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first appeared to Mary Magdalene, when alo.se, John xx. 14. Afterwards he appeared to the other women, as related by Matthew. See the accounts of the resurrection harmonized, at the end of this chapter. ‘All hail.' The meaning of the word 'hail' here, is, rejoice; a term of salutation connected with the idea of joy: joy at his resurrection, and at meeting them again. 'Held him by the feet.' Or threw themselves prostrate before him. This was the usual posture of supplication. See 2 Kings iv. 37. It does not mean that they took hold of his feet, but only that they cast themselves down before him. And worshipped him. See note, Matt. viji. 2. In this place the word 'worship’ seems to denote ihe homage due to the Messiah risen from the dead; regarded by them now in a proper light, and entitled to the honour which was due to God, agreeable to John v. 23.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid : go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
* Be not afraid! When in the presence of a heavenly beingan angel, or one who was supposed to be possessed of Divine power-men were commonly struck with great fear, as well as a great sense of their unworthiness. See Luke v.8. Judges vị. 22, 23; xiii. 21, 22. The women were in like manner alarmed when they saw Jesus: believing him now peculiarly to be a Divine being; seeing him returning from the regions of the dead ; and doubtless impressed with a new consciousness that they were unworthy of being in his presence. "Go tell my brethren.' There is something exceedingly tender in the appellation here used, my brethren. Though he was risen from the dead; though about to be exalted to heaven ; yet he did not disdain tó call his disciples his brethren. This was calculated still further to silence the fears of the women, and to inspire them with confidence. 'Into Galilee.' Galilee was the northern part of the land. There the Saviour commenced his ministry ; and there, away from the noise and confusion of the city, he purposed again to meet them.
11 ( Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
“When they were going.'. Or when they had gone from the tomb. 'Some of the watch. Some of the guard that had been set around the tomb to keep it safe. “Showed unto the chief priests,' To Annas and Caiaphas.
12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money urto
the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
They deemed the matter of so much importance as to justify .he calling together of the great council of the nation. Notwith. standing all their caution, it was plain that the body of Jesus was gone. They had been at great pains to procure his death. They had convinced Pilate that he was dead. They had placed a guard for the express purpose of preventing his being taken. It would be in vain after this to pretend that he was not dead ; that he was in a swoon; that he died in appearance only. They concluded, after consultation, that but one way was left-to bribe the soldiers—to induce them to tell a falsehood, and to attempt to convince the world that Jesus, in spite of themselves, and in the face of all probability, had been really stolen. “Large money. Much money. This was given to bribe them; to induce them to conceal the truth; and to affirm what they knew was false.
14 And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.
“The governor's ears.' To Pilate. If it is reported to hiin that Jesus was stolen while you slept. We will persuade him.' We will convince, or satisfy him, so that he shall not punish you. This they might promise with safety. They knew from the character of Pilate that he could be easily bribed. He had not been inclined at all to interfere in any thing concerning the Saviour, until it was urged upon him by the Jews, He would not be disposed of himself to take any further trouble about the matter, unless the sanhedrim should demand it. This of course they would not do.
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
• Commonly reported. This account of the disappearance of the body of Jesus from the sepulchre is commonly given. Until this day. The time when Matthew wrote this gospel, that is, about thirty years after the resurrection.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus, of which an account is given in this chapter, is one of the most important doctrines of the christian religion, and is attested by the strongest evidence that can be adduced in favour of any ancient fact. He had often foretold his own death and resurrection. See Matt. xii. 40 ; xvi, 21; xx. 19. There was no doubt that he was really dead. Every-proper precaution was taken to prevent his removal by stealth. On the third day the body was missing. In this all were agreed. The disciples affirmed that he was alive. The Jews hired the Roman soldiers to affirm that he was stolen while they slept, and succeeded in making many of the people believe it. This account of the Jew's is attended with the following difficulties and absurdities: 1. The Roman guard was composed usually of sixty men, and they were stationed there for the express purpose of guarding the body of Jesus. 2. The punishment of sleeping while on guard was death, and it is perfectly incredible that they should expose themselves in this manner to death. 3. The disciples were few in number, unarmed, weak, and timid. They had just fled before those who took Jesus in the garden, and how can it be believed that in so short a time they should dare to attempt to take away from a Roman guard of armed men what they were expressly set to defend ? 4. How could the disciples remove the stone and the body, without awaking one of their number?_5. The regularity and order of the grave clothes, John xx. 6, 7, show that the body had not been stolen. When men rob graves of the bodies of the dead, they do not wait coolly and regularly to fold up the grave clothes, and lay them carefully by themselves. 6. If the soldiers were asleep, how did they, or how could they know that the disciples stole the body away? If they were awake, why did they suffer it? The whole account, therefore, was absurd. On the other hand, the account given by the disciples was perfectly natural. l. They account for the reason why the soldiers did not see the Saviour when he rose. Terrified at the vision of an angel, they became as dead men. 2. They affirmed that they saw him. All the apostles affirmed this, and many others. 3. They affirmed it in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Jews, before the high priest and the people. See the Acts of the Apostles. If the Jews really believed the account which they themselves had given, why did they not apprehend the apostles and prove them guilty of the theft and of falsehood ? things which they never attempted, and which show, therefore, that they did not credit their own report. 4. In regard to the Saviour, they could not be deceived. They had been with him three years. They knew him as a friend. They again ate and drank with him; they put their fingers into his hands and side; they conversed with him; they were with him forty days. There were enough of them to bear witness. The law commonly requir not more than one or two competent witnesses, but here were twelve plain, honest men who affirmed in all places, and at all times, that they had seen him. They gave every possible evidence of their sincerity. They were persecuted, ridiculed, scourged, and put to death for affirming this. Yet not one of them ever expressed the least doubt of its truth. They bore every thing rather than deny that they had seen him. They had no motive in doing this, but the love of the truth. They obtained no wealth by it; no honour; no pleasure. They gave themselves up to great and unparalleled sufferings; going from
land to land; crossing over the sea; and enduring the dangers, toils, and privations of various climes, for the simple object of affirming every where that a Saviour died and rose. If they knew this was an imposition-and if it had been, they would have known it-in what way is this remarkable conduct to be accounted for ? 6. The world believed them. Three thousand of the Jews themselves believed on the risen Saviour on the day of Pentecost, but fifty days after his resurrection, Acts ii. 41. Multitudes of other Jews believed during the lives of the apos, tles. Thousands of Gentiles believed also, and in three hundred years the belief that Jesus rose had spread over and changed the whole Roman empire. Had the apostles been deceivers, that was the age in which they could most easily have been detected. Yet that was the age when converts were most rapidly multiplied, and God affixed his seal to their testimony that it was true.
16 T Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
Judas was dead, leaving but eleven of the original number of the apostles. 'Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.' This appointment is recorded in Matt. xxvi. 32.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
“They worshipped him.' Paid him honour as the Messiah. 'But some doubted.' As, for example, Thomas, John xx. 25. The disciples bad not expected his resurrection; they were therefore slow to believe. The mention of their doubting shows that they were not easily imposed on-that they had not previously agreed to affirm that he had risen—that they were convinced only by the strength of the evidence.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
The Son of God, as Creator, had an original right to all things, to control them and dispose of them. See John i. 3. Col. i. 16, 17. Heb. i. 8. But the universe is put under him more particularly as Mediator, that he might redeem his people, that he might gather a church, that he might defend his chosen, that he might subdue all their enemies, and bring them off conquerors and more than conquerors, Eph. i. 20—23. 1 Cor. xv. 25–27. John v, 22, 23. Phil. ii. 6-11. It is in reference to this, doubtless, that he speaks here-power or authority committed to him over all things, that he might redeem, defend, and save the church purchased with his own blood. His mediatorial government extends therefore over the material world, over angels, over devils, over wicked men, and over his own people. 19 9 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
hem in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost •
'Go ye, therefore. Because all power is mine, go, I can defend you, and the world is placed under my control. Though you are weak, yet I am strong. Though you die, yet I live, and the work shall be accomplished. “Teach all nations. The word rendered
teach' here, is not the one that is usually so translated in the New Testament. This word properly means disciple, or make disciples of, all nations. This was to be done, however, by teaching them, and by administering the rite of baptism. tions.' This gracious commission was the foundation of the authority to go to the Gentiles. Jesus broke down the partition wall, and commissioned his disciples to go every where, and bring the world to the knowledge of hiniself. Baptizing them.' Applying to them water, as an emblem of the purifying influences of the christian religion through the Holy Spirit, and solemnly devoting them to God. In the name,' &c. "To be baptized in the name of the Father, &c. is the same as to be baptized unto the Father; as to believe on the name of Christ, is the same as to believe in Christ, John i. 12; ii. 23; iii. 18. 1 Cor. i. 13. To be baptized unto any one is publicly to receive and adopt him as a religious teacher or lawgiver; to receive his system of religion. Thus the Jews were baptized unto Moses, 1 Cor. x. 2. That is, they received the system that he taught; they acknowledged him as their lawgiver and teacher. So to be baptized in the name of the Father, &c. means publicly, by a significant rite, to receive his system of religion ; to bind the soul to obey his laws; to be devoted to him; and trust to his promises. To be baptized unto the Son, in like manner, is to receive him as the Messiah-our Prophet, Priest, and King; to submit to his laws, and to receive him as the Saviour of the soul. To be baptized unto the Holy Ghost is to receive him as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Guide of the soul. The meaning, then, may be thus expressed : Baptizing them unto the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by a solemn profession of the only true religion, and by a solemn devotion to the service of the sacred Trinity.
The union of these three names in the form of baptism proves that the Son and Holy Ghost are equal with the Father. Nothing would be more absurd or blasphemous than to unite the name of a creature-a man or an angel-with the name of the ever living God, in this solemn rite. If Jesus was a mere man or an angel, as is held by many who deny bis divinity; and if the Holy Ghost was a mere attribute of God; then it would have been the height of absurdity to use a form like this, or to direct the apostles to baptize men unto them. The form of baptism, therefore, has been always understood as an irrefragable argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, or that the Son and Holy Spirit are equal to the Father