Monday, May 27, 2019

Luther's Notes on the Gospel: Easter Vigil – Jesus' Resurrection

Matt 28:1-10
28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Luther's Notes:

1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 
The first day of the week. The Scriptures begin the day on the previous evening, and the end of the same evening is the morning of the next day. Hence St. Matthew says here, that Christ rose on the morning, which was the end of the evening and the beginning of the first day of the week.

 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

An angel of the Lord descended. From Matthew it can easily be seen that Christ did not arise during the earthquake, but that the earthquake began when the angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the tomb. But Christ passed through the closed tomb, without disturbing the seals that were attached to the door at the entrance, just as he did on the evening of the same day, when he passed through the closed doors of the room where the disciples were assembled. By the earthquake and the appearance of the angel, the soldiers were so frightened, that they fell down like dead men. For the angel had not come to bring joy to them; but there were other people, whom the angel had come to comfort and to cheer.

Since the angels were appointed and sent as the first preachers to proclaim the resurrection of Christ, it is a sure sign that Christ rose from the dead for our welfare.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 

Do not be afraid. This is the first behest, not only to the women, but also to all baptized and believing Christians, who know and believe that Christ is risen, that they shall not fear. By the resurrection of Christ, we comfort ourselves against the devil, death and hell.

 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”


 Go tell His disciples. The other behest is, that they should bring the news to the disciples. But now see who are the disciples. Are they not, indeed, poor sinners, who behaved so badly toward the Lord, and forsook him so shamefully in his greatest distress, especially Peter, who also denied him? Besides, they are now together, and dare not show themselves before the Jews. They have no idea that Christ should live again, and immediately establish his kingdom. Thus we have in this behest the certain indication, that the Lord Christ has arisen for the consolation of these poor, weak-faithed, yea, almost entirely unbelieving ones.

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Fear and great joy. Christ hereby teaches us all how we should make a right use of his resurrection, and rejoice and be of good comfort.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

Go tell my brethren. What a consoling message is this, in which he calls his disciples "brethren." This is not an unusual name among men. But when Christ, who is the Son of God, calls us brethren, then it is above all an excellently high and unspeakable name. This title is so high, that no human heart can understand it. If the Holy Ghost does not grant this grace, no one can truly say, "Christ is my brother." The righteous and pious Christians go about in self-abasement and fear, thinking thus: O, what am I, a miserable, poor creature, that the Son of God should be my brother ?

In the world, one often writes to another, "Dear Brother;" and yet in his heart, he may be his bitterest enemy, for whom he wishes all misfortune; but when Christ calls us brethren, he means what he says in his heart, that he will by all means be our brother, and regard us as brethren, and treat us as brethren. Yet there is this difference, that Christ is in himself the natural and eternal Son of God, but we are his adopted children by faith, and not his children by birth. The word, therefore, by which the Lord calls his disciples "brethren," is the true absolution, whereby he absolves us from all our sins.

What more do we want? Now, if Christ is our brother, I should like to know what more we want? Full brothers are joint partakers of the family possessions, they have one father, one inheritance, else they would not be brothers. Now, what is the inheritance of Christ? It is this of which Paul speaks. (1 Cor. 1:30) "Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption."



Luther's Explanatory Notes on the Gospels, pp. 157-158.

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