Matthew 28:1-20 – Witnessing the resurrection



MATTHEW 28v1-20.


The word witness          – 1) eyewitness – observe – [to wirness something]

– 2) to testify – corroborate – [ to be a witness – to say

what you saw]



2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

The actions of the angel and the words of the angel.

The angel caused the quake!! So often in the Bible and earthquake is a sign -“The Lord is speaking!”  The earth shook / quaked when Jesus died – now it quaked as he rose again.

Hebrews 1:1-2

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, …

Jesus is God’s final word to mankind – he is the supreme revelation of God – God is not going to speak in a better way – the resurrection shows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

“Stone rolled away” – picked up and removed – sat upon like a hunter sitting on a prize kill!

WHY was the stone moved? So Jesus could get out of the tomb?? NO!! He could walk through walls!! It was as a witness to the women, the guards and the other disciples.

The angel then speaks to the women – “He is risen – go tell his disciples!!”


Matthew 28:1

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. (NIV)

Matthew 28:5-7

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (NIV)

The two Marys [plus other – see other gospels]

Their devotion to Jesus was evident – following his ministry – at the cross – at his burial [must have been there otherwise would not have know where to go] — Now at tomb.

The women did not see Jesus rise – just the results of his having risen.

We could expect a rebuke in view of their lack of faith – Jesus had said he would rise on the third day – why were they so afraid and surprised???  “He said he would rise again and again and again ……….

BUT no rebuke from the angel just a gentle reminder.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.

How gentle God is with his children!!

Just a “Come and see.” Come and witness for yourself the resurrection. NOW go and tell the disciples. And they ran to tell!

There is no suggestion that the women doubted the angel’s witness.

Now I have told you.  – You are now witnesses – it is your responsibility to carry the message to the disciples. – Once you have witnessed tha risen Christ you are responsible to be a witness for the risen Christ and to be a carrier of his message.

They believed and ran to obey.

When they met Jesus on the way  – their response is the only true response we can have to the risen Lord – worship at his feet

His message ‘ Go tell those cowards who ran off and left me alone I never want to see them again!!’  NO!! NO!!

‘Tell my brothers….’

What an encouragement – no matter how much we let him down he comes to us “My brother, my sister



Matthew 28:4 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. (NIV)

What quaked more – the earth or the guards.

The Jewish leaders had made the tomb secure – a stone – a seal – a Roman guard. What puny, futile efforts in the face God’s resurrection power. God laughs at man’s security!

Psalm 2:4

4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

the Lord scoffs at them. (NIV)

Psalm 46:6

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

he lifts his voice, the earth melts. (NIV)

Matthew 28:11-15

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (NIV)

The women saw and spread the news – the guards allowed themselves to be used to hush up the news and to tell lies!!

Only some of the guard wen to the Jewish leaders – they were scattered.

The Sanhedrin – do not reject their story – not told if they believed the stroy BUT they didn’t want it linked to claims of the resurection.

The lengths to which people will go to surpress the truth.

ILLUS.: Deedat – He knows his arguments against the gospel are weak BUT he plays on the ignorance of the people.

They stole the body – think about that – John tells iu that the grave clothes were neatly placed in the tomb. [Jn.20v7]

The disciples stole the body but first took the time to unwrap it and neatly fold the grave clothes while a guard of Roman soldiers was outside!!! After having moved a 2 ton stone so quietly that they did not wake the sleeping guards.

ILLUS.: Imagine the conversation with one guard after hearing the explanation.

Enquirers #1 “O that explains it then

”        #2 “ You mean to tell me that all 12 [?] of you were asleep when a few fishermen came and moved the stone and carried away the body and you never woke!! Some sllepers you must be?!!”

”             #3 – a believer –  ” If you were sleeping how do you know what happened? You didn’t see anyone carrying the body away! You are merely guessing!! I too have a solution and it is far more reasonable than yours – Jesus rose from the dead!!”

All man solution to the resurrestion are flawed! There is more evidence for the historical evidence of Jesus Christ than for any other historical event of the time!!



Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)

The response of the disciples was the same as the women – they worshipped!!

“.. some doubted.”  – only temporarily. We know that they all did believe [Acts 1 coming of Spirit on all]

They were witnesses to:-

His Claim – ALL authority.

His Commission – ALL nations

His Comfort  – ALL time

Women    – saw – believed – GO!}

} be witnesses

Disciples – saw – believed – GO!}



Problem with being in Missionary / Church work we tend to get caught up in activities of keeping the machinery of OUR ministry going and can loose sight of the world and people.

How many non-Christian friends do you have??

Witnessing is not just linked to aggressive evangelism!

Acts 1v8 “….. BE my witnesses.”  “Witnessing is not something we DO, it is something we are.”  “It is not what I say, it is what I am”

Jesus did not get his authority because he rose from the dead – He had the authority and he demonstrated it by rising from the dead.

As HIS witnesses we have HIS authority because HE is with us ALWAYS!!


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