Resurrection and Restoration

As many scholars note, Matthew bases his account upon Mark 16:1-8 and a comparison of those verses with Mt 28:1-8 reveals the dependence – and there are differences. The two points that are common to the resurrection testimony of all the gospels are that the tomb of Jesus had been found empty and that the risen Jesus had appeared to certain persons, or, in the original form of Mark, that such an appearance was promised as soon to take place (see Mark 16:7). At one level it might appear as though Matthew is constructing a Christian apologetic for the faith. But the emphasis throughout (except in the story of the guard) is not on factual proof of the Resurrection for the non-Christian world, but on the impact of the incredible truth on Jesus’ bewildered and exhilarated followers, on their fear and joy, doubt and assurance. It is with the restoration of their broken relationship with him, with all that this implies for their continuing mission, that Matthew will conclude his book.

On this central and all-important basis, Matthew has constructed an account that interprets the resurrection as the turning of the ages (Matthew 28:2–4), shows the Jewish opposition to Jesus as continuing to the present in the claim that the resurrection is a deception perpetrated by the disciples who stole his body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11–15), and marks a new stage in the mission of the disciples once limited to Israel (Matthew 10:5–6); now they are to make disciples of all nations. In this work they will be strengthened by the presence of the exalted Son of Man, who will be with them until the kingdom comes in fullness at the end of the age (Matthew 28:16–20).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.