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Graves or sepulchres were most commonly made among the Jews in solid rocks, or in cases of rocks. The rending of the rocks, therefore, would lay them open. • And many bodies of ihe saints arose. Of course it is not known who these were, nor what became of them. It is probable that they were persons who had recently died, and they appear to have been known in Jerusalem. 'Which slept.' Which had died. The death of saints is often called sleep, Dan. xii. 2. 1 Cor. xv. 18. 1 Thess. iv. 15.
5.3 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto miany
There is nothing said of the reason why they were raised. It is not improbable to suppose that it was, amidst the other woniders attending the death of Jesus, to convince the Jews that te was the Messiah. What became of them after they entered into the city is not revealed, and conjeciure is vain. The holy city.' Jerusalem, called holy because the temple was there; because it was devoted to God; and the place of their religious solemnities.
54 Now when the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Centurion.' A captain of a hundred soldiers. He was here placed over the band that attended the crucifixion. "They feared greatly.' They regarded these things as proofs that God was angry, and they were terrified at the prospect that vengeance was coming on them. “Truly this was the Son of God.' They had heard, probably, that before Pilate he professed to be the Son of God, and seeing these wonders, they believed that it was true, and that God was now attesting the truth of his professions. The centurion was a heathen, and had probably no very distinct notions of the phrase 'the Son of God ;'* but he certainly regarded these wonders as proof that he was what he professed to be. Mark, xv. 39, says, that they affirmed that this man was the Son of God.' Like, xxiii. 47, that they said, ' certainly this was a righteous man. These things were said by different persons, or at different periods of his sufferings, one evangelist having recorded one saying, and another another.
55 And many women were there, beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him :
Beholding afar off.'. They were probably part of the time not sufitered to come near the cross, because it was surrounded by soldiers. 'Ministering unto him.' Attending him, and providing for his wants. While nen forsook him in his trying moments, i: does not appear that any of his female followers were thus uu. faithful. In the midst of all his trials, ard all the contempt poured upon him, they adhered to their Redeemer. Never did female constancy shine more brightly, and never was a happier example set for all who should afterwards believe on him.
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
‘Mary Magdalene.' Mary of Magdala. She had peculiar cause of attachment to the Saviour, naving been relieved by him of a most dreadful calamity, and restored to her right mind, after being possessed by seven devils, Mark xvi. 9. And the mother of Zebedee's children.' That is, of James and John, Matt. x. 2. Her name was Salome, Mark xv. 40.
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple :
*When the even was come.' That is, some time after three o'clock in the afternoon. See notes on John xix. 31–37. 'A rich man of Arimathea.' There were several cities of this name in Judea. Luke says that this was a city of the Jews, and it is probable, therefore, that it was in the tribe of Benjamin, and but a short distance from Jerusalem. This man sustained a high character. He was an honourable counsellor, Mark xv. 43, he waited for the kingdom of God;' was anxiously desirous of the appearance of the Messiah; he was a good man and a just;' he had nobly set himself against the wicked purposes of the sannedrim, Luke xxiii. 51; he was a disciple of Jesus, though he was not openly his follower, because he feared the Jews, John xix. 38.
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
'He went to Pilate. Because no one had a right to remove the body but the magistrate.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
• He wrapped it in a ciean linen cloth. John adds, that this was done with spices, xix. 40. The Jews were accustomed to use myrrh, aloes, and other aromatics, in large quantities, when they buried their dead. When they were not regularly embalmed, which was a long and tedious process, they inclosed the spices in the folds of the linen, or wrapped the body in it, 2 Chron. xvi. 14. There not being time properly to embalm the body of Jesus, ne was buried in this manner.
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
In his own new tomb.' John says, xix. 41, that this was in a garden that was in or near the place where he was crucified. This tomb Joseph had prepared for himself, as was not uncommon among the Jews. In this tomb Luke and John inform us that no man had been laid. This was so ordered, in the providence of God, doubtless, that there might be no suspicion about his identity when he rose; that i: inight not be allegea that another person had risen; or that he was raised by touching the bones of some prophet, as happened to the corpse that touched the bones of Elisha, 2 Kings xiii. 21. Further, by being buried here, an important prophecy was remarkably fulfilled Isa. liii. 9. He made his grave—with the rich in his death. Which he had hewn out in the rock.' This was a common way of constructing tombs in Judea. See note, Matt. viii. 28. Being cut out of a rock, there was no way by which the disciples could have access to it but by the entrance, at which the guard was placed, and consequently it was impossible for them to steal him away.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchra. 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and pharisees together unto Pilate,
The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the sabbath at that time commenced. The next day mentioned here does not mean the following day in our acceptation of the word, or the following morning, but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking; that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sunset. To suppose them to have waited till the next morning, would be absurd; as the disciples would be as likely to steal him away the first night as the second.
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
We remember.' They had either heard him say this, or more probably, had understood that that was one of his doctrines. That deceiver.' One of the charges against him was, that he deceived the people. By this title they still chose to designate him, thinking that his death had fully confirmed the truth of the charges against him.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come boy night and steal him away, and say unto the people,
He is risen from the dead: so the last error sliaal be worse than the first.
* Until the third day.' That is, during two nights and the intervening day. This proves that when the Jews spoke of three days, they did not of necessity mean three whole days, but parts of three days, as was the case in our Saviour's lying in the grave. • The last error shall be worse than the first.' That is, the last deception, or taking him
from the tomb, pretending that he rose, shall have a wider influence among the people than the first, or his pretending to be the Messiah.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as you can.
' Ye have a watch.' The Jews had a guard or watch of Ronian soldiers, who kept watch in the tower of Antonia, at the north of the temple.
66 So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
• Sealing the stone.' The sepulchre was made sure, by affixing the large stone to the entrance in such a way that it could not be removed without detection. It was sealed. The cave in which Daniel was cast was fastened in the same manner, and sealed with the king's signet, Dan. 17. Possibly on the sepulchre of Jesus was impressed the seal of Pilate-the seal of oflice-making it doubly sure, Setting a watch.' That is, as large a number of soldiers as they judged necessary to secure the tomb.
Had all this been done by his friends, it might have been said that they only pretended to secure the tomb, and only pretended that he was dead. But he was adjudged to be dead by the Jews themselves : Pilate was satisfied that this was the fact; they had their own way about his burial; he was buried alone; the place of his sepulchre was made sure-expressly to prevent his being removed ; and they placed around him a guard, to prevent his being taken away by force or strength. His very eneinies, theresore, took every possibie precaution to place his resurrection beyond the possibility of suspicion of fraud and imposture, and were the very means of furnishing the inost striking proof that his death, burial, and resurrection, were real.
CHAPTER XXVIII. I IN the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn to ward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene und the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
'In the end of the sabbath ;' that is, after the sabbath was fully
completed, or finished. “As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week. The word properly means, as the first day approached or drew on, without specifying the precise time. Mark says, xvi. 1, 2, that it was after the sabbath was past, and very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun; that is, as it was about to rise, or at the early break of day. Luke says, xxiv. 1, that it was very early; in the Greek, deep twilight, or when there was scarcely any light. John, xx. 1, says, it was very early, while it was yet dark. That is, it was not yet full daylight, or the sun had not risen. The time when they came, therefore, was at the break of day, when the sun was about to rise, but while it was yet so dark as to render objects obscure, or not distinctly visible. • The first day of the week.' The day which is observed by christians as the sabbath. The Jews observed the seventh day of the week, or our Saturday. During that day our Saviour was in the grave. As he rose on the morning of the first day, it has always been observed, in commemoration of so glorious an event. Came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary.' From Mary Magdalene Christ had cast out seven devils. Grateful for his great mercy, she was one of his firmest and most faithful followers, and was first at the sepulchre, and was first permitted to see her risen Lord. The other Mary was the moiher of James and Joses. (Mark.) Mark says that Salome attended them. Salome was ihe wife of Zebedee, and the mother of James and John. From Luke xxiv. 10, it appears that Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, see Luke viii. 3, was with them. These four women, Mark says, having bought sweet spices, came to anoint him. They had prepared spices and ointments on the evening before the sabbath, Luke xxiii. 56. They had now completed their preparation and had probably provided more. John mentions only Mary Magdalene. He does this probably because his object was to give a particular account of her interview with the risen Saviour. • To see the sepulchre.' To see whether it was as it was left on the evening when he was laid there: to see if the stone was still there, by which they would know that he had not been removed. Mark and Luke say that the design of their coming was to anoint him with the sweet spices which they sad prepared, and complete the work of embalm.ing.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat
• There was a great earthquake.' Rather there had been. It does not mean that this was while they were there, or while they were going, but that there had been so violent a commotion as to remove the stone. . And sat upon it.' Sat upon it when the keepers saw him.