from WL Worcester (H Blackmer, ed.), 
The Sower.  Helps to the Study of the Bible in Home and Sunday School
(Boston: Massachusetts New-Church Union, n.d.)

Table of Contents


Lesson 39

Matthew 28:  The Risen Lord

The Story


There were faithful women who sat watching on a sad Friday afternoon, when the body of the Lord was taken down from the cross, and wrapped in clean linen and laid in a sepulchre in a rocky hill outside Jerusalem. Who laid the body of the Lord in the sepulchre? What kind of a sepulchre did the women see? What was around it? What kind of a door did it have? What did the priests do to make sure that the stone should not be moved? But the women had gone to prepare ointments with spices, that after the Sabbath rest was past they might come, and anoint the body of the Lord.

Before it was light the first day of the week they were going from the house in Jerusalem where they stayed, carrying the ointments which they had prepared. They were talking sadly as they went, and were asking who would roll away the stone. Now they could see the hill, the garden, the sepulchre. The sun was just rising over the Mount of Olives, and they saw that the stone was rolled away. Were they very glad? Not at first. They were troubled, for they thought someone had taken away the body of their dear Lord. Bright angels were there, and the soldiers who were on guard were afraid; but the women need not be afraid, for they loved the Lord, and so did the angels. "Fear not ye," one of the angels said; "for I know that ye seek Jesus, who was crucified." They told them that the Lord had risen, and showed them the place where He lay, to make them sure that He was not there. As the women began to understand, they were very glad.

There was no need for the ointments, but there was something else for the women to do. They must go back to the city and tell the Lord's disciples. As we read the story you will learn of another glad surprise which was in store for the faithful women.


Can you recite the verses that tell of the women at the sepulchre Easter morning?

When they came to the disciples they could tell them not only that the stone was rolled away and that angels were there and what they said, but that they had seen the Lord and heard His own voice. He had said that the disciples should go into Galilee, and that they would see Him there. He had told them this before. (Matthew. 26:32) But even before that, they would see Him, for He came to them that very Easter Day in Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 36-49; John 20:19-23)

While the women and the disciples were rejoicing that the Lord had risen, the priests were giving the soldiers money to say that He was stolen away while they slept. To go to sleep on guard was punishable by death, but the priests promised to persuade the governor and protect the soldiers. So the false report was told among the Jews.

The apostles went into Galilee. We can think how lonely the paths seemed in which they had so often journeyed with the Lord, and the places which they had so often visited with Him. He had appointed a mountain where He would meet them. Eleven disciples were there, for Judas was not with them now. And it may have been at this same time that more than five hundred of those who had known the Lord saw Him once more. (1 Corinthians 15:6) "They worshiped Him, but some doubted." How slow they were to learn the glad lesson that the Lord was still alive, and was still with them! In that mountain of Galilee He told them of His perfect power now that His work on earth was done, and sent them to teach all nations, and to baptize. The command of the Lord and His promise to be with us, are read when a person is baptized.

It is the grand lesson of Easter Day, that the Lord still lives with us, just as really as He lived with the disciples.

1. Who were the first at the sepulchre Easter morning, the women or the disciples? Who were even before the women?

2. What did the angels say to the women?

3. Where were the women sent? What message were they to tell?

4. Where did the disciples go to meet the Lord? Who were there? What command did the Lord give them there? What promise?

Spiritual Study


"The first day of the week." Was it spiritually as well as naturally the first day of the week, when the women came Easter morning to the sepulchre? Did it mark the beginning of a new state of thought and feeling for the women and the disciples? Can you also understand spiritually other words that describe their coming: "early," "while it was yet dark," "at the rising of the sun"? (A. 2405, 8211; E. 179)

"Rolled back the stone from the door." A stone, spiritually, is an unchanging truth, a fact, or what is believed to be a fact and asserted as a fact. Peter's declaration, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," the Lord said was a rock on which His church would be built. The stone which closed the sepulchre and was sealed by the priests to prevent its being moved, was denial of the Lord and the false belief that He was dead. The Easter angel was the messenger of the glad truth that, the Lord still lived. He dispelled the false belief, and at the same time rolled away the stone. A stone is rolled to the door of the sepulchre when in any natural disappointment there comes disbelief and denial of the Lord's loving presence and care. The stone is rolled away by angel hands when the truth is received of His continued love and care. (E. 400; R. 900)

The guards were afraid of the bright angel, but the angel told the women not to be afraid. How will it be when we come into the other world? Will all people love to be with the angels? Or will the brightness and beauty which are delightful to some be painful to others? (T. 622; H. 548)

"Into Galilee." The Holy Land represents heaven and a heavenly state of life. Judea represents especially heavenly affection and worship, and Galilee the practical working out of heavenly principles in faithful, useful life. That is why the years of the Lord's labor were largely spent in Galilee. When the Lord told the disciples to go into Galilee and promised to meet them there, it meant that we may know the Lord's presence with us more in doing faithfully our daily work, in our daily cares and pleasures, than in exalted states of worship. In any trial the Lord can bring us comfort as we go about our work and try to be faithful and useful for His sake. Notice the assurances of the Lord's presence and of the power of His presence, given at that meeting in Galilee. (E. 447)

The women held the Lord by the feet. The feet represent the plane of natural life in contact with the world. The Lord's feet represent His Divine Human life, so near to men. In prophecy of His coming it was said, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings." (Isaiah 52:7) The women were afraid that the Lord was going away from them, and would not be near to them as He had been. Holding the Lord's feet represents the desire to keep Him with them in the life of this world. It was to prove His presence with them on this natural plane of life that He showed to the disciples His hands and His feet. (R. 49,; E. 513; A. 1729)

The disciples obeyed the Lord's charge (Matthew 28:19), by baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:38) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are elements which must enter into our thought of Him to make it true and complete. We must know that in Him is the infinite source of life and love, the Father; we must remember His Divine Humanity which brings Him so near, the Son; and the Divine influence from Him to us, the Holy Spirit. Our thought of Him is not complete if we omit any one of these. (T. 163)

The great lesson for the disciples to learn on Easter Day, and for us to learn from our study of the story is, that the Lord did not leave the world at His crucifixion and resurrection, but is with us always. "Until the end of the world" means, so long as we keep anything of love and obedience to Him, so long as there is any true church. (R. 750) He did not leave us even in the sense that our friends leave us when they die. They do leave the natural plane of life and are present with us inwardly. The Lord glorified His Human, making it Divine even to His very body, so that He is present with us forever on the plane of natural life. This is meant by His saying to the disciples, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have." It was meant also by His showing them His hands and feet. (L. 35; E. 513)

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