Matthew 28:01-10 “The Resurrection is News”

Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ The Redeemer Church Manhattan KS, 19 Jan 2014


28:1 Now, it was the end of the week during the twilight of the first of the week.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb.

28:2 And check [this out], a big earthquake took place,

for an angel of the Lord came down out of heaven

and came up and rolled away the stone [from the door] and was sitting upon it.

28:3 And the way he looked was like lightening, and his clothing was white as snow.

28:4 and out of fear of him, the guards were shaken up, and they became like dead men.

28:5 Then, in response, the angel said to the women,

“Stop being frightened, y’all,

for I know that it is Jesus the Crucified whom you are seeking.

28:6 He is not here, for He has been resurrected, just as He said.

Here, see the place where the Lord was lying.

28:7 Now get going quickly

and start telling His disciples that He was resurrected [after being] among the dead,

and, pay attention, He is going ahead of y’all into Galilee; you’ll see Him there.

See, I told you!”

28:8 So they quickly exited from the tomb – with fear and great joy – and ran to report to His disciples.

28:9 But while they were on their way to report to His disciples,

now look, Jesus encountered them saying, “Hello!”

Then the women came close and grabbed hold of His feet and bowed down to Him.

28:10 Then Jesus says to them,

“Stop being frightened.

Y’all go on, report to my brothers so that they may leave for Galilee,

and there they will see me!”


This passage is about news, so let me start with a good news/bad news joke:

A lawyer says to his client: Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

Client: O.K., give me the bad news first.

Lawyer: The bad news is that the DNA tests showed that it was your blood they found all over the crime scene

Client: Oh no! I'm ruined! What's the good news?

Lawyer: The good news is your cholesterol is down to 130!

O.K. That wasn’t such good news, but we who are Christians have some really good news that is worth sharing, and it all goes back to what some women saw one Sunday morning.


28:1 Now, it was the end of the week during the twilight of the first of the week. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb.

Οψε[1] δε σαββατων τη επιφωσκουση εις μιαν σαββατων ηλθεν Μαρια[2] ‘η Μαγδαληνη και ‘η αλλη Μαρια θεωρησαι τον ταφον

·         The two women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph (which I think was Jesus’ mother, although this is debated-see last week’s sermon for details) – and also Salome, according to the parallel account in Mark 16, and Joanna and other women, according to Luke 24:10 – these women who had seen the crucifixion, had seen the burial, and then had gone home at some point for the Jewish Sabbath day (Saturday), were coming back out, and they’re going to become witnesses of the resurrection too!

·         The Greek wording here at the beginning of the verse is pretty unique.

o       The other 7 times that the first word in the verse (opse) appear in the Greek Bible, all refer to the “late” of evening-time,

o       and likewise, the verb translated “dawn” in most English translations, clearly means evening twilight in the one other place it occurs in the Greek Bible (Luke 23:54).

o       I conclude therefore[3] that the women waited until the Jewish Sabbath was almost over, and during the time that the O.T. called “between the evenings” from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday, they embarked on a short “Sabbath day’s journey” to arrive at tomb about sunset when the Sabbath would be technically over.

o       If you asked them where they were going, they might have told you that they were just going out to make sure Jesus’ body was being treated respectfully by the soldiers that had guarded the tomb over the Sabbath and perhaps to pray in the twilight and grieve at the graveside. They were expecting to find the body still dead.

o       They then went back to the market once it opened after 6pm (and the Sabbath was technically over) and, according to Mark 16, bought embalming spices and went to bed, then early the next morning – Sunday morning, Luke 24:1 tells us that they carried the spices out to the tomb to embalm the body.


28:2 And check [this out], a big earthquake took place, for an angel of the Lord came down out of heaven and came up and rolled away the stone [from the door5] and was sitting upon it.

και ιδου σεισμος εγενετο μεγας, αγγελος γαρ Κυριου καταβας εξ ουρανου [4] προσελθων απεκυλισεν τον λιθον [απο της θυρας[5]] και εκαθητο επανω αυτου

·         The Greek word mega is used to describe this earthquake: it was greatKJV,ESV/ severeNAS/ violentNIV. Maybe it was an after-tremor of the earthquake that had led the Roman centurion at the cross 24 hours ago to conclude that this was God’s son.

·         I think that the women saw the earthquake and the coming of the angel (although, again, this is debated – it could have been a guard who provided this eyewitness account).

o       Matthew spells all his Greek verbs – leading up to the angel’s sitting on the stone – in the Aorist tense. I would have expected them to be spelled in the Perfect tense if the earthquake and the angel swooping down had happened prior to the women’s arrival. The description of the angel’s descent and approach to the tomb are the testimony of an eyewitness who saw those things, not of someone who was surveying the aftermath.

o       Furthermore, it would have been presumptuous for the women to venture a guess as to who rolled away the stone if all the women had seen was the angel sitting on the stone.

o       Jesus was already gone from the tomb, though, so the angel didn’t roll the stone away to let Jesus out; he did it to let the women in to see! (ATR) If he hadn’t done this, people would have always wondered whether the body was still decomposing in that tomb and if they had seen Jesus as some sort of ghost, or whether His body had actually been resurrected.

o       Another reason the angel from heaven rolled back the stone was, as Matthew Henry put it, “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.” The fact that an angel sent from God rolled away the stone shows that Jesus wasn’t acting on His own, but that God was fully satisfied with His payment for sin and was therefore supportive of Jesus’ resurrection.

o       By the way, I included the phrase “from the door” in my translation because it’s in the vast majority of Greek New Testament manuscripts. However, since it is in only three of the six oldest-known manuscripts, the ESV, NAS, and NIV omit it. As usual, it doesn’t add or subtract any substantial information, but I sided with the KJV on this.

·         Now, after suffering the trauma of a major earthquake and the shock of watching a “Superman” angel in action, the women must have hung back a bit before making a move.

o       Luke 24:5 “says they were frightened and bowed their faces down to the earth.”

o       The Imperfect Greek verb tense describing the angel sitting on that stone indicates he sat there for a while as the women gathered their wits[6].

·         Who was this guy? Actually there were two angels: Matthew mentions one that sat outside the tomb on top of the stone, and Mark (16:5) mentions a young-looking one that sat inside the tomb on the right side; Luke 24:4 and John 20:12 add them together to make two.


28:3 And the way he looked was like lightening, and his clothing was white as snow.

ην δε ‘η [7]ιδεα αυτου ‘ως αστραπη και το ενδυμα αυτου λευκον ‘ωςει[8] χιων

·         In the transfiguration in chapter 7, Jesus’ clothes became “white as light,[9]” and in Matthew 24:27, Jesus had said that the coming of the Son of Man would be like lightening, and here with the appearance (or countenanceKJV) of something like lightening is (not THE second coming, but) a coming of Jesus (cf. Rev. 1:14), announced by “AN angel of the Lord” (not THE angel of the Lord)[10].

·         Light/lightening and seismic activity are used often in the book of Revelation to describe heavenly actions (Revelation 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18), so it is not surprising to find reflections of it on earth as God is at work in a special way.

·         “His clothing was white as snow.” These women had probably seen Mt. Hermon from a distance north of Galilee, how the sun would reflect off the snow at the top of that peak with dazzling brilliance. That’s how bright this guy shone. (By the way, we will get those same white robes when we get to heaven too![11])


28:4 and out of fear of him, the guards were shaken up, and they became like dead men.

απο δε του φοβου αυτου εσεισθησαν ‘οι τηρουντες και εγενοντο[12] ‘ως[ει6] νεκροι

·         So the Roman watchmen commissioned by the chief priests and Pharisees were still standing there guarding the tomb, and as the women walk up, they see the soldiers frightened senseless by the earthquake and the brilliance and power of this angel from heaven who has shown up so unexpectedly.

·         Now there’s all these smitten soldiers lying around the entrance of the tomb looking like they might be dead, and this smug angel just sitting up there on the stone, waiting for the women to pluck up their courage and approach.


28:5 Then, in response, the angel said to the women, “Stop being frightened, y’all, for I know that it is Jesus the Crucified whom you are seeking.

Αποκριθεις δε ‘ο αγγελος ειπεν ταις γυναιξιν Μη φοβεισθε ‘υμεις οιδα γαρ ‘οτι Ιησουν τον εσταυρωμενον ζητειτε


28:6 He is not here, for He has been resurrected, just as He said. Here, see the place where the Lord was lying.

ουκ εστιν ‘ωδε ηγερθη γαρ καθως ειπεν, δευτε ιδετε τον τοπον ‘οπου εκειτο[13] ‘ο Κυριος[14]

·         The Greek seems simpler here, with shorter phrases than usual in Matthew, maybe like Greek is not the native language of the speaker. I suppose that appearances to humans are a cross-cultural experience for angels! But each phrase the angel speaks gets to the point quickly:

o       The women are frightened; the heavenly messenger says, “Don’t be afraid”

o       The angel uses an emphatic plural “you” here (“Fear not ye” – as the KJV puts it.), distinguishing between the soldiers (who have good reason to fear) and the followers of Jesus who have no reason to fear.

o       The women are wondering how to explain themselves to this intimidating intruder. No problem, he already knows why they came.

o       “So can we go in and see Jesus’ body?”
“No, I mean, sure, come in and see the place where He lay, but He isn’t here anymore; He got up and left a little while ago. Didn’t He already tell you that He would do this?”

o       Yes, of course, in Matthew 26:32, Jesus had said, “after my resurrection I will go ahead of y’all into Galilee.”

·         Whoah, that was a lot of information and implications for these women to process all at once!

o       Wait, did the angel just say that Jesus was “the Lord?” That’s the reading of the KJV because it is the reading of all but about three Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.

o       However, two of those three happen to be the oldest-known manuscripts in existence, so the editors of the ESV, NAS, and NIV used the word “he” instead of the traditional reading, “the Lord.”

o       Why did almost no Greek scribe, over the space of a thousand years, decide to copy the New Testament from those two oldest manuscripts? And, furthermore, why would God allow Christians to go for a thousand years, while those two old manuscripts were lost and then re-discovered, believing that the angel called Jesus “the Lord” if he really hadn’t called Jesus “the Lord?”

o       Of course, we know from other passages of scripture that Jesus is the Lord, so the absence or presence of this title here doesn’t change our theology, so please don’t throw away your Bible and become a King-James-only person, and if this textual debate intrigues you, please don’t expect to solve it this morning; I’m still wrestling with it.

o       But for now, I will proceed on the belief that the angel called Jesus “the Lord” and that the two oldest Greek manuscripts just pass on an abbreviated form of the angel’s message.

o       That is theologically significant, because the title, “the Lord” – in that cultural context – meant “Jehovah-God.” It implied to the women that Jesus was not some loser who falsely claimed to be God’s Messiah and then got Himself killed. No, He was, in fact, God Himself who had come to be the Messiah, and the crucifixion and burial had not ended His story; He was back up and about the role of being God and Savior of mankind!

o       This, and many more implications must have started spinning around in the women’s minds.

·         But at least, this angel seems to be inviting them to come look into the tomb, so the women come up and peek inside. Of course, the tomb is empty, save for the linen cloth that Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped around Jesus’ body.

·         The angel isn’t done with his message, though, so he continues (or maybe his buddy continues from inside the tomb) as the women gape in wonder:


28:7 Now, get going quickly and start telling His disciples that He was resurrected [after being] among the dead, and, pay attention, He is going ahead of y’all into Galilee; you’ll see Him there. See, I told you!”

και ταχυ πορευθεισαι ειπατε τοις μαθηταις αυτου ‘οτι ηγερθη απο των νεκρων, και ιδου προαγει ‘υμας εις την Γαλιλαιαν εκει αυτον οψεσθε, ιδου ειπον ‘υμιν

·         I’m not sure

o       whether the “Behold I have told you” at the end of the angel’s statement is a kind-of relieved exclamation from an angel who has finished delivering his message,[15]

o       or if this is the second angel saying, “Yeah, what he said, I told you too!”

o       or if he is talking as the women ducked into the tomb, and then said, “See, I told you so!” when the women had seen with their own eyes that the angel’s message was true. “See? He is not here; He is risen! Why look for the Living One in a place where dead people are buried?”

·         So, what to do next? The angel said to go tell His disciples (and Mark’s account adds to be sure and tell Peter who had so recently denied even knowing Jesus) – and be quick about it.


28:8 So they quickly exited from the tomb – with fear and great joy – and ran to report to His disciples.

Και εξελθουσαι[16] ταχυ απο του μνημειου μετα φοβου και χαρας μεγαλης εδραμον απαγγειλαι τοις μαθηταις αυτου

·         The angel had told them to stop being afraid, and now their joy appears to be greater than their fear. The word “great” is feminine, modifying the feminine “joy” and not the masculine “fear.”

o       Joy like that of the wise men in Matt. 2:10 who saw the star announcing Jesus’ birth, the “good news of great joy for all peoples” Luke 2:10,

o       joy like the man who found the treasure in the field and sold all he had to get that field and the treasure it contained (13:44),

o       joy like the disciples had when the demons fled at their command (Luke 10:17),

o       joy like the angels in heaven experience when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10),

o       and joy like the people in Samaria - and other places - had when they heard the gospel from the apostles (Acts 8:8, 13:52, 15:3).

o       Joy comes from having a message which will make your listeners happy, doesn’t it? These women now had some really exciting news to tellNIV,ESV their fellow-followers of Jesus!

·         There is joy in realizing the truth that Jesus died to pay the price for the sins of all who will follow Him and trust Him as He makes them right with God and as He breaks the power of sin.

·         The Bible also tells us that there is joy in spreading this message.

o       Do you want to experience this joy yourself? Tell it to someone else!

o       The devil would love to convince us of the lie that sharing the gospel will be too nerve-wracking.

o       God’s word tells us the truth, that it is a source – not just of joy, but – of great joy.

·         “Those who are sent on God’s errand must not loiter or lose time…” ~Matthew Henry

·         Now at this point, it seems to me that we can insert from the parallel Gospels

o       Mary Magdelene’s confused message to Peter and John, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know were they have laid him!”

o       Then there is Peter and John’s rush to see the tomb which was unguarded and empty but not attended by angels anymore.

o       And the other women apparently told the other disciples yet they didn’t believe them.

o       Now what follows may be the same as what John relates of Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener.


28:9 But while they were on their way to report to His disciples15, now look, Jesus encountered them saying, “Hello!” Then the women came close and grabbed hold of His feet and bowed down to Him.

[‘ως δε επορευοντο απαγγειλαι τοις μαθηταις αυτου[17]] και ιδου [18] Ιησους απηντησεν[19] αυταις λεγων Χαιρετε, ‘Αι δε προσελθουσαι εκρατησαν αυτου τους ποδας και προσεκυνησαν αυτῳ

·         Now, four of the six oldest known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament do not repeat the end of verse 8 at the beginning of verse 9 like the majority of Greek manuscripts do, so the Bible you’re reading may not have that redundancy, but I decided to keep it (If you’re reading a King James version, you’re wondering what I’m talking about); it really doesn’t add or subtract any information, so don’t worry about it.

·         Note that, whichever edition you are reading, it is not until after the women obeyed God’s command to tell the disciples that Jesus made His reassuring presence known.

o       Has God let you know that you need to do something in particular, but you want more confirmation from Him because what He’s asking you to do stretches your faith beyond what you are comfortable with? Try just obeying. Often when we do so, the confirmation comes afterward.

o       These women took it on faith that Jesus was raised when all they empirically knew was that Jesus’ body wasn’t where they had buried it. They could have proceeded with a search to find the body nearby, but instead they ran to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead because God had given them that message.

·         This kind of faith tickles God pink (if I may use that metaphor to speak of God). Jesus wanted to be with women who exercised that kind of faith in Him, so He places Himself in their path as they are running pell-mell back toward the gates of Jerusalem.

·         His greeting is translated several different ways in English Bibles:

o       The root is the Greek word for “joy,” and all nine other times in the Greek Bible that this word is spelled this way, it is obviously a command to rejoice[20], so the New King James renders it reasonably as Jesus telling the women to “Rejoice.”

o       However, if you include all the different forms of this Greek verb, about one out of six times in the New Testament it is describing a greeting, (For instance, it’s what Judas said when he kissed Jesus in the garden - Mt. 26:49). So the King James Version renders it with the old-fashioned word “Hail,” from which we get the word “Hello,” which we use today in greetings. (And the root of this English word has to do with being “hale” – healthy and happy, which fits the root meaning of the Greek word too.)

o       All that to say it’s a cheerful greeting!

·         What would you have done if you were in the shoes of those women? I would have come unglued. The instant they recognized that this was Jesus, the Lord, the Word of God, the Great High Priest, the King of the Jews, back alive after being executed, they simultaneously want to hold Him close and never let go, and they also want to prostrate themselves in fear and worship, so they do both.

·         Why were they afraid? I suggest two reasons:

o       One is that they knew they had not acted with the kind of faith they should have and they were afraid of rejection. “Oh Lord, please don’t be mad at us! We’re so sorry we didn’t really believe You. We wanted to believe that you would rise from the dead, but we just weren’t sure. We came out to see if maybe you had risen, but we were really expecting to see you dead and embalm you. Can you ever forgive us?”

o       Secondly, they were afraid of abandonment. Jesus had left them once by dying on the cross, and they didn’t want to have to go through that separation again. That’s why they clung to His feet like they did and why Jesus had to reassure them that they would see Him again.

·         What will you do when you encounter Jesus personally? What will be running through your head?

o       It will probably be natural to revisit those occasions when you did not trust Him. Will you run towards Him anyway, believing He will forgive you and accept you?

o       Will you stop what you are doing immediately when He appears because you’d rather be with Him than doing what ever you are so busy doing?

o       Will you come humbly, showing Him the utmost respect and honor as infinitely greater than you? How will you demonstrate that kind of humility?

·         The word here translated “worshipped” in most English translations

o        comes from a root word meaning “to kiss” – perhaps as in kissing His feet.

o       It is also translated “knelt” or “prostrated” or “bowed down before Him” by the NAS, NIV, and ESV about a third of the times this word occurs in Matthew (8:2, 15:25, 18:26, 20:20),

o       but those versions seem to consider this occasion to be more like Matthew 14:33, where Jesus stilled the storm, and disciples did this in “worship,” saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”


28:10 Then Jesus says to them, “Stop being frightened. Y’all go on, report to my brothers so that they may leave for Galilee and there they will see me!”

Τοτε λεγει αυταις ‘ο Ιησους Μη φοβεισθε, υπαγετε απαγγειλατε τοις αδελφοις μου ‘ινα απελθωσιν εις την Γαλιλαιαν κακει[21] με οψονται

·         If Jesus (and also the angel in v.5) issued the command, “Do not stay[22] afraid,” then fear must be an emotion which can be brought under control.

o       Now, there are times when fear is a healthy emotion which drives us to do what we should do. For instance, during my college years, I spent a lot of time climbing and rappelling down cliff faces on the side of Lookout Mountain, but there were climbs I was interested in doing yet which I did not do because gravity has a way of getting to you after a hundred foot free-fall onto sharp rocks! Fear kept me from endangering my life by being reckless (sometimes anyway).

o       In a similar manner, I am afraid to steal money from other people because I know God will hold me accountable for that in the judgment (and besides, it will make other people mad at me).

o       But the kind of fear that we should be able to turn off is the vague fear of things outside our control which can eat up our thoughts and dreams and prevent us from doing God’s will. It’s all too easy to become paralyzed by an unhealthy preoccupation with protecting ourselves from every possible harm and miss out on doing what God wants us to do.

o       In this case, Jesus tells the women not to be afraid in His presence;

§         Don’t be afraid of rejection because of your sins. He is not a ghost out to wreak vengeance on His murderers; He is not a representative of an offended God who is out to get somebody; no, He is their savior and Lord who has just broken down the barrier between God and His people and is proclaiming the message that believers don’t have to be afraid of God at all, and in fact, accepting them as partners in spreading that message!

§         And don’t be afraid that He will abandon you. He loves you and has nothing but your best at heart, so don’t shrink away from God in fear, but draw near to Him and He will draw near to you! (James 4)

o       Will you obey Jesus and turn off the fear when it rises for no good reason and draw near to Him?

o       Remember Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You!”

·         At the same time, Jesus does not support the women’s fear that causes them to stay claspedNIV to His feet (John 20:17). He gets them moving back onto the path of what God’s messenger had told them to do.

·         And Jesus Himself is at work, in motion too.

o       We read in Mark 16 and Luke 24 that Jesus walked over to Emmaeus that Sunday and revealed to Clopas and another disciple (perhaps Luke himself?) that He was resurrected,

o       then made at least two visits to the Upper Room, the first time when Thomas was not there, and the second time when he was there (John 20).

o       The Apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus appeared to some five hundred people. We don’t know for sure how or when that happened, but He stayed busy.

o       What all He was doing, I do not know, but He had some reason to head back to Galilee ahead of His disciples, and He wanted to meet them there, where He’s going to give them a mission to keep them busy for the rest of their lives.

o       The women also had an immediate task: to tell Jesus’ brothers, which I take to be an affectionate term for His disciples, since the angel gave the exact same command with the word “disciples” – that He would meet them back home in Galilee.

o       Matthew Henry suggested that this was in fulfillment of Psalm 22:22, “I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren.”

o       That would have included the women moving back home to Galilee as well to pick up whatever they had left off there when they followed Him to the Passover week in Jerusalem[23].


Just like those women, we too have good news to tell. It’s pretty much the same message: Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again, and you will see Him.

·         The good news is that Christ died to pay the penalty God ordained for our sin so that we don’t have to suffer death under God’s displeasure forever. We who believe are free from sin!

·         The Good news is that Jesus has risen, proving that we will also be raised from death to eternal life. We who believe have no fear of death.

·         And the Good news is that we will see Jesus come again to correct everything that is wrong with the world, so that we who believe have no fear of the future!

Let us, like the women of Galilee, go quickly – run – and announce this good news!



The “Lost Tomb of Jesus”
As I was filing this week’s sermon on the news of the Resurrection, I came across an 11-page article written by Dr. David Chapman (New Testament and Archaeology professor at Covenant Seminary), criticizing the 2007 TV series “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” which claimed to have found a tomb in Jerusalem containing the bones of Jesus together with the bones of His relatives, including His mother, brother, wife (!), and son (!!!). Since I’ve been preaching on the burial and resurrection of Jesus, you might want to check out that critique here. Actually, I thought the Wikipedia article on the TV series also gave a good overview of the reasons to doubt its own outrageous claims (particularly the article by Joe Ezias who was the museum curator in charge of the bones in question). But if you’d rather skip the debate and just get a summary of my sermon on the resurrection of Jesus, here is Amos’ versification of it:

The women came with oils sweet,
The came with steady, mourning feet,
They reached the tomb, and stop and quake,
At seismic strength rocks rend and brake.

The Roman soldiers joked and laughed,
Until the crack – like thunder clashed.
Their weapons fall, light blinds their eyes,
They crash to ground as if they die.

Two angels sped, from heaven sent,
A rich man’s tomb their object bent;
A stone to move, a cohort smite,
And gave the girls a message bright,

Then in the path the Savior stood,
To see the message understood,
To see the women grasp his feet,
And desperately his grace entreat.

The women run; their fear is gone,
They – joyous – hurry, scurry home.
The soldiers stand, their knees like jelly,
Celestial sights did knot their belly,

The women burst into upper-room,
And bid the disciples come, yea, come!
Good news they spread, “The Christ is risen!”
“His word is true,” Our sins forgiven!

The soldiers tell their guilty lie,
Each cautious, fearful, lest he die.
The priests are also sore perplexed,
They bought this lie, this false pretext.

And where was Jesus? Wonder you,
Walking to Emmaus with other two?
No doubt he cured the weaknesses,
Of His five hundred witnesses.

[1] Only used 8x in the Greek Bible, all referring to evening: Genesis 24:11; Exodus 30:8; Isaiah 5:11; Jeremiah 2:23; Matthew 28:1; Mark 11:11,19; 13:35.

[2] Critical editions spell her name with the Greek letter for “m” at the end of her name because that’s how some of the ancient Greek manuscripts (א, C, L, and Θ) spell it, but the Critical editions spell her name without the final mu when her name first occurs at 27:56, and just as many – if not more – ancient Greek manuscripts (incl. A, B, D, W) spell it here without the final mu, and, while the ratio of spellings in the first eight centuries may have been close, Greek scholars ran with the shorter spelling so that the ratio spreads by the hundreds in favor of “Mary” over “Miriam” over the next 800 years, so I’m siding with the Patristic, Textus Receptus (T.R.) and Majority editions of the Greek New Testament (GNT).

[3] as does ATR… contra JFB

[4] The Critical editions, on the basis of a few of the most ancient Greek manuscripts (א, B, C, L, W) add the word kai (“and”) here, but the addition is not in some of the earliest manuscripts (A D, Θ) and later scribes didn’t see fit to include the extra conjunction, so I’m following the majority/T.R./Patristic reading without kai. It makes no difference in translation, though. English grammar doesn’t allow the chain of participles there in Greek without some way to string them together, so it is practically necessary to add a conjunction between the verbs in an English translation, as the KJV, NKJ, ESV, NAS, and NIV did.

[5] This phrase is not found in three of the earliest-known Greek manuscripts (א, B, C), and, curiously, it is not in the Latin Vulgate either, so, it is omitted in the Critical editions of the GNT, and therefore from the ESV, NAS, and NIV. However, the phrase appears in the majority of Greek manuscripts (including a couple of dated to the 5th Century - A, D), and is included in the traditional Patristic and T.R. editions of the GNT, so I have included it. A few manuscripts, including (A, L, Γ, Θ, f1, and f13) add the additional words tou mnemeion (“of the tomb”), but this is generally not considered to be in Matthew’s original. Even if all these words were to be accepted, it would not change the story at all because the position of the stone in the doorway and the mention of the tomb have already been given in the context of this passage, so the omission of those pieces of information merely leaves the reader to assume the same.

[6] Or perhaps while waiting for the women to arrive.

[7] On the basis of four of the six oldest-known Greek manuscripts (A, B, C, D), the Critical Editions add an epsilon to the beginning of this word. I have kept the reading of the majority of Greek manuscripts (including one of the oldest – W – plus thousands of other later manuscripts) which is reproduced in the T.R. and Patristic editions of the GNT. Pershbacher’s Greek-English lexicon translates eidea as “appearance/face” and idea as “form/look,” so the latter may be a little more general, but there is no real difference in meaning. The Septuagint used idea to refer to the likeness of a son (Seth) to his father (Adam - Gen. 5:3) and to refer to the look of Daniel’s face (Dan. 1:13-15), but the eidea spelling occurs nowhere else in the entire Greek Bible. I don’t think it’s a different word but rather a variant spelling.

[8] The majority of Greek manuscripts, supported by about half of the oldest-known manuscripts (A, C, W) and by the Patristic and T.R. editions of the GNT read hwsei “as if” at the end of v.3. The other half of the oldest-known manuscripts (א, B, D) and the Critical editions of the GNT read the simpler form of this word hws (without the ei) “as.” It makes no difference in translation. The same variant occurs at the end of v.4, although there, A & W side with the simpler form of the word, leaving less ancient support for the majority reading which still goes with the longer form.

[9] τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς

[10] The first three times that “the angel of the LORD” appears in the Old Testament, he says what only God can say (Gen 16, “I will multiply your descendents,” Gen 22:11 “you have not withheld your only son from me… by myself I have sworn…”), and then says, “I am the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob…” (Ex. 3:2). Some of the next few appearances are in the book of Judges, where the angel of the Lord says, “I brought you out of Egypt… I will not break my covenant.” (2:1), and when he appears to Gideon he is called “the LORD” (6:14). Later during the times of the kings and the N.T., it seems like the angel of the LORD could be a different person from the LORD (Such as the angel of the LORD who was told by the LORD when to stop destroying people in response to David’s census of Israel, and “an angel of the Lord” who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in Luke 2). But both Daniel and John the Revelator describe Jesus in their visions as having hair or clothing white as snow (Daniel 7:9 …τὸ ἔνδυμα αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ χιὼν λευκόν… – exact same words as Matt. 28:3, with only one word out of the same order. Revelation 1:14 …λευκόν, ὡς χιών…). The possibility that this “angel of the Lord” is Jesus Himself would be strong, in my opinion, if Jesus weren’t spoken of as though a different person in this account (and if there weren’t two angels in the parallel accounts).

[11] Rev. 3:4-5 & 18, Rev. 4:4, 6:11, 7:9-13; 19:14

[12] Critical editions of the GNT render this word as a Passive Deponent (εγενηθησαν) instead of Middle Deponent, due to this spelling in four of the six oldest known Greek manuscripts (א, B, C, D – and precious little else). The reading of the vast majority passed along in the Patristic and T.R. editions is supported by A & W. It makes no difference in translation: the KJV, ESV, NAS, and NIV all translated it “became.”

[13] This verb is the same used to describe the baby Jesus “lying” in a manger – interesting parallel!

[14] On the basis of two of the oldest-known Greek manuscripts (א & B + Θ – and precious little else), the Critical editions omit “the Lord.” I have sided with the Patristic and T.R. editions which reflect the reading of the majority of the oldest-known Greek manuscripts (A, C, D, W, etc.) as well as the overall majority of Greek manuscripts. However, the omission does not change the story, since the subject implied by the context is the same.

[15] This is Matthew Henry’s position, “…he doth, as it were, discharge himself…”

[16] About half of the oldest known Greek manuscripts (א, B, C + L, Θ, f13) use the prepositional prefix apo- “[went] away fromNIV” and the other half (A, D, W, etc), together with the vast majority of all later Greek manuscripts use the prefix ex- “went out fromNKJ.” The Critical editions go with the former, and the Patristic and T.R. editions go with the latter. The difference is not significant, and the word “departed/left,” used by the KJV, ESV, and NASB, could point to either one. Exelth- makes more sense to me because the women had apparently stepped inside the tomb to see, then the angel said, “I told you so,” and then the women stepped back “out,” before they “ran.”

[17] Critical editions of the GNT omit this phrase because it is not in four of the oldest-known Greek manuscripts (א, B, D, W + Θ but omitted in very few other manuscripts), thus the phrase is not to be found in the NASB, NIV, and ESV, but it is in the KJV because it is in the T.R. (& Patristic) editions which follow the vast majority of Greek manuscripts, includ­ing two of the oldest-known (A&C). It doesn’t add any new information because it is redundant to the end of verse 8.

[18] A significant set of manuscripts (including D, L, W, Θ, f1 and f13) adds the Greek definite article here, modifying “Jesus,” so it is in the T.R., but the Critical and Patristic editions of the GNT, don’t include it because it’s not in the majority of Greek manuscripts (including א, A, B, C). It doesn’t change the meaning one way or the other because this is a proper noun, and proper nouns in Greek are definite anyway.

[19] As with v.8, Critical editions have a variant prepositional prefix for this verb (following א, B, C, Θ, f1 and f13), literally translated “under” (instead of “from” – the reading of the vast majority of Greek manuscripts, including some of the oldest like A, D, L, and W, and carried on in the Patristic and TR editions) but making no difference in the overall meaning of the verb. Both forms of the verb mean “to meet,” and that is the word used both in the KJV and in the NAS, NIV, and ESV. This same variant occurs in four other places in the Greek Bible (Mk. 5:2, Lk 14:31, John 4:5, and Acts 16:16) leaving 5 undisputed uses of hupantaw (Mt. 8:28, Luke 8:27, John 11:20, 11:30, and 12:18). It seems that apantaw was the old-fashioned form of this word (found in the LXX - before the Gospels were written – in Genesis 28:11; 33:8; 1 Samuel 15:2; 25:20; 1 Kings 2:32,34; Job 4:12; Jeremiah 13:22; plus Luke 17:12 – where the 10 lepers stop Jesus on the road), and the word may have been on its way out of usage and being replaced with hupantaw, which could explain why the former is common in the Greek O.T. and the latter not in the Greek O.T. while the latter is used synonymously with the former in variant manuscripts in the Greek N.T. So, if my hypothesis is correct, I chose the “King James” word and Aland chose the “modern” word.

[20] Joel 2:23; Matt. 5:12; Luke 10:20; 2 Cor. 13:11; Philippians 2:18; 3:1; 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16; 1 Peter 4:13

[21] This contraction of και εκει (“and there”) is the reading of the Critical, T.R. and Patristic editions of the GNT, however, a slight majority of the totality of Greek manuscripts spells it as two separate words instead of contracting them. Apparently the majority of later manuscripts moved away for some reason from the older, more reliable manuscripts. It makes absolutely no difference in meaning, however.

[22] This is my rendering of the Greek prohibitive with the Present tense verb. It implies that they have been doing something which needs to be put a stop to.

[23] Calvin and Hendriksen and interpret “brothers” as “disciples,” but JFB believed it was His literal half-brothers (James and Joseph ).