Matthew 28 • The Resurrection of the King


One of the most prominent, defining characteristics of “old time” Christianity is the magnified focus on the Resurrection. Back when multi-verse hymns were the primary songs of mainstream church services, it was hard to find a song that didn’t have at least one verse dedicated to the Resurrection. (Look at the last verse of “Amazing Grace”, for instance.) The Resurrection is not simply the end result of Christ’s ministry, and not just the central focus of His First Coming, but intended to be the central focus and end result for every Christian life. It is also supposed to be the central theme of the Gospel message and the starting point of discipleship and fellowship with among all Believers.

Read verses 1-10

Q: When did this event take place?

A: “…as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” (v.1) All four Gospels specifically make the point that this is when the Resurrection occurred. (Mk. 16:2; Lk. 24:1; Jn. 20:1)

Q: What was important about this particular day from a Jewish perspective?

A: It is what is known as the Feast of Weeks or First Fruits.

Point: According to tradition and the practices of the day, at this very same moment – dawn of the first day of the Feast of Weeks, the High Priest was on the Mt. of Olives clipping an olive tree for the ceremonial first fruits to be presented to God. Jesus’ resurrection literally fulfilled this.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

— 1 Corinthians 15:20

Q: Why was the stone rolled away? Was it necessary in order for Christ to come out?

A: The stone was rolled away not to allow Christ to come out, but to allow men to look in and see that He was gone.

Q: What is the same basic message conveyed both by the angel and Christ Himself?

A: They both told the women to go and tell others what they had seen. (v.7 & 10)

Application: The true Resurrection message is, “Come and see! Go and tell!”

Read verses 11-15

Q: What do those who deny Christ have to do where He is concerned?

A: They must invent a way to disprove or discredit the historical fact that He rose from the dead.

Q: What is at stake where the Resurrection is concerned?

  1. As the Son of God He could not be held by death. (Acts. 2:24) It is proof of the Person and works of Jesus.
  2. Either He came out of the tomb or He was a liar. (Mt. 12:40; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:34; Jn. 2:19) It is proof of the message of Jesus.

Q: What other proof testifies to the authenticity of the Resurrection?

  1. Eyewitnesses testified they had seen Christ. (Lk. 24:33-35; Jn. 20:19, 26; Acts 1:3, 21-22) In fact, at one time over 500 people saw Christ alive. (1 Co. 15:6)
  2. The change in early Believers – particularly Peter and the others who abandoned Christ – proves He arose from the dead.
  3. Paul’s conversion proves that Christ is alive. (Acts 9)
  4. The existence of the New Testament, the continuation of the Church, and the significance of the Lord’s Day are all proofs that He is alive.
  5. The conversion and testimony of every individual sinner to this present day.

Application: Denial of the Resurrection requires using lies or engaging in deception to refute the historical record of God’s written Word and the testimony not only of the original eyewitnesses but every born-again Believer to this day.

Read verses 16-20

Q: If this were a made-up story, what would have been obviously omitted?

A: The statement in v.17 that “some were doubtful”.

Q: How does the place where this takes place fit with a running pattern throughout the whole of Matthew?

A: It is the last of a series of “mountain scenes” throughout Jesus’ ministry. These physical peaks mirror significant milestones of Christ’s life and teaching and show how the literal is often an expression of something greater spiritually taking place:

  1. The Sermon on the Mount. (Mt. 5-7)
  2. The Transfiguration (Mt. 17)
  3. The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24-25)
  4. The crucifixion on Mt. Calvary (Mt. 27)
  5. This final meeting in Galilee

Q: What are the four universals provided by Christ in what we call “The Great Commission”

  1. “All authority” (v.18). All authority was given by the Father to the Son because He had conquered Satan, sin, and death. Satan had taken Him to a mountain (Mt. 4:8-10) and offered Jesus what Jesus on this mountain possessed through faithfulness.
  2. “All the nations” (v.19). Whereas the original command was only to “the lost sheep of Israel” (Mt. 10:5-6), it is now replaced with a commission to the whole world.
  3. “All that I commanded” (v.20). The Great Commission does not require converts but disciples which are characterized by baptism (a public pronouncement of a life exclusively devoted to Christ) and being taught the whole Word of God (the visible proof of a live exclusively devoted to Christ).
  4. “Always” (v.20). The end of Matthew mirrors its beginning when Christ was identified as “Immanuel” – God with us. (Mt. 1:23) More than just a name, it reflects the greater spiritual truth that Christ is always with us through His Spirit, in His Word, and His divine presence.

Application: Taking the message of the Gospel to all people is the primary responsibility of every Christian.

Overall Application

The Resurrection is the foundational doctrine of Christianity. It is what sets apart Christianity from all other religions and ideologies.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

— 1 Corinthians 15:12-14

  1. The Resurrection proves that Jesus is the Son of God. (Jn. 10:17-18)
  2. The Resurrection attests to the truth of Scripture. (Acts 2:31; Ps. 16:10)
  3. The Resurrection assures us of our own future resurrection. (1 Th. 4:13-18)
  4. The Resurrection is one of the proofs of future judgment. (Acts 17:30-31)
  5. The Resurrection is a central truth of the Gospel. (1 Co. 15:1-8)
  6. The Resurrection is the assurance of our future inheritance. (1 Pe. 1:3-9)
  7. The Resurrection provides the power to the Christian life. (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 1:18-20; Rom. 6:4)

The message of the Resurrection as conveyed by Believers to the whole world is the ultimate expression of forsaking the temporal nature of this earthly life for the eternal assurance of the one in Christ to come.