Jesus Is Raised from the Dead.[a] 1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the sepulcher. 2 And behold, there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descended from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat upon it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his garments were as white as snow. 4 The guards were so paralyzed with fear of him that they became like dead men.
5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has been raised, as he promised he would be. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has been raised from the dead and now he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”
8 They were filled with fear and great joy, and they ran from the tomb to inform his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus came to meet them, saying, “Greetings.” They approached him, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be fearful. Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee. There they will see me.”[b]
11 The Report of the Guard.[c] 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 After the chief priests had conferred with the elders, they presented a large sum of money to the soldiers 13 and gave them this order: “Say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole the body while we were asleep.’ 14 And should the governor hear anything in this regard, we will explain the situation to him and you will be safe.” 15 The soldiers took the money and did as they had been instructed. And this story is still circulated among the Jews to this very day.
16 Jesus Gives the Great Commission.[d] Then the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to meet him. 17 When they saw him, they prostrated themselves before him, although some doubted. 18 Then Jesus approached them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,[e] 20 and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the world.”
- Matthew 28:1 The Resurrection of Christ is a mystery of faith; it was not accessible to the senses, as other events are. Our faith in it is based on the word of those who witnessed the risen Christ.
- Matthew 28:10 It is difficult to harmonize the accounts of the appearances of the risen Jesus set forth by the four evangelists and St. Paul (1 Cor 15:3-7). There are no authentic divergences, only independent narratives. Every sacred author gives one episode or other and stresses one phrase or other of the Lord in accord with some unknown criteria or particular theology.
Scripture describes at least ten appearances of Jesus to his apostles and disciples between his Resurrection and his Ascension forty days later. He appeared to: (1) Mary Magdalene at the tomb (Mk 16:9; Jn 20:11-18); (2) the women on the road (Mt 28:9, 10); (3) the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35); (4) Peter (Lk 24:34; 1 Cor 15:5); (5) ten of the eleven apostles, with Thomas absent (Lk 24:36-43; Mk 16:14; Jn 20:19-25); (6) all eleven apostles, with Thomas present (eight days later) (Jn 20:26-31); (7) seven disciples by the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1-25); (8) more than 500 disciples, most likely on a mountain in Galilee (1 Cor 15:6); (9) James (1 Cor 15:7); and (10) the apostles at his Ascension (Acts 1:3-11). After his Ascension he also appeared to Paul (1 Cor 15:8).
- Matthew 28:11 Matthew is here combating the fables that were circulated in Jewish circles to ridicule the testimony of the early Church.
- Matthew 28:16 The last passage of the Gospel is not a conclusion but a new beginning, a new departure. From a mountain whose vantage point embraces the ends of the earth and the limits of history, we see the destiny of humankind. Now Jesus is established in his lordship in dazzling glory, and his hands hold the fate of the world. Now his faithful spread his message and his mystery; now there is one Baptism for all humanity and one communion with God for all persons. It is the time of the universal mission: God is with us; such is the very name of Jesus: “Emmanuel” (Mt 1:23; see Isa 7:14). On the face of Christ we read the mystery of the Church.
- Matthew 28:19 The evangelist places on the Lord’s lips the trinitarian formula that was in use in the baptismal Liturgy of the time (A.D. 70–80).