J.C. Ryle

Matthew 28:1-10The principal subject of these verses (Matthew 28:1-10) is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. It is one of those truths that lie at the very foundation of Christianity and has therefore received special attention in the four gospel accounts. All four evangelists describe minutely how our Lord was crucified. All four relate with no less clearness that He rose again.

We shouldn't wonder that so much importance is attached to our Lord's resurrection. It is the seal and memorial stone of the great work of redemption, which He came to do. It is the crowning proof that He has paid the debt He undertook to pay on our behalf, won the battle He fought to deliver us from hell, and is accepted as our guarantee and our substitute by our Father in heaven. Had He never come forth from the prison of the grave, how could we ever have been sure that our ransom had been fully paid (1 Corinthians 15:17)? Had He never risen from His conflict with the last enemy, how could we have felt confident that He has overcome death - and him that had the power of death, that is the devil (Hebrews 2:14)? But thanks be unto God, we are not left in doubt. The Lord Jesus really "rose again for our justification."

We have reason to be very thankful, that this wonderful truth of our religion is so clearly and fully proved. It is a striking circumstance that of all the facts of out Lord's earthly ministry, none are so incontrovertibly established as the fact that He rose again. The wisdom of God, who knows the unbelief of human nature, has provided a great cloud of witnesses on the subject. Never was there a fact that the friends of God were so slow to believe as the resurrection of Christ. Never was there a fact that the enemies of God were so anxious to disprove. And yet, in spite of the unbelief of professed friends, and the enmity of foes, the fact was thoroughly established. Its evidences will always appear to a fair and impartial mind unanswerable. It would be impossible to prove anything in the world, if we refuse to believe that Jesus rose again.

Adapted from The Gospel of Matthew by J.C. Ryle (Chapter 28).