Setting

The gospel of Jesus Christ did not end with His death. Without His resurrection, our faith would be in vain and we would still be in our sin (1Cor 15:17). But after the Lord had suffered, died and been buried, He rose from the grave just as He had told the disciples. He had conquered death once for all and become our Savior. As the King of kings who had received authority in heaven and on earth, He commissioned His disciples to bring the gospel of salvation to the whole world until He comes again.

Key Verse

(28:18)

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Outline

  • The Angel’s Descent and Announcement
    (28:1-8)
  • Jesus’ Appearance
    (28:9-10)
  • Report and Bribery
    (28:11-15)
  • The Great Commission
    (28:16-20)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    In which two places did the scenes in this chapter take place?

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    Jerusalem and Galilee.

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  • 2a.

    Why is the Lord’s resurrection central to our faith?

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    We are justified by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom 4:25). Without the resurrection of Christ, we would have no hope of salvation (1Cor 15:17-19). But because Christ has resurrected, we know that God has overcome and given us victory over sin and death (1Cor 15:57; Col 2:11- 12).

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  • 2b.

    How should the Lord’s resurrection direct our daily lives?

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    Knowing that Christ has risen from the dead, we must live a new life of righteousness (Rom 6:8-13). We should not live for ourselves but for our Lord (2Cor 5:15) and work for Him with diligence, knowing that our labor is not in vain (1Cor 15:58).

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Segment Analysis

  • 28:1-8

    1.

    Why did the angel roll back the stone from the door?

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    So that the women and the other disciples may witness for themselves the empty tomb (6).

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  • 28-9-10

    2.

    Why should the women “rejoice”? Why should you rejoice today?

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    The women as well as the disciples were in great sorrow and despair. Their mind was still on the death of Christ even though He had already resurrected (Lk 24:5). But Jesus told them to rejoice because He had brought them hope and salvation.

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  • 28:11-15

    3.

    What do the reactions and decisions of the chief priests and elders tell us about them?

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    They were blind to the truth; their hearts were hardened. They were still worried about their credibility to the people when they should have realized that they had killed the Son of God.

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  • 4a.

    What two things does the “large sum of money” indicate?

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    1) The chief priests and elders were so callous that they were willing to do whatever it took to keep the truth from the people and thus preserve their authority. 2) Without a substantial bribery, it would have been impossible to keep the soldiers quiet because they had personally witnessed the great miracles.

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  • 4b.

    Does Satan also bribe people today to keep them from telling others about the resurrection? If so, how does he do it?

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  • 28:11-15

    5a.

    Why did the chief priests and elders promise the guards to appease the governor and make them secure?

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    Their story would make them guilty of sleeping on duty.

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  • 5b.

    Why was the story of the stolen body unconvincing and illogical?

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    1) Sleeping on duty was something to be ashamed of. Why would the guards proclaim their shame instead of hiding it, unless, of course, they had been bribed? 2) Had they indeed been sleeping, how did they know that the disciples had stolen the body? 3) How could the disciples roll away such a large stone up an incline without waking up anyone? 4) If one of the guards had woke up to see the disciples stealing the body, why didn’t he wake up the other guards? 5) If the disciples had indeed stolen the body, why didn’t anyone search for or find the body?

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  • 28:16-20

    6.

    What is a recurring word/theme in the Great Commission (see KJV)?

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    The word “all” is emphasized: all authority, all nations, all things that I have commanded you, all the time (always). Jesus, the King of kings, now has complete authority over all creation. All of His commands are to be obeyed. He lives forever and will be with the believers always until He comes again.

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  • 7.

    What is the authority that Jesus had received?

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    During Jesus’ ministry, Satan challenged his authority as the Son of God (4:3,6). But through His death on the cross, He triumphed over Satan (Col 2:15). Having been exalted to the highest, all authorities have become subject to Him (Php 2:9-11). By Jesus authority, those who believe in Him will not be condemned but have victory over sin and death (Rom 8:34; 1Cor 15:57). We as believers no longer live under the control of sin but reign in life through Christ (Rom 5:17, 6:14).

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  • 8.

    The word “therefore” shows a direct connection between Jesus’ authority and the commission. Explain this connection.

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    Because Christ has been exalted, we may believe in Him and become His disciple to have eternal life. Because He has received authority, we may receive the forgiveness of sins through baptism (Acts 2:32-39; Jn 20:21-23). Because He is the Lord of all things, we must obey His commands. Because He has risen and lives forever, He is able to promise continual abiding with us (Jn 16:33).

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  • 9a.

    How can we “make disciples”?

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    We need to preach the gospel of the kingdom as a witness to all nations (24:14). As we proclaim the word of salvation, people may hear the message and put their faith in Christ to be saved (Rom 10:13-15,17).

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  • 9b.

    What do the Lord’s words tell us about what characterizes a disciple?

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    A disciple is one who is baptized and observes all that Christ has commanded. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and for putting on Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal 3:27). Obedience to Christ’s command shows our faith in His words and our submission to His authority.

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  • 28:16-20

    10.

    How was the Lord’s promise to Abraham in Gen 12:3b fulfilled here?

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    Through faith and baptism in Christ, we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise regardless of our race or social status (Gal 3:26-29). All who walk in Abraham’s step of faith are blessed with the promise of forgiveness and justification (Rom 4:16-25).

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  • 11a.

    What is “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”? Why did Jesus give such a long description when He could have just spelled out the name?

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    Jesus (Jn17:11). There is only one name, the name of Jesus, by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the Father (Isa 9:6), the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Gal 4:6). Knowing that the name was referring to Jesus’ name, the apostles baptized in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5). The reason for the description of the name has to do with the authority Jesus had received. He was not just a historical figure, but the eternal God who was, who is, and who is to come (Rev 1:8). Just as He had been with His chosen people in the past, He will be with the believers to the end of the age.

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  • 11b.

    “Baptizing them in the name of …” Is this command to be merely recited as a formula during baptism? What does it mean to be baptized in the Lord’s name?

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    No. If it were just a formula to be recited, the disciples would have recited the exact words of Father, Son and Holy Spirit instead of baptizing in the name of the Lord Jesus (see also the previous question). “In the name of” is more than recitation, but also indicates the authority and power of the risen Christ (Php 2:10-11). It is in Jesus that we can have the forgiveness of sins during baptism (Col 1:14). Because it is into Christ that we are baptized (Gal 3:27), the baptismal candidate must believe the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior and determine to live for Christ all his life.

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  • 28:16-20

    12a.

    How does the great commission apply to you personally? How would you fulfill the great commission?

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  • 12b.

    Explain the Lord’s promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” and apply it to the commission.

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    His continual presence gives us hope, comfort, and strength as we carry out the mission of preaching the gospel and teaching the disciples. He does not leave us alone to our tasks (Jn 14:18). Because He has overcome the world and lives in us through the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear (Jn 16:33). Just as the believers of the apostolic age became witnesses to the world through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will also be able accomplish the Lord’s great commission if we seek the power from the Lord (Acts 1:8).

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