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Verse 18

Matthew 28:18. And Jesus came and spake unto them Even unto those mentioned in the last clause, who at first doubted, but whose doubts were afterward fully removed, and probably by his drawing near, and speaking familiarly with them. “It tended much to the honour of Christ,” says Henry, “that [some of] the disciples doubted before they believed, for, in consequence of this, it cannot be said that they were credulous, and willing to be imposed upon, inasmuch as they first questioned and proved all things, and then embraced and held fast that which they found to be true.” Christ, however, on this occasion, came and spake, not only to them that had doubted, but to all the disciples then assembled, and particularly to the apostles, whom it especially concerned to be fully satisfied of his resurrection, of which they were to be witnesses to mankind, and their knowledge of the truth of which they were to seal with their blood, and to whom the following commission was chiefly given. He therefore did not stand at a distance, but came near and gave them all such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as both turned the wavering scale of such as were slow of heart to believe, making their faith to triumph over their doubts, and gave perfect and lasting confirmation to the faith of the rest, particularly of his chosen witnesses, who certainly from this time never called in question in any degree, either the resurrection of their Lord, or the nature and importance of the commission he now gave them. Saying, All power is given unto me Gr. πασα εξουσια , all authority. It is manifest, as Beza observes, that “authority and power differ from each other; for many are not able to perform those things which they have a right to do; and, on the contrary, many have power to do those things which they have no right to do.” Our Lord’s authority, however, implies power also. It is the exaltation of our Lord’s human nature that is here chiefly intended, in union, however, with the divine. His meaning is fully explained in the following words: Because he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at his name every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess him Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Philippians 2:7-11. God hath raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and given him to be the head over all things to (that is, for the benefit of) the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all, Ephesians 1:20-23. See the notes on these passages, and also on John 5:26-27; and Romans 14:9. The authority and power intended is that which Christ exercises as Son of man and Mediator; but it is evident, if he did not possess all divine perfections, he could not exercise it. Thus Dr. Whitby, “He to whom any office is duly committed, must have sufficient power and wisdom to discharge that office. Now to govern all things in heaven and earth belongs only to him who is the Lord and Maker of them, and therefore is known by this title, both in Scripture and by the heathen. To have power over death, and to be able to raise the dead, is to have that power which is proper to God alone: and to have power over the souls of men, and the knowledge of all hearts, belongs to God alone.” Our Lord, therefore, is invested with, and exercises this authority and power, although as the Son of man, yet not as a mere man, for as such it would have been impossible for him to exercise it, but as a man in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Now Christ being about to send out his apostles as his ambassadors to the nations, with authority to propose to them terms of peace and reconciliation; being about to deliver to them the great charter of his kingdom in the world, and commission them to go forth and gather subjects to him everywhere, and to give laws to and govern those subjects; or to feed and rule his flock; and being about to do these things as Son of man; he first, with great propriety, shows them by what authority he acts, and who gave him that authority. He had indeed said, in effect, more than once before, all he now says, (see Matthew 11:27; John 5:20-29,) namely, that all things were delivered unto him of his Father; that the Father had given him authority to execute judgment; yea, had committed all judgment unto him, that all men should honour him, the Son, even as they honour the Father. But though he had a right to, and was invested with, this power before, even during the whole time of his personal ministry; yet, he was not in a condition to exercise it, nor could he have exercised it with propriety, while he was in his state of humiliation, and bore the form of a servant; as he was to exercise it now, being raised from the dead, clothed with immortality and glory, and immediately to be exalted to the right hand of the throne of the divine Majesty in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1.

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