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60 wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb,

which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to 61 the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Mag

dalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the 63 chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying: Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive: After three

an instrument by which the body of the Saviour was saved from burning, or a promiscuous burial with others, and was thus capable of being identified in the event of its resurrection.

59. Wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. As time would not then allow them to go through the long process of embalming the body, they hastily wrapped it in a large cloth, filled with spices, myrrh, and aloes, one hundred weight of which had been brought by Nicodemus. John xix. 39, 40. 2 Chron. xvi. 14. Coffins were not used by the Jews in burying the dead.

60. His own new tomb-hewn out in the rock-he rolled a great stone to the door. Every word is important and significant. 1. The tomb was new, and no one had yet been buried in it. Luke xxiii. 53. John xix. 41. Wherefore the body of Jesus would not be confounded with any other. 2. It was a tomb in a rock, a common circumstance in Judea. No other access therefore existed except by the door, and no facility was afforded either for exchanging the body or removing it. 3. The only entrance was perfectly secured by a large stone which was sealed, verse 66. Every step therefore was taken, though undesignedly, to make "assurance doubly sure,' as to the identity of the body of our Lord when it was raised. No room was left for deception or mistake. John, xix. 41, 42, speaks of the tomb being in a garden, and near

99

the cross. The location is still pointed out with considerable certainty, as a church was early erected over it.

61. Mary Magdalene. See note on verse 56.-The other Mary, sitting, &c. They were witnesses of the burial. With devoted hearts they still linger near the tomb of their lost benefactor, according to the custom of females in the east, lamenting over the graves of their friends. We are here reminded of that beautiful eulogy on woman by the poet:

"Not she with traitorous kiss her Saviour
stung;

Not she denied him with unholy tongue :
She, when Apostles shrank, could danger
brave;

Last at his cross, and earliest at his grave." 62. The next day, that followed the day of the preparation. The Jewish day began at sunset. As Jesus was crucified on Friday, and the Jewish Sabbath, which at this time was a high day, being a paschal Sabbath, the Jews went to Pilate on the next day according to Jewish phraseology, but on the same evening according to ours. Of course they would not have waited until the next morning after the burial, for they would have feared the robbery of the tomb during the darkness by the disciples. The preparation here spoken of was the preparation for the pas chal Sabbath, not the paschal feast Luke xxiii. 54. John xix. 31, 42.

63. That deceiver said. That impostor. They still remained hardened. The portents at Jesus'

days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be 64 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. Pilate said unto them: 65 Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they 66 went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

death, and his own divine bearing on the cross, had not subdued their impenitence. After three days I will rise again. Mat. xii. 40, xvi. 21, xvii. 23, xx. 19, xxvi. 61. The prediction of Jesus had become known among the Jewish people, an evidence that no imposture was designed, for, had there been, the Jews would not have been forewarned so that they could have prevented it. After three days means, according to Jewish computation, within three days, or on the third day. 2 Chron. x. 5, 12. It is remarkable that "Jesus' greatest enemies bear witness that before his death he had foretold his resurrection within three days."

64. That the sepulchre be made sure, i. e. by a Roman guard.—Error. Rather, deception, or imposture. Their plea is, that greater influence would be exerted over the people by the assertion that he had risen from the dead, than had resulted from his exertions while living; a judgment which was confirmed by subsequent facts.

65. Ye have a watch. Or, as some have suggested, take a watch, or guard, putting the verb in the imperative. Whether the Jews had a guard under their direction or not is somewhat uncertain. If they had, it would appear to have been unnecessary for them to apply to Pilate. It is observable, however, that the watch send a message to the priests, as if they were responsible to them, chap. xxviii. 11. A body of Ro

man soldiers was usually stationed in the castle of Antonia, near the temple, to quell any disturbance that might occur in the city. The Roman watch properly consisted of sixteen soldiers, who were divided into four companies, each company being on guard three hours.

66. Sealing the stone. Probably a band was passed over the stone, and sealed with the public stamp. Dan. vi. 17. Thus every precaution, which Jewish malice or Roman power could devise, was employed to frustrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His enemies were satisfied that he was really dead. He was buried in a strong rock tomb, and the mouth closed with a heavy stone, and sealed by the public authority. Roman soldiers, distinguished for their perfect discipline, were placed on guard over his body. If under these circumstances he arose from the dead, it must be regarded as an unquestionable proof of the divinity of his mission, the truth of his religion, and the faithfulness of his promises. "If this counsel or this work had been of men, it would have come to nought" in the sepulchre of Jesus; "but, as it was of God, it could not be overthrown," though Jew and Roman joined together for its extinction.

"The Sabbath came, with its holy hours of worship and rest. The incense and the sacrifices were offered up in the temple, and its ample courts resounded with the tread

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CHAPTER XXVIII.

The Resurrection of Jesus, and his Farewell Commands.

IN

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

of innumerable worshippers, and the voices of those who sang praise. There were no signs to show that the glory of Israel, the object of so many prophecies, the desire of all nations, the great benefactor of the human race, had just been rudely destroyed by the people whom he had come to bless. The festival went on, and the crowded city rejoiced. -But all were not thus. There were friends of that holy and just one, who, though they were far from a full comprehension of his character, yet mourned him in the depths of their souls as the most excellent and admirable of beings. It is easy to judge what was the gloom of this day to them. To the eleven Apostles especially, who had cause to feel shame for their desertion of him, as well as grief at his death, it must have been a day of unmixed sorrow and despair.Thus the Sabbath passed away, and the dawn of the first day of the week drew nigh."—Ware.

CHAP. XXVIII.

1-10. See Mark xvi. 1-11, Luke xxiv. 1-11, John xx. 1, 2, 18. Different writers have harmonized with more or less success the seemingly conflicting accounts of the resurrection. But the very discrepancies which have been adduced, to shake the genuineness and authority of the Gospels, are proofs of independence, and the absence of concert on the part of the writers, and strikingly betray that agitation and astonishment which must have possessed all who witnessed the amazing facts of the

death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. The following seems the most probable sequence of events on this most interesting occasion. 1. Several women, among whom was Mary Magdalene, came to the sepulchre and found it open. 2. She hastened to inform Peter and John. 3. Meantime the other women saw two angels. 4. Peter and John, informed of the wonderful intelligence, ran to the sepulchre. 5. Mary Magdalene returns after them and sees the two angels, and subsequently Jesus. 6. He soon after appears also to the other women, probably on their return.

1. In the end of the sabbath. The original, according to the best critics, signifies after the sabbath; or, as Mark has it, "when the sabbath was past."-Began to dawn toward the first day of the week, i. e. about daybreak of our Sabbath, which has ever been observed as the day of rest and devotion since the resurrection of our Lord, in token of that glorious event.-Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary. See chap. xxvii. 61. Mark mentions Salome also as one of the company, xvi. 1, and Luke specifies Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and intimates that there were other women also with them, xxiv. 10. Ministering to Jesus during his life, witnessing with grief and horror his crucifixion, and watching his burial, they now come with devoted but heavy hearts, after the solemnities of the holy day, to pay their last offices of respect to his lifeless remains by embalining them in costly spices,

the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for the 2 angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like 3 lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the 4 keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answer- 5 ed and said unto the women: Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he 6 said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and 7 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. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great 8

2-4. There was a great earthquake. Rather, there had been, before the women arrived at the tomb. -His countenance. His appearance or aspect. The keepers did shake, &c., i. e. the Roman guard. The object of the earthquake and the appearance of the angel was to prevent any opposition, on the part of the soldiers, to Jesus' rising and meeting his friends. Romans as they were, they shrank appalled before the supernatural manifestation. The women had consulted on he way how they should get the stone removed, for it was very large, Mark xvi. 3, 4, by which it appears that they had not been apprised that the tomb was guarded, and the stone sealed. As they approached and saw the remarkable appearances, the guard prostrate, and the tomb opened, Mary Magdalene ran back to inform Peter and John, xx. 2, leaving the other women at the sepulchre, who during her absence witnessed what is related in the following verses, 58. Mark xvi. 5-8. Luke xxiv. 4-11.

5-7. Said unto the women: Fear not. These were the associates of Mary Magdalene, who remained after she had hastened to inform Peter and John. The celestial messenger would quiet their fears by the gracious assurance that Jesus

had risen; he gave them a message to his disciples as if in token of honor for their unfaltering attachment and heroism.-He is risen, as he said. Or, he is raised up. Jesus had uniformly coupled the prediction of his resurrection with his death. Matthew xx. 19, xxvi. 32. Mark gives the interesting particular, that the message was sent to the disciples and Peter, thereby kindly intimating that his fault of denying his Master was forgiven.-He goeth before you into Galilee. He had already assigned this as a place of meeting. Mat. xxvi. 32. The different statements of the Evangelists in relation to the angels, their appearance, and words, are significant of that artlessness and straightforwardness which seek not to anticipate and harmonize difficulties, but to relate the honest truth.

8. They departed. Rather, they going out from the sepulchre-ran. -Fear and great joy. What drainatist, though it were Shakspeare, ever laid open the feelings of the human heart, as called forth in great emergencies, with more fidelity to nature than is done in these simple words of the Evangelist ? The awe of the spiritual world, into whose secrets they had just obtained so deep a glance, rested upon the women; but a great joy and unspeakable gladness that their friend

9 joy, and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell

his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying: All hail! And they 10 came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them: Be not afraid; go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

11

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were

had been raised up also filled their hearts. Thus their fear and their joy were not incongruous sentiments, but harmonious one with the other, and likewise with the circumstances of the case.

9. In the interim, Peter and John, who had been informed by Mary Magdalene of the opening of the sepulchre, had come to the place, examined the tomb, and returned. Mary Magdalene also had come back again to the sepulchre and been favored with a vision of angels, and subsequently with an interview with her risen Master. See Luke xxiv. 12, John xx. 3-17, Mark xvi. 9.-As they went to tell his disciples, &c. Jesus had already appeared to Mary Magdalene; he now manifested himself to the women who were returning from the tomb to inform his disciples of the resurrection. This order of events is attended, on the whole, with the fewest difficulties. See note at the beginning of this chapter.-All hail! Rejoice, or, Peace be to you. Luke xxiv. 36. The common salutation, fitted to calm their fears at meeting him, and inspire them with joy at the great event of his resurrection. -Held him by the feet. Like suppliants, who cast themselves on the ground and embrace the knees or feet of princes and great men in the east.-Worshipped him. See note on Mat. ii. 2. This was a mark of deep respect, an act of obeisance, but by no means one of divine homage and worship, as has been

popularly represented. Who can do such violence to the simplicity of the Gospels, as to suppose that those, who at various times fell down in respect or supplication at Jesus' feet, adored him as the very God? Why, if they did, did they not call him God? It is painful to think what wrestings, chiefly unintentional, there have been of the Holy Scriptures, and how their luminous pages have been overlapped and beclouded by the theories and dreams of dogmatists. "The simplicity of Christ" possesses a charm the world has seldom felt and little appreciates.

10. Be not afraid; go tell my brethren. With mild and condescending words Jesus would soothe their troubled minds. He even calls his disciples by the endearing title of Brethren; forgetting and forgiving their denial and desertion of him. John xv. 15. Furness remarks truly, that "it is impossible that any one could have fabricated a personage whose tone of sentiment and expression should be in perfect accordance with that wonderful being who had a little while before expired on the cross. No human art could have added another chapter to that life." The words and deeds of the risen Jesus are all in beautiful harmony with those of the previously living Jesus. This identity of conduct and character is evidence of the reality of the resurrection.

11. Showed unto the chief priests.

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