Matthew Chapter 28
Jesus appears to the women

1 After the Sabbath, at the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb.

2 Sud denly there was a violent earthquake: an angel of the Lord de scending from heaven, came to the stone, rolled it from the entrance of the tomb, and sat on it.

3 His ap pearance was like lightning and his garment white as snow.

4 The guards trembled in fear and became like dead men when they saw the angel.

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, for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him;

7 then go at once and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. This is my message for you.¡±

8 They left the tomb at once in holy fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to the disciples.

9 Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way and said, ¡°Peace.¡± The wo men approached him, embraced his feet and worshiped him.

10 But Jesus said to them, ¡°Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to set out for Galilee; there they will see me.¡±

11 While the women were on their way, the guards returned to the city and some of them reported to the chief priests all that had happened.

12 The chief priests met with the Je wish authorities and decided to give the soldiers a good sum of money,

13 with this instruction, ¡°Say that his disciples came by night while you were asleep, and stole the body of Jesus.

14 If Pilate comes to know of this, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.¡±

15 The soldiers accepted the money and did as they were told. This story has circulated among the Jews until this day.

Jesus ¡®sends the apostles

16 As for the Eleven disciples, they went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw Jesus, they bowed before him, although some doubted.

18 Then Jesus approached them and said, ¡°I have been gi ven all authority in heaven and on earth.

19 Go, there fore, and make disciples from all nations. Baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 and teach them to fulfill all that I have commanded you. I am with you always until the end of this world.¡±


Comments Mathew, Chapter 28


On the apparitions of the risen Jesus, see the commentary on Lk 24:1.

This first paragraph is still in apocalyptic style, with its resplendent angel and another earthquake. The Gospel refuses to describe a triumphal departure of Jesus, as his readers would have preferred. The risen Jesus is only seen by those who believe: the women who look for him will see him, the soldiers and rulers who do not seek him will not understand.

The evangelist mentions the names of Mary of Mag dala and the other Mary, the mother of James and of Joseph (Mt 27:55), two of the ¡°brothers of Jesus¡± (Mt 13:55), his closest cousins. (She is a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Jn 19:25).

Suddenly, Jesus met them on the way (v. 9). It is obvious that Matthew is combining two different events; one, the discovery of the empty tomb, and the other, which happened later on, the apparition of Jesus to Mary Magda lene alone as related in John 20:11-18.

Set out for Galilee (v. 10). Why did Jesus say this date if he was going to appear later that same day in Jerusalem? (Lk 24:13-42). It is not clear. Probably the evangelists combined several apparitions to simplify their narration. Anyway, time was needed for the apostles to believe in the Resurrection and understand something about it. After the two apparitions in Jerusalem, in which Jesus tried to convince them that he was not a phantom or a spirit, they would have to return to their provinces and environments, far away from the city that had caused them such trauma, in order to ponder what they had experienced. In Galilee, Jesus will manifest himself differently, making them understand that he is already glorified, that his existence is earthly no more.

A woman, Mary Magda lene, conveys the message, in order to indicate that, in the Church, not everything will come from the authorities. God communicates with whom ever he wishes, giving prophetic messages to simple people and to women.

The resurrection of Christ is the pivotal point of the Gospel; yet Matthew reports it briefly. Why? Because when Matthew wrote his Gospel, the Resurrection was considered too great an event to put into writing: rather, it should be proclaimed and witnessed to by the Spirit at work in the Christian communities.

Are we in a different situation? The Church that talks of the Risen Christ should never be a powerful Church but a Risen Church. If the Church finds itself in a situation where there is no apparent hope of salvation, yet it is revived by the power of God; if in each generation the Church seems doomed to die because of its ancient structures, its worldly ways or the persecution it undergoes, yet it is nevertheless given new energies and new apostles by the Lord, then the Church is a witness that the Lord has risen and has given her the power to rise.


Jesus sent his apostles to evangelize the world.

The last apparition is related in a very simple way: no sudden appearance, no fear ¨C no physical demonstration of the reality of Jesus. What is important are the words of Jesus Master.

Although some doubted (v. 17). With this, Matthew sums up the last apparitions of Jesus. Not all the disciples of Jesus (the Eleven and the rest) believed so quickly in the resurrection of Jesus.

Make disciples from all nations (v.19). Jesus, following the example of Jewish teachers of his time, gathered around him a group of disciples who lived with him. The teacher knew his disciples and the disciples knew the teacher by sharing everyday life. The same holds true today: evangelization implies interpersonal sharing.

To evangelize means to help someone ponder his former experiences until he can recognize in the person of Christ, in his death and resurrection, the truth that lights up his own life.

Those who believe will be baptized in the one Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Three Persons Christ taught us about. Of course, he named them separately because the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit; in spite of that, the Three are the same God. Upon entering the Church, the baptized will enter into communion with the Father, with the Son and with the Holy Spirit. The Church is, before anything else, communion.

See Acts 19:5 regarding baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

Teach them to fulfill all that I have commanded you (v. 20). These instructions of Jesus have first place in Matthew¡¯s Gospel; they are in the five discourses and we are to do the will of the Father just as Jesus has revealed it.

I am with you always. Here we find again the certitude which the name Emmanuel already expressed in 1:23: Jesus is God-with-us until the end of time. The first generation Christians thought that Christ would not delay in returning but at the time the Gospel was written, they already understood that history would continue; the nation of Israel rejected the salvation offered to her and only a minority believed. Jesus was now committing himself to his apostles and to his Church and now began to build the Church of his apostles.

The Catholic Church is different from Protestant or Evangelical churches, because it was founded by the apostles of Jesus. Only she feels obliged to remain united around the successors of the apostles, the bishops; this unity and continuity are at times hard to maintain, especially in situations where it would seem easier to form a new reformed community alongside her. Obedience to the will of the Father is the means by which he purifies and strengthens our faith. Jesus is and re mains ¡°Lord¡± regarding the destiny of ¡°his¡± Church.