The Appearance of Jesus

It is when the women respond to the angel’s command to go quickly and tell (v. 7) — and they leave quickly, running to tell the disciples (v. 8) — that the risen Jesus appears to them. Part of Matthew’s purpose in this account is to show the reality of the physical resurrection as the women grab his feet; and the proper response of worshiping the risen Lord (v. 9).  The women are already en route on their mission when they are joined by the risen Christ, a paradigm of Matthew’s understanding of the reassuring presence of the risen Christ in the missionary activity of the church (cf. 1:23; 10:40; 13:37; 14:22-33; 16:18; 17:17; 18:5, 20; 28:20).

A Bribe. Unlike the women who go and tell the world of the good news, the guards, who have seen the same thing, did not respond in the same way. They simply reported what had happened. There was no generation of faith in the face of the eschatological events. There was the report to the ones who were already neck deep in conspiracy. The Chief Priest and elder are forced to become the source of the story (disciples stole the body) that the guards and sealing of the tomb were intended to prevent.

A Final Thought. Resurrection faith does not arise on the basis of evidence, of which the chief priests and soldiers had plenty, but on the basis of the experienced presence of the risen Christ (28:8-10, 16-17), by testimony of those to whom he appeared (28:10, 16), and by his own continuing presence among his disciples (28:20). (Boring, 503)

We need to proclaim a radical resurrection faith in the present, not just a historical event.

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