THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 28

1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Very early in the morning of Sunday ("the first day of the week"), even BEFORE the dawning they came to the tomb. Both Mark and Luke tell us that the reason these women came was to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. (See Mark 16:1, and Luke 24:1).

Now, did the ladies witness the "earthquake," or had it happened before their arrival?
Mark tells us the ladies were conversing with one another, and asked, "Who shall roll the stone away for us?" (See Mark 16:3-4). Obviously, the ladies arrived AFTER the angel had descended and rolled away the stone.

What about this "earthquake?" The Greek word used is seizmos. More commonly it means a shaking or commotion. This word does not necessarily mean that the shaking extended throughout the area. It could have been localized, and an action of "the angel" which descended from heaven. It could mean the manner in which the angel removed the stone. However, let us remember Matthew 27:52-53.

And, who is this "angel?" The Greek word for angel is a general word aggelos, which simply means messenger. But Matthew is very particular here, and points out this messenger descended "from heaven! This, then, in opposition to many heretics, was not a messenger of the disciples, nor a messenger of Joseph of Arimathaea.

The description of this messenger, is very enlightening. His clothing, or covering, was "white as snow." And his "countenance", or appearance was as "lightning!" This was an awesome messenger from God, and had the power to whisk back the stone easily!

When this angel appeared, the guards set at the tomb shook and fainted!
But, when the ladies appeared, this angel spoke comfortingly to them, "Fear not!"
Isn't it amazing, how God, with the same action, can strike fear in the hearts of unbelievers, and also give comfort to His children?

When the women saw the angel, they were totally astonished. Mark says they were "affrighted" (See Mark 16:5). Since they were too frightened to speak, the angel spoke to them.

First, the angel invited them to come and look at the proof that Jesus was not there. The graveclothes in which He had been laid were left behind. They saw the same thing that Peter saw later (See John 20:2-7). The graveclothes were lying where Jesus had been. But the "napkin", which had been wound around Jesus' head was carefully folded and placed by itself. Now there's a story about that.

In those days, when well-to-do people were eating, the servants were watching. If the "master" got up and left the table, they looked at his napkin. If it were crumpled, he was not returning -- he was through eating. If the napkin were FOLDED, it meant the master was not through; he was RETURNING!

Now the FOLDED napkin certainly has a special significance. Jesus is RISEN! He has defeated death and the grave! And He's COMING BACK!! He has ALREADY appeared to His disciples that followed Him then; and He WILL APPEAR to all those who follow Him now!

7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

The THEME in Matthew 28 seems to be "GO!" This passage represents the first of three statements beginning "GO! Matthew is closing this book which is the story of Jesus Christ. He is coming to what I believe is the most important part of the book. That part defines what the READER will do with this story!!

The angel told the ladies to "GO! tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you." This was not a SUGGESTION, it was a COMMAND!

The ladies left "quickly!" And they "ran" to tell the disciples what the angel had said.

They did not wait. They did not tarry. They did not become distracted by other things. They "RAN" to tell the disciples.

Then, while they were on the way, Jesus met them Himself. When He greeted them, they "worshipped" Him. They KNEW what His resurrection meant! He is LORD, God in flesh, Master, Creator, and Savior!!

And when He says "Go!" it is NOT a suggestion!

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Here is the second "GO!" of Matthew 28. Jesus Himself had met the women, and they worshipped Him knowing that He is indeed THE Messiah.

Now, Jesus reiterates the command given to them by the angel: "GO! Tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me!"

Again, this is not a suggestion! It is a command!
And, again, notice they IMMEDIATELY went!

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

I think this is very important. It shows that Matthews THEME in this chapter is "GO!"
Matthew SKPS the part of Jesus' appearance at the "upper room (See John 20:19-29). Skipping this part, gets right to the major point.

These men who had been part of the "watch" went and told the chief priests what had happened. Keep in mind, it was their duty to see that Jesus' body STAYED in the tomb.

The chief priests accused them of SLEEPING on duty! Nevertheless, the chief priests BRIBED them. They paid the men money to say that while they were sleeping, the disciples of Jesus came and stole the body.

The chief priests also agreed that they would LIE! If indeed the governor charged the men with sleeping on duty, the chief priests would persuade him to let them go. Sleeping on duty (in the armed services) is a serious breach. It can lead to scourging, jail time, loss of commission and other dreaded disciplinary procedures. But the chief priest agreed to LIE and "secure" these men so they would not have to suffer those disciplinary procedures.

Now, this action, by the chief priests was a distraction and a deterrent to the women GOING! If they went and told the disciples they had seen Jesus, they could be accused of saying that the guards were LYING! This could have led to disciplinary procedures against them by the Sanhedrin (ruling council of the Jewish nation).

That's why this passage is important. Even though they were under threat, the women went and told the disciples ANYWAY!

And that lead us to the third "GO! in Matthew 28.

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Obviously there was a place on a mountainside in Galilee where Jesus wanted to meet with His disciples for a final TEACHING. Keep in mind, they had been "disciples" of Jesus for over 3 years. That meant that they were willingly following Him and LEARNING what He said so they could put it into practice in their lives.

When Jesus met them there, He had one more instruction that was intended to be put in practice in their lives.

Here, I must digress for a moment. What Jesus told THOSE disciples applies to ALL disciples! If you and I surrender to Jesus as Lord, then He becomes MASTER/TEACHER. And we are to take His instructions and put them into practice in our lives.

It is important also to understand that the statement Jesus makes in verses 18-20 is not a suggestion, it is a COMMAND!

Now, let's look at that statement for a moment.

Jesus begins with a proclamation of His "authority." His authority extends through all heaven and earth! He is RISEN, and is set down at the "right hand" of God. That means He, Jesus, is the POWER of God in the rulership of God's kingdom.
Jesus is the One by Whom God created the heavens and the earth (See Hebrews 1:1-3).
Jesus is also Savior of all the world (See Luke 2:10-11).
And Jesus is Judge of all the world (See Matthew 25:31-33).

And, if a person truly believes and trusts in Jesus, then HE becomes the Master of all we do and say. It is to Him we look for direction in our lives.

First, there is the statement to the ladies to "Go" immediately.
Second, the statement to "Go" regardless of distraction or deterrent.
Then, the statement of WHAT we are to do when we "Go!" You see, this is called THE GREAT COMMISSION. It is a commission by our Lord Jesus, to all disciples of His. It is a commission of the wonderful privilege of sharing the GOOD NEWS of Jesus. He is God. He forgives. He will save. It is a GREAT commission because there is a constant cycle of that commission. First it is to the disciples of that day. They are to "make disciples" (by teaching), then to teach those disciples to observe ALL that Jesus taught them. Which means that each person who becomes a disciple of Jesus, also has the commission to teach others!

GO TEACHING!
This first teaching is translated from the Greek word matheteuo, which literally means "make disciples of." They were to teach people to become willing students of Jesus. They were not given the command to convert people. Only God can convert someone from sinfulness to following the Savior, Jesus. But they were commissioned to matheteuo, or to give people the "HOW" of being saved and converted. How would they teach that?
First, teach that Jesus is the Son of God Who came into the world to purchase redemption for all men.
Second, teach that Jesus is the Christ of God Who died on the cross in substitutionary atonement. He died under the punishment of God in order that we might have the privilege of NOT dying under the punishment of God.
Third, teach that Jesus AROSE from the grave. He overcame death, and is able to give LIFE to all those who surrender to Him as Lord.
Fourth, teach that Jesus is one day coming back. At that time He will gladly receive all those who have surrendered to Him.
Fifth, teach that Jesus is the One to Whom we are to look for guidance and direction in all of our life.

Then, God's Holy Spirit would do the convicting and convincing and converting.

In other words: "As you are going about your life - MAKE DISCIPLES of others. Teach Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promised Messiah, and help them know HOW to become willing followers and students of Him."

BAPTIZE!
And, when they believe "baptize" them. Baptism is a symbolic activity which explains and testifies to the regeneration of the believer.
He has willingly "died" to himself (lying down in the water).
He is washed and cleansed by Christ from sin (being submerged).
He is raised up by Christ to live a new way of life (being lifted from the water).
And, they were to baptize them significantly in the "Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." The words "in the Name of" are quite significant. It means the professing believer is baptized INTO the triune God. The professing believer willingly submits himself/herself to the authority and control of God. He/she believes that the Father God, Son of God, and Spirit of God are ONE in unison and purpose.

This baptismal statement opposes the former manner of baptism because it includes The Son and The Holy Ghost as equal in office to the Father, yet all are in complete agreement and unison in acting on behalf of people. This was quite different from "the baptism of John" (the baptist). John baptized believers of a Messiah coming to perform purchase of salvation's right. He came as man, but indeed is God. But disciples of Christ today are to baptize the FULFILLMENT of John's prophetic baptism. The SON has come! He is the impeccable and visible image of the Father ( Hebrews 1:3). And the Holy Ghost is the teaching ( John 14:26), and sealing (Ephesians 1:13) agent of God (among other things). The Holy Spirit is our greatest Teacher. For when we search the Scriptures seeking GOD'S direction (instead of our own predispostion, or the predispostion of others), then He guides us in understanding.

Thus, when Aquila and Priscilla first met Apollos, Apollos is described as one only knowing "the baptism of John" (the baptist). (See Acts 18:24-26) Apollos did not yet know that Jesus had come. He did not know that Jesus was the Purchaser of redemption and the Giver of God's invisible Spirit into believers. But when Apollos was instructed about Jesus, he became even more "fervent" in his application of the Scriptures, using them to PROVE that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah of God.

TEACH!
Each believer, after being discipled (taught further), becomes a carrier of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is commissioned by our Lord Jesus, and it is a conviction and compelling by God's Holy Spirit.

The word from which this "teaching" is translated is the Greek word didasko, and means "to instruct." AFTER believers have made a profession of their faith in Jesus, and entered into baptism, THEN they are to be further instructed. They are to be instructed in "ALL" things that Jesus commanded His disciples.

In order for disciples to teach these things, they must first LEARN these things. Christians are to study the Word of God (2Timothy 2:15),
and then to "teach" (See Paul's instruction to Timothy (2Timothy 2:1-3)
so that the cycle of salvation, learning and imparting continues until Jesus comes again!

REMEMBER!
Remember that you have the closeness of a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus DAILy!
He is God, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Savior. But He is also "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)

There ya have it! The three statemetnts of "GO" in Matthew 28.
GO immediately!
GOD regardless of distraction or deterrent!
And finally:
GO teaching others HOW to be saved, by trusting in Jesus Christ.
And teaching those who surrender to Christ "ALL THINGS" which Jesus instructed.

Matthew faithfully produced a "Gospel," or Good News relating the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

Now the question is: What will YOU do with this story?
Will you believe Jesus is the Son of God, Who came to die for you, and vicariously accept your reasonable punishment for sin? Will you believe that, by accepting that punishment, Jesus made the only appropriate atonement for your sins? Will you believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to receive forgiveness and eternal salvation?

If you DO believe it, be BAPTIZED! Make a public confession of your faith in Jesus!
Then TEACH! Continue a public profession of your faith in Jesus!

To do these things, one must commit to Christ, then study, learn and grow in Christ.

If you're already committed, and interested in learning how to grow and help others come to know Christ, you might want to order my book: BORN TO GROW. You can do that by going back to the main web page (http://www.linktojesus.org) then cliking on the mailbox down toward the bottom. Just send me an e-mail requesting "BORN TO GROW." Be sure to include your address. I'll mail it to you with a very small bill for shipping.

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.