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the new Jerusalem; which will be indeed what the other was in name and type only, the holy city. Rev. xxi. 2. 4. That all the saints do, by the influence of Christ's death, and in conformity to it, rise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. They are raised up with him to a divine and spiritual life; they go into the holy city, become citizens of it, have their conversation in it, and appear to many, as persons not of this world.
A testimony to the honour of Christ was extorted from the Roman centurion and guard; they said, Truly this was the Son of God, ver. 54. A noble confession; Peter was blessed for it. Chap. xvi. 16, 17. It was the great matter now in dispute, the point upon which he and his enemies had joined issue. Chap. xxvi. 63, 64. His disciples believed it, but at this time durst not confess it. The Jews, now that he was dying upon the cross, looked upon it as plainly determined against him. And yet now this centurion and the soldiers make this voluntary confession of the Christian faith, Truly this was the Son of God. The best of his disciples could not have said more at any time, and at this time they had not faith and courage enough to say thus much.-God can maintain and assert the honour of a truth then, when it seems to be crushed and run down; for great is the truth, and will prevail.
The attendance of his friends, that were witnesses of his death, is noticed, verses 55, 56. Many women followed him from Galilee. Not his apostles (only elsewhere we find John by the cross. John xix. 26), their hearts failed them, they durst not appear, for fear of coming under the same condemnation. But here were a company of women standing by him, when the rest of his disciples had basely deserted him. Of these women it is said, that they had followed Jesus from Galilee, out of the great love they had to him, and a desire to hear him preach; otherwise, the males only were obliged to come up to worship at the feast; and, having followed him such a long journey as from Galilee to Jerusalem, eighty or a hundred miles, they resolved not to forsake him now. They stood beholding afar off. They were probably not suffered to come near the cross, because it was surrounded by soldiers. They witnessed, with intense feelings, his sufferings from some convenient place as near as they could approach. Ministering unto him. Attending him, and providing for his wants. While multitudes of men joined in the cry, Crucify him, and forsook him in his trying moments, it does not appear that any of his female followers were thus unfaithful. In the midst of all his trials, and all the contempt poured upon him, they adhered to their Redeemer. Never did female constancy shine more brightly, and never was a happier example set for all who should afterwards believe on him. Amongst them was Mary Magdalene. She had peculiar cause of attachment to the Saviour, having been relieved by him of a most dreadful calamity, and restored to her right mind, after being possessed by seven devils. Mark xvi. 9. And the mother of Zebedee's children. That is, of James and John. Matt. x. 2. Her name was Salome. Mark xv. 40.
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, "After three days I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. 65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
* Mark xv. 42; Luke xxiii. 50; John xix. 38. y Isa. liii. 9.
z Chap. xvi. 21, xvii. 23, xx. 19, xxvi. 61; Mark viii. 31, x. 34; John ii. 19. a Dan. vi. 17.
We have here an account of Christ's burial, and the manner and circumstances of it, concerning
which observe, the kindness and good will of his friends that laid him in the grave, and the malice and ill will of his enemies that were very solicitous to keep him there.
When Christ's soul was gone to paradise, his body was deposited in the chambers of the grave, that he might answer the type of Jonas, and fulfil the prophecy of Isaias-he "made his grave with the wicked." Thus in all things he must be made like unto his brethren, sin only excepted, and like us, unto dust he must return.
The person that took care of the funeral was Joseph of Arimathea. The apostles had all fled, and none of them appeared to show this respect to their Master, which the disciples of John showed to him after he was beheaded, who "took up his body, and buried it." Chap. xiv. 12. The women that followed him durst not move in it; then did God stir up this good man to do it; for what work God has to do, he will find out instruments to do it. He went to Pilate. Because no one had a right to remove the body but the magistrate. He was condemned to be crucified, usually a long and most bitter death, and, in common cases, it would have been unlawful to have removed the body so soon. Joseph, having obtained the body of Jesus, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. John adds (xix. 40), that this was done with spices. The Jews were accustomed to use myrrh, aloes, and other aromatics, in large quantities, when they buried their dead. When they were not regularly embalmed, which was a long and tedious process, they inclosed the spices in the folds of the linen, in which the body was to be wrapped. Spices were sometimes used in such quantities as to form a heap or bed, on which the dead body was laid. Thus it is said of Asa (2 Chron. xvi. 14), "They laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and spices," &c. There not being time properly to embalm the body of Jesus, he was buried in this manner. Having made these preparations, Joseph placed the body of Jesus in his own new tomb. By being buried here, an important prophecy was remarkably fulfilled (Isa. liii. 9.) This tomb was hewn out in the rock, a common way of constructing tombs in Judea. Being cut out of a rock, there was no way by which the disciples could have access to it but by the entrance, at which the guard was placed, and consequently it was impossible for them to steal him away. The sepulchre thus secure, was rendered more so by a great stone having been rolled to its entrance; all possible precautions were thus used, in the providence of God, against imposition and deceit.
His enemies did what they could to prevent his resurrection; what they did herein was on the next day that followed the day of the preparation, ver. 62. The first day of the feast of the passover was called the day of preparation, because all things were on that day got in readiness for the observances of the paschal week. The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the Sabbath at that time commenced. The next day mentioned here, does not mean the following day in our acceptation of the word, or the following morning, but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking; that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sundown. To suppose them to have waited till the next morning, would be absurd; as the disciples would be as likely to steal him away the first night as the second.
We remember, ver. 63. They had either heard him say this, or, more probably, had understood that this was one of his doctrines. That deceiver. One of the charges against him was, that he deceived the people. By this title they still chose to designate him, thinking that his death had fully confirmed the truth of the charges against him.
Until the third day, ver. 64. That is, during two nights and the intervening day. This proves that when the Jews spoke of three days, they did not of necessity mean three whole days, but parts of three days, as was the case in our Saviour's lying in the grave. The last error shall be worse than the first. That is, the last deception, or taking him from the tomb, pretending that he rose, shall have a wider influence among the people than the first, or his pretending to be the Messiah. Ye have a watch, ver. 65. The Jews had a guard or watch of Roman soldiers, who kept watch in the tower of Antonia, on the north-west of the temple. Pilate either referred to these, or to the watch that attended the crucifixion-the whole band that been appointed for that. As the torments of crucifixion sometimes lasted many days, the band had been probably granted to them during that time, and they were, therefore, still at the direction of the chief priests.
1 Christ's resurrection is declared by an angel to the women. 9 He himself appeareth unto them. 11 The chief priests give the soldiers money to say that he was stolen out of the sepulchre. 16 Christ appeareth to his disciples, 19 and sendeth them to baptize and teach all nations. N 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.
a Mark xvi. 1; Luke xxiv. 1; John xx. 1. b Chap. xxvii, 56.
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 4 And for fear of him the keepers did
his raiment white as snow:
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. 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. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they
Or, had been.
c See Mark xvi. 5; Luke xxiv. 4; John xx. 12.
d Dan. x. 6. e Chap. xii. 40, xvi. 21, xvii. 23. xx. 14 h See John xx. 17; Rom. viii. 29; Heb. ii. 11.
In the end of the Sabbath, ver. 1. The word end here means the same as after the Sabbath; that is, after the Sabbath was fully completed or finished, and may be expressed in this manner, "In the night following the Sabbath, for the Sabbath closed at sunset, as it began to dawn," &c. As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. The word dawn here properly means as the first day approached, or drew on, without specifying the precise time. Mark says (xvi. 1, 2), that it was after "the Sabbath was past, and very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun;" that is, not that the sun was risen, but that it was about to rise, or at the early break of day. Luke says (xxiv. 2), that it was very early; in the Greek, deep twilight, or when there was scarcely any light. John says (xx. 1), it was "very early, while it was yet dark;" that is, it was not yet full daylight, or the sun had not yet risen. The time when they came, therefore, was at the break of day, when the sun was about to rise, but while it was yet so dark as to render objects obscure, or not distinctly visible.
Our Lord arose the third day after his death; that was the time which he had often prefixed, and he kept within it. He was buried in the evening of the sixth day of the week, and arose in the morning of the first day of the following week, so that he lay in the grave about thirty-six or thirty-eight hours. He lay so long, to show that he was really and truly dead; and no longer, that he might not see corruption. He arose the third day, to answer the type of the prophet Jonas (xii. 40), and to accomplish that prediction (Hos. vi. 2), " The third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight."
He arose upon the first day of the week. On the first day of the first week God commanded the light to shine out of darkness; on this day, therefore, did he who was to be the Light of the world, shine out of the darkness of the grave; and the seventh-day Sabbath being buried with Christ, it arose again in the first-day Sabbath, called the Lord's Day (Rev. i. 10), and no other day of the week is from henceforward mentioned in all the New Testament than this, and this often, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies to the honour of Christ. John xx. 19, 26; Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2. If the deliverance of Israel out of the land of the north superseded the remembrance of that out of Egypt (Jer. xxiii. 7, 8), much more doth our redemption by Christ eclipse the glory of God's former works. The Sabbath was instituted in remembrance of the perfecting of the work of creation. Gen. ii. 1. Man by his revolt made a breach upon that perfect work, which was never perfectly repaired till Christ arose from the dead, and the heavens and the earth were again finished, and the disordered hosts of them modelled anew, and the day on which this was done was justly blessed and sanctified, and the seventh day from that. He who on that day arose from the dead, is the same by whom, and for whom, all things were at first created, and now anew created.
The pious women who came thus early to the sepulchre (ver. 1), were Mary Magdalene the other Mary. From Mary Magdalene Christ had cast out seven devils. Grateful for his great mercy, she was one of his firmest and most faithful followers, and was first at the sepulchre, and
was first permitted to see her risen Lord. The other Mary was the mother of James and Joses, From Luke (xxiv. 10), it appears that Johanna, wife of Chusa, Herod's steward (see Luke viii. 3), was with them. These women, Mark says, having brought sweet spices, came to anoint him. They had prepared a part of them on the evening before the Sabbath. Luke xxiii. 56. They now completed the preparation, and bought more; or, it may be, that it means merely that having bought sweet spices, without specifying the time when, they came now to embalm him. John only mentions Mary Magdalene. He does this probably because his object was to give a particular account of her interview with the risen Saviour. The object of their coming was to see the sepulchre; to see whether it was as it had been left on the evening when he was laid there; to see if the stone was still there, by which they would know that he had not been removed. Mark and Luke say that the design of their coming was to anoint him with the sweet spices which they had prepared. Matthew does not mention that, but does not deny that that was the ultimate design of their coming. It is not improbable that they might have known the manner in which he was buried, with a large quantity of myrrh and aloes. But that was done in haste; it was done by depositing the myrrh and aloes, without mixture or preparation, in the grave-clothes. They came that they might embalm his body more deliberately, or at least that they might anoint the bandages, and complete the work of embalming.
The angel of the Lord descended from heaven, ver. 3. The angels frequently attended our Lord Jesus-at his birth, in his temptation, in his agony; but upon the cross we find no angel attending him. When his Father forsook him, the angels withdrew from him; but now that he is resuming the glory he had before the foundation of the world, now, behold, the angels of God worship him. The angel came, and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone himself by his own power, but he chose to have it done by an angel, to signify that having undertaken to make satisfaction for our sin, imputed to him, and being under arrest pursuant to that imputation, he did not break prison, but had a fair and legal discharge, obtained from heaven; he did not break prison, but an officer was sent on purpose to roll away the stone, and so to open the prison door, which would never have been done, if he had not made a full satisfaction. To demonstrate that Divine justice was satisfied, an angel was commissioned to roll back the stone; not that the angel raised him from the dead, any more than those that took away the stone from Lazarus' grave raised him, but thus he intimated the consent of Heaven to his release, and the joy of Ileaven in it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow, ver. 3. This was a visible representation, by that which we call splendid and illustrious, of the glories of the invisible world. His look upon the keepers was like flashes of lightning : "He cast forth lightning, and scattered them." Psal. cxliv. 6. The whiteness of his raiment was an emblem not only of purity, but of joy and triumph. Celestial beings are usually represented as clothed in white. Acts i. 10; Dan. vii. 9; Rev. iii. 4, 5, iv. 4, vii. 13, 14. White, among the Jews, was the symbol of purity or innocence.
For fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men, ver. 4. It was night. The appearance was sudden and unexpected, and to them terrific. The stone was probably suddenly removed. At the noise, the light, the suddenness of the appearance, they were affrighted. bably, overcome by terror, they fainted, or were thrown into a swoon. At this time, is is probable that the Lord Jesus arose; and hence he was not seen by them when he came forth. At what precise time of the night this was, we are not certainly informed. The narrative, however, leads us to suppose that it was not long before the women came to the sepulchre, or near the break of day.
The angel encourages the disciples against their fears (ver. 5),—he answered and said, &c. This was not on the outside of the tomb; for Matthew does not say that the angel appeared to the women then, but only to the keepers. Mark says (xvi. 5), “Entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment." Luke says (xxiv. 3), "They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus; and as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shining garments." Seeing the stone rolled away, and the sepulchre open, they of course anxiously entered into it, to see if the body was there. They did not find it, and there they saw the vision of the angels, who gave them information respecting his resurrection. Infidels have objected that there are three inconsistencies in the accounts of Mark and Luke:-1. That Mark says the angel was sitting, and Luke says they were standing. Answer -The word in Luke does not of necessity mean that they stood, but only that they were present. Or it may be, that the one that Mark mentions was sitting when they entered, and then arose. 2. It is objected, that Luke mentions two, but Mark and Matthew one. Answer-Mark mentions the one who spoke; he does not deny that another was present with him. Luke affirms that there This way of speaking is not unfrequent. Thus Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac
who was cured at Gadara; Matthew mentions two. In like manner, Mark and Luke speak of only one blind man who was cured at Jericho, while from Matthew it is certain that two were. The fact that but one is mentioned, where it is not denied that there were others, does not prove that there were not others. 3. Matthew calls this an angel; Mark and Luke a man. AnswerAngels, in the Scriptures, from appearing in the form of men, are often called as they appear, and are mentioned as men. See Gen. xviii. 2, 16, 33; xix. 1, 5.
By the angel the women were assured of the resurrection of Christ (ver. 6),—He is not here; for he is risen. To be told He is not here, would have been no welcome news to those who sought him, if it had not been added, He is risen. There were two things the angel referred these women to, for the confirmation of their faith, touching Christ's resurrection,-1. To his word now fulfilled, which they might remember,─He is risen, as he said. This he vouches as the proper object of faith." He said that he would rise, and you know that he is the Truth itself, and therefore have reason to expect that he should rise; why should you be backward to believe that which he told you would be?" 2. To his grave now empty, which they might look into,—“Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Compare what you have heard with what you see, and, putting both together, you will believe. You see that he is not here, and, remembering what he said, you may be satisfied that he is risen; come, see the place, and you will see that he is not there-you will see that he could not be stolen thence, and therefore must conclude that he is risen."
They are next directed by the angel to go and carry the tidings of Christ's resurrection to the disciples (ver. 7),-Go quickly, and tell his disciples. It is probable that they were for entertaining themselves with the sight of the sepulchre and discourse with the angels. It was good to be here, but they have other work appointed them. This is a day of good tidings; and though they have the first taste of the comfort, yet they must not have it all, must not hold their peace.—Public usefulness to others must be preferred before the pleasure of secret communion with God ourselves; for it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The disciples of Christ must first be told the news; not, Go, tell the chief priests and Pharisees, that they may be confounded; but, Tell the disciples, that they may be comforted. God anticipates the joy of his friends more than the shame of his enemies, though the perfection of both is reserved for hereafter. Tell his disciples; it may be they will believe your report; however, tell them, that they may encourage themselves under their present sorrows and dispersions. It was a dismal time with them, between grief and fear; what a cordial would this be to them, to hear their Master is risen! This information was sent them as an alarm, to awaken them from that strange stupidity which had seized them, and to raise their expectations-to set them on seeking him, and to prepare them for his appearance.-General hints excite to closer searches. They shall now hear of him, but shall very shortly see him.-The women were bid to go quickly upon this errand. Why, what haste was there? Would not the news be welcome to them at any time? Yes; but they were now overwhelmed with grief, and Christ would have this cordial hastened to them. They were directed to appoint the disciples to meet them in Galilee. There were other appearances of Christ to them before that in Galilee, which were sudden and surprising; but he would have one to be solemn and public, and gave them notice of it before. Now, this general rendezvous was appointed in Galilee, eighty or a hundred miles from Jerusalem, in kindness to those of his disciples that remained in Galilee, and did not (perhaps they could not) come up to Jerusalem; into that country, therefore, he would go, to manifest himself to his friends there. "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest." Christ knows where his disciples dwell, and will visit there. It was also in consideration of the weakness of his disciples that were now at Jerusalem, who, as yet, were afraid of the Jews, and durst not appear publicly.
The angel, having delivered his message, solemnly affirms upon his word the truth of what he had related to them-"Lo, I have told you. You may be assured of it, and depend upon it; I have told you, who dare not tell a lie." "The word spoken by angels was stedfast." Heb. ii. 2. God had been wont formerly to make known his mind to his people by the ministration of angels, as at the giving of the law; but as he intended in gospel times to lay aside that way of communication, this angel was now sent to certify the resurrection of Christ to the disciples, and so leave it in their hands to be published to the world. 2 Cor. iv. 7. In saying, Lo, I have told you, he doth, as it were, discharge himself from the blame of their unbelief, if they should not receive this record, and throw it upon them. “I have done my errand—I have faithfully delivered my message—now look you to it; believe it at your peril; whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear, I have told you."-Those messengers from God, that discharge their trust faithfully, may take the comfort of that, whatever the success be. Acts xx. 26, 27.
Being thus warned, the women departed with fear and great joy; a strange mixture, fear and joy at the same time, in the same soul. To hear that Christ was risen, was matter of joy; but to