 4:10). By accepting worship here, Jesus identified himself as “the Lord your God.”
28:11-15 Wide circulation of this story probably led to the emperor’s edict in the Nazareth Inscription (likely dated ca AD 41-54) that threatened death to anyone who removed an entombed body. Several aspects of the soldiers’ story make no sense. If the soldiers were all asleep, they could not have known that it was Jesus’s disciples who removed his body. Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that all of the soldiers would have slept at the same time. Finally, soldiers were severely punished or even executed for sleeping on duty.
28:16-17 On the significance of the disciples’ worship, see note at 28:8-10. The lingering confusion among them about Jesus’s resurrection undermines the skeptical theory that the disciples shared a hallucination of Jesus’s resurrection because they all expected him to arise.
|Greek pronunciation||[mah they TYOO oh]|
|CSB translation||make disciples|
|Uses in Matthew||3|
|Uses in the NT||4|
|Focus passage||Matthew 28:19|
The verb matheteuo (to make disciples) is derived from the noun mathÄ“tÄ“s which occurs more than 250 times, entirely in the Gospels and Acts. MathÄ“tÄ“s means disciple, pupil, one who learns from another, and typically indicates a person whose life is bound up with that of Jesus, his master. Matheteuo means to become a disciple (Mt 13:52; 27:57). In another two occurrences it means to make disciples (Mt 28:19; Ac 14:21). In the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20), the particular Greek construction (aorist participle followed by aorist imperative; this construction is relatively common in Matthew, Luke, and Acts) indicates that the primary weight of Jesus’s command in the Great Commission is to make disciples, while the act of “going” is a necessary prerequisite to accomplishing this task.
28:18 Before the resurrection, Jesus had authority (7:29; 9:6,8; 11:27; 21:23). However, through the resurrection, the Father granted him all authority over heaven and . . . earth, an authority far greater than that which Satan had vainly promised him (see note at 4:8-9).
28:19 The command to extend their mission worldwide brings to a climax Matthew’s repeated theme of Gentile participation in God’s salvation. The inclusion of four Gentile women in Jesus’s genealogy and the summons of the magi to worship the infant Christ foreshadowed the disciples’ mission of making disciples of all nations. Baptism marked a person’s entrance into the faith community. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is a reference to the Trinity. Matthew’s language shows that a clear understanding of Jesus’s nature and identity as God was required before baptism.
28:20 The Great Commission (vv. 19-20) is preceded by a reference to Jesus’s authority and followed by the promise of Jesus’s spiritual presence among us. Both are necessary if we are to fulfill our God-given mission.