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Lesson # Matt. 28:1-4
Study Material - Matt. 28:1-4
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Matt. 28:1-4 1 In the end [de] [opse] of the sabbath [sabbaton] , as it began to dawn [epiphosko] toward [eis] the first [mia] day of the week [sabbaton] , came [erchomai] Mary [Maria] Magdalene [Magdalene] and [kai] the other [allos] Mary [Maria] to see [theoreo] the sepulchre [taphos] . 2 And [kai] , behold [idou] , there was [ginomai] a great [megas] earthquake [seismos] : for [gar] the angel [aggelos] of the Lord [kurios] descended [katabaino] from [ek] heaven [ouranos] , and came [proserchomai] and rolled back [apokulio] the stone [lithos] from [apo] the door [thura] , and [kai] sat [kathemai] upon [epano] it [autos] . 3 [de] His [autos] countenance [idea] was [en] like [hos] lightning [astrape] , and [kai] his [autos] raiment [enduma] white [leukos] as [hosei] snow [chion] : 4 And [de] for [apo] fear [phobos] of him [autos] the keepers [tereo] did shake [seio] , and [kai] became [ginomai] as [hosei] dead [nekros] men. KJV-Interlinear 1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; 4 and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. NASB
The foundation of all our hope and confidence is expressed in Jesus Christ's' own words: 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,' John 11:25, and, 'Because I live, you shall live also,' John 14:19.
The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, and everything that we are and have and hope to be is predicated on the reality of the resurrection. There would be no Christianity if there were no resurrection.
The message of scripture is a message of resurrection hope, a message that death is not the end, but rather is a doorway that leads into eternity with God.
Abraham obeyed God's command to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, because, in faith, 'he considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead,' Heb 11:19. The psalmists declared, 'God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He will receive me,' Psa. 49:15, and that 'with Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory,' Psa. 73:24.
Isaiah stated, 'Your dead will live; their corpses will rise,' Isa 26:19. Through Daniel the Lord assures His people that, although they die, one day they 'will awake... to everlasting life,' Dan 12:2.
Hosea assures believers that the Lord will raise up all believers to live before Him, Hos 6:2. Job asked rhetorically, 'If a man dies, will he live again?' and then declared, 'All the days of my struggle I will wait, until my change comes,' Job 14:14. Job foresaw the reality of resurrection, stating to his three friends, 'I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God,' Job 19:25-26.
Our promised hope is predicated on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is His resurrection that guarantees ours. 'Now Christ has been raised from the dead,' Paul said, 'the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive,' 1 Cor 15:20-22.
Tragically throughout history many have denied the truth of resurrection.
'An early Protestant missionary to the Ryukyu Islands in the western Pacific discovered a strange mass grave. The grave marker revealed that more than 11,000 heads taken from bodies of Christians were buried there. On further investigation he learned that in 1637 the Japanese government, which then controlled the Ryukyus, ordered all Christians in the empire exterminated. Because they knew Christians believed in the resurrection, the heads of martyred believers were buried a great distance from the bodies, in the belief that their resurrection would thereby be prevented.'
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world. Without resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation, and no hope. 'If there is no resurrection of the dead,' Paul explains, 'not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain,' 1 Cor 15:13-14. A person who believes in a Christ who was not raised believes in a powerless Christ, a dead Christ. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then no redemption was accomplished at the cross and 'your faith is worthless,' Paul goes on to say; 'you are still in your sins,' v. 17.
Now we have the passing of three days and nights. We can only wonder what everyone was thinking during that time. Jesus had been teaching and healing for 3 ½ years. His miracles of healing were unprecedented then and even now as we still cannot do what He did.
It is very early in the morning, before the crack of dawn, on Sunday morning. Three women (Matthew only mentions two of them) have gotten up very early, collected their burial spices, and headed off to the tomb. They were intending to find the body of Jesus still in the tomb, then to apply the ointments and then probably leave with their last farewell to the one whom they loved so dearly. They were willing to endure the foul stench of a decaying body in order to do what they felt they must do.
Even though Jesus had taught on several occasions that on the third day, He would rise up from the dead, this teaching apparently slipped from their memory, their grief from the extraordinary events of the crucifixion being so dramatic and violent as they were.
Another point which indicates their lack of thinking this through, is their question of how they would get the tomb open (this will be in our study tomorrow). The stone door covering the tomb was huge. Yet they continued toward their destination anyway.
Unknown to them, earlier, a powerful angel had descended to the tomb, rolled the huge stone door away, and then just sat down on it. The Roman soldiers who were there, were stunned to the point of a totally paralyzing fear. This all shortly after, or simultaneously with, another supernatural earthquake. Perhaps the women were awakened by the earthquake, and then decided to just get up and go to the tomb.
No reason is given for the earthquake, other than its relationship with the descending of the angel. An earthquake struck when Jesus died physically, and now another earthquake struck the region. One can wonder if that was the moment and therefore the sign of His resurrection. Nevertheless the tomb did not have to be opened in order to let Jesus out, but rather it was opened to allow people coming to the tomb, inside to see that it was indeed empty. That Jesus was no longer there.
Now the soldiers had a problem. A powerful angel came down in their presence, and single handedly rolled the stone away. Something that would take, most probably, several very strong men to do. The angel was not expected. They had heard of angels but had never seen one. One wonders if they were in need of a change of underwear? What's more, they were responsible for the security of the tomb which was now empty. This was not going to be good for them when their superiors found out. Who would believe this story anyway?
During the past 3 ½ years, Jesus had helped many tens of thousands of people. He was followed by many hundreds of disciples as well as the eleven who were with Him most of the time. Yet of all of these, only three women who are rarely mentioned in history, were the only ones who had the desire to return to the tomb.
Like the birth of Christ, there was no fanfare for His resurrection, no crowds, no one who was even expecting Him to come back. Even these three women did not expect to find Him alive. But they returned despite the heavy stone door which they by themselves couldn't possibly get open. Despite the Roman soldiers who certainly would not open the tomb for them, but would probably tell them to go away. Despite the possibility of having to encounter and endure extreme foul orders of a dead thing. Yet they returned to the tomb anyway. Their mission was not well thought out. They just had their strong desire to see Jesus once more.
This is a type of love which transcends all logic and reason. It is just there. And it was there for only three women and no one else. Though their faith lacked an understanding of the specifics of the resurrection of the Messiah, it still remained extremely great in comparison to the faith which was lacking in others.
To these women, will the angels make their first appearance, and to Mary Magdalene, will Jesus reveal Himself first.
In many instances in the Old Testament, the phrase, 'Angel of the Lord' is a manifestation of Jesus Christ Himself. From the description, 'his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow' suggests that this was no ordinary angel. The lightning suggests power and speed, and the garments suggest purity as Jesus would certainly be, now that the 'judgment' has been completed. He has similar appearances as documented in Revelation and even when standing before David, when He stood over Jerusalem with a mighty and flaming sword threatening its destruction. It would not seen unreasonable to assume that this was an appearance of Jesus Christ, to unbelievers (the soldiers) who would have no clue as to who He was.
In His appearances to His followers, He will take on a more familiar and personal appearance as would be appropriate with those who belong to Him.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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