Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Matthew 28:1-20

What is the theme of this chapter?

The power of the King.

What is the key verse(s) of this chapter? Verse 18

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

What can I apply to my life from this chapter (things to do/avoid)?

Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

they saw Him - "they" may include the 500 of 1 Corinthians 15:6, as it is unlikely the apostles would be doubting at this point.

some doubted = can include the meaning of "hesitated," perhaps because they didn’t recognize Him in His glorified body until He began speaking.

go - in the original, this expresses an assumption — "as you are going"

name - singular — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have one name

"Here is evidence for the trinity of God: one God (the name) who subsists in three Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Each of the three is distinguished from the others; each possess all the divine attributes; yet the three are one.  This is a mystery that no analogy can illustrate satisfactorily.  The sun, sunlight, and the power of the sun may come close to a suitable illustration." (Ryrie)

"These were the 'poor of the flock' (Zechariah 11) to whom in distant Galilee and far from Jerusalem the Great Shepherd connected Himself, and whom He commissioned to proclaim His rights as King and the laws of His Kingdom throughout the whole earth. He assured them of the donation of all power given to Him both in heaven and in earth, and promised to be with them until the consummation of the age. That consummation would have then come if Israel had repented; but the two tribes in Jerusalem sent Stephen (Acts 7) to say 'We will not have this Man to reign over us,' and the ten tribes in Rome, the capital of the Dispersion, committed a similar message to Paul (Acts 28). Hence this commission is now in abeyance, but will be resumed, and obeyed, when Divine relations are once more resumed with Israel.  There is no Ascension in this Gospel, for all in it relates to the King and to the Kingdom which He proposed to set up upon the earth; and so He promises to be with them until the predicted hour came of the establishment of the kingdom. The interpretation of this commission belongs, therefore, to the Hebrew church, represented by the apostles and the five hundred brethren. The Church of God — the 'secret' revealed in Ephesians — does not here appear, for its home in heavenly, and its commission is to take out from both Hebrews and Gentiles an election to heavenly glory." (Williams)

That this "commission" cannot be intended for the body of Christ, the Church of the age of grace, can be seen by its contrast with 1 Corinthians 1:17, where Paul writes: For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Matthew 28:11-15

While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

guard - Pilate had put the Roman soldiers at the disposal of the Sanhedrin, so the guards reported to the Jews first.

all that had taken place - the earthquake and the appearance of the angel (vs 2-4)

satisfy him - protect them from punishment for failing in their duty

"The desperation of the Sanhedrin can be clearly seen in the explanation that was offered. These witnesses certainly could not support their testimony as to what had happened, for they were asleep. Their story was a best only a guess. A large sum of money would have been necessary to persuade the guards to perjure themselves because, if they were asleep as they stated, they could be executed by the governor for dereliction of duty. In spite of the obvious flimsiness of the testimony and the danger to life, the guards "took the money and did as they were directed" (v 15). Thus they put their lives into the hands of the Sanhedrin. Having committed themselves to this explanation, the leaders circulated the story widely in an effort to explain away the fact of the resurrection of Christ."

"It is significant that while the disciples disbelieved the reports of the resurrection and sought confirmation of it. The Sanhedrin believed the report and sought an explanation to deny it." (Pentecost)

'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' - If the guards were asleep as they said, how could they know what happened to the body?

"How would sleeping people know what had happened?  Would it be likely that all the soldiers were sleeping at the same time?  Why would Roman soldiers risk incriminating themselves even for a large bribe?  The story was self-contradictory!" (Ryrie)

Matthew 28:1-10

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. 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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 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.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

The resurrection also appears in Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-12 and John 20:1-31. Each writer gives different details depending on the purpose of the book. Matthew’s is the shortest account.

after the Sabbath - the night of Saturday night and Sunday morning after the Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday

"It was now Sunday morning, and the work of preparing Christ's body for permanent burial could be done." (Ryrie)

rolled back the stone - to reveal the empty tomb. Jesus was already risen and gone.

He has risen - "This simply stated fact is the basis of our Christ faith." (Ryrie)

as He said - See Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19.

The resurrection is attributed to the Father (Hebrews 13:20); the Son (John 2:19-21; 10:17-18) and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Matthew 27:1-66

What is the theme of this chapter?

The Death and burial of Jesus Christ.

What is the key verse(s) of this chapter? Verse 54

When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

What can I apply to my life from this chapter (things to do/avoid)?

Matthew 27:57-66

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

rich man - in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9

Arimathaea - about 25 miles away from Jerusalem in the hill country of Ephraim

"A town N of Lydda and E of Joppa." (Ryrie)

"The account given in all four gospels (Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42) indicates that Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy and influential man, a member of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:51), and one who had been secretly a disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). He went boldly into Pilate, although this involved ceremonial defilement for a Jew during the feast, and requested the body of Jesus." (Walvoord)

"The word translated 'secretly' could be rendered 'secreted,' or hidden away … Christ made preparations for all events associated with His death so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. This word may indicate that Jesus has arranged with Joseph to make arrangements for His burial to fulfill and Old Testament prophecy. By way of preparation, Joseph had obtained space in a garden adjacent to the place of crucifixion; there was a new tomb here. He had arranged with a fellow counselor, Nicodemus, to provide the spices necessary for a proper burial (John 19:39). Joseph had provided the linen cloth in which to wrap the body of Jesus (Mark 15:46). Thus before the crucifixion all that was needed for burial had been provided. It may well be that Joseph had hidden himself away in the recesses of the garden where he could witness the events transpiring on Golgotha without being observed. At the moment Christ cried, 'It is finished' (John 19:30), and dismissed His spirit from His body, Joseph was ready to proceed with the burial. Haste was now required because it was late afternoon and the setting of the sun would bring the Sabbath." (Pentecost)

the tomb - "The sepulchre was probably a small chamber, along one side of which was a shelf cut in the rock, and on this shelf the body was laid. The 'great stone' was no doubt ready of ruse. It was these stones, forming the doors to tombs, that were whitewashed every spring to prevent passers-by from being made ceremonially unclean. The stones were sometimes round and flat, like millstones, laying upright against the face of the rock in which the excavation was made. They could then be easily rolled backwards and forwards, to open or close the aperture. As they went out, they rolled a great stone — the Golel — to close the entrance to the tomb, probably leaning against it for support a smaller stone — the so-called Dopheq. It would be where the one stone was laid against the other, that on the next day, Sabbath though it was, the Jewish authorities would have affixed the seal, so that the slightest disturbance might become apparent." (Pentecost)

"See Isa 53:9.  The stone was like a solid wheel that rolled in a channel or gutter." (Ryrie)

other Mary - "the mother of James and Joseph" from v 56

the next day = the sabbath

sealing the stone - "This was likely done by connecting the stone to the tomb with a cord and wax so that any tampering could easily be detected." (Ryrie)

"While none of the disciples seem to have found any comfort in Christ's predictions that He would rise again, yet the chief priests and the Pharisees understood and remembered, and were determined that no apparent fulfillment of such predictions should be accomplished by the disciples. 'Now on the morrow, which is after the Preparation.' The Preparation had already became a name for Friday as the eve of the sabbath. Matthew uses it without explanation, but Mark (15:42) tells his readers what it means. It looks as if Matthew employed this circumlocution in order to avoid using the word 'sabbath.' Did he shrink from saying in so many words that this miserable act of hostility, on the part of the Jewish hierarchy against the Messiah, took place on the sabbath? Months before this the Pharisees had been moved to take counsel to destroy Him, because He had done good on the sabbath (12:12-14); and now they do not scruple to do evil on the sabbath. The deputation address the Procurator with respect: 'Sir (21:30), it came to our minds (26:75).' And they speak of Him whom they have forced the Procurator to crucify with contemptuous abhorrence. They will not even name Him; they use a pronoun which indicates that He is far removed from them, and a substantive which stigmatizes Him as a seducer of the people: 'that deceiver' (compare John 9:28; 2 John 7:1). They quote His words in a manner which suggests the confidence with which they were spoken: 'After three days I rise again.' although the words recorded were spoken in private to the disciples, yet they may have been repeated until they reached the ears of His watchful enemies. The Pharisees, having suggested that the Body might be stolen, put into the mouth of the disciples the very expression which Herod Antipas is said to have used of Jesus: that He was the Baptist, who 'is risen from the dead' (14:2). 'The last error' means 'the last deceit' or 'the last seduction,' with direct reference to 'that deceiver' or 'seducer.' The Pharisees knew that they must use political considerations in order to influence Pilate. Just as they had charged Jesus with claiming to be King of the Jews, while they said nothing about His claiming to be the Son of God, so here they mean that, if the disciples persuaded people that Jesus had risen from the dead, they might cause a far more serious rising than had occurred at the triumphal entry in consequence of the persuasion that Jesus was the Messiah. That Pilate's words mean 'take a guard,' rather than 'Ye have a guard,' seems clear from the fact that the only guard which they had was the Temple-police, and this they could have employed without coming to the Procurator. Evidently they want something which required his permission; and it is Roman soldiers who are set to guard the tomb (28:12-15)." (Pentecost)

Matthew 27:50-56

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

cried out again - probably "It is finished" (John 19:30)

yielded up His spirit = lit. "He sent His spirit away" — He died willingly, voluntarily, of His own will. (Luke 23:46; John 10:18).

"Christ was not directly killed by anyone, nor was He overcome by natural processes; He released His spirit (John 10:18)." (Ryrie)

curtain - the curtain separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:33; 38:18; Heb 9:3). This indicated that man now had direct access to God through Christ. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-21).

"The veil itself was the sign that man was barred from coming to God; that heavy, solid veil, ever gave that testimony that it is impossible for man to approach God. The rent veil shows that it has been made possible. The rent veil declares that the great sacrifice on the cross of the spotless Lamb of God has been accepted. It is the first great answer of God to the majestic word of the dying Savior, 'It is finished.' It likewise shows that the Jewish ceremonial law is fulfilled and ended." (Gaebelein)

from top to bottom - "Showing that God did it, not man.  It signified that the new and living way was now open into the presence of God (Heb 10:20; Eph 2:11-22).  One probably result of this supernatural tearing of the veil is recorded in Acts 6:7b." (Ryrie)

saints - "As a careful reading of this account reveals, the raising of the bodies of the saints, although mentioned here, actually occurred after the resurrection of Jesus. This event is nowhere explained in the Scriptures but seems to be a fulfillment of the feast of the first fruits of harvest mentioned in Leviticus 23:10-14. On that occasion, as a token of the coming harvest, the people would bring a handful of grain to the priest. The resurrection of these saints, occurring after Jesus Himself was raised, is a token of the coming harvest when all the saints will be raised." (Walvoord)

I did notice that verse 52 says "many" of the saints, not "all."

centurion - the Roman soldier who was in charge of the squad who were guarding the hill at the time of the crucifixion.

the Son of God - We aren't told if this is a statement of the Centurion's faith. He literally said "a" son of God, so it may just have been recognition that Jesus was something more than a man.

"Very possibly this indicates that these soldiers believed in Him." (Ryrie)

Mary the mother of James and Joseph - the wife of Clopas (John 19:25)

mother of Zebedee's sons - Salome (Mark 15:40) - perhaps a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus