Matthew 28:9 MEANING

Matthew 28:9
(9) All hail.--Literally, rejoice. The word was probably our Lord's wonted greeting to the company of devout women, and though used in homage, real or derisive, as in Matthew 27:29, John 19:3, had not necessarily the solemnity which modern usage has attached to "hail." It was, we may believe, by that familiar word and tone that the other women at first recognised their Lord, as Mary Magdalene had done by His utterance of her own name.

Held him by the feet.--Better, clasped His feet. Mary Magdalene had, we must remember, already heard the words "Touch Me not" (John 20:17), but, if we suppose her to have rejoined the other women, passionate and rejoicing love carried her, as it carried the others, beyond the limits of reverential obedience.

Worshipped him.--The word does not necessarily imply a new form of homage. The prostration which it indicates had been practised before (Matthew 8:2; Matthew 9:18); though (it is right to add) by many persons not connected with the apostolic company, who came with definite petitions. It was the natural attitude of a suppliant servant before his master (Matthew 18:26). It was, perhaps, not till later that the disciples were led to feel that the attitude was one that was due to God and to the Man Christ Jesus, and to no other of the sons of men (Acts 10:26) or angels (Revelation 22:9). (See Note on Matthew 28:17.)

Verse 9. - As they went to tell his disciples. This clause is omitted by the best manuscripts, and the Vulgate and other versions, and is rejected by modern editors. It is not quite in St. Matthew's style, and seems to be rightly regarded as a gloss There is. one advantage in its omission, in that the actual moment of this appearance of our Lord is left undecided, and we are at liberty to harmonize it, if so minded, with other details. Now the women, according to our history, receive the reward of their faith and love. Behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail! Ξαίρετε: literally, Rejoice ye! This is not the usual Eastern salutation, "Peace be unto you!" but one that came with peculiar significance on their lately sorrow-stricken hearts. So he had said to his apostles, "Your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20), and now he made good his word. This is the only one of Christ's appearances in Jerusalem or its neighbourhood. that St. Matthew relates. They came and held him by the feet (took hold of his feet). As soon as they saw him, they went to him with glad surprise, and yet with such awe, that they could only fall down before him and tenderly clasp his feet. He had appeared before this to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), but had not permitted her to touch him because he had not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17), implying thereby either that she would have other opportunities of holding converse with him, as he was not going to leave the earth immediately, and she must not detain him now; or, more probably, that the spiritual body demanded, not the touch of earthly affection, but the attitude of awe and reverence, and that all future contact would be supernatural and spiritual, realizing his presence after a heavenly and supersensuous manner by faith. But these women clung to Christ with something higher than natural, earthly affection, acknowledging his superhumanity, and he allowed them, like Thomas, to assure themselves of his corporeity by touch as well as sight. Worshipped him. They remained at his feet in profound adoration.

28:9,10 God's gracious visits usually meet us in the way of duty; and to those who use what they have for others' benefit, more shall be given. This interview with Christ was unexpected; but Christ was nigh them, and still is nigh us in the word. The salutation speaks the good-will of Christ to man, even since he entered upon his state of exaltation. It is the will of Christ that his people should be a cheerful, joyful people, and his resurrection furnishes abundant matter for joy. Be not afraid. Christ rose from the dead, to silence his people's fears, and there is enough in that to silence them. The disciples had just before shamefully deserted him in his sufferings; but, to show that he could forgive, and to teach us to do so, he calls them brethren. Notwithstanding his majesty and purity, and our meanness and unworthiness, he still condescends to call believers his brethren.And as they went to tell his disciples,.... This clause is wanting in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, and in Beza's most ancient copy; but it stands in the Ethiopic version, and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel,

behold, Jesus met them: that they might be confirmed in what the angel had told them, and their fear might be removed, and their joy increased; and also be capable of reporting to the disciples not only what they had heard from the angel, but what they had seen themselves; they being now eyewitnesses, as well as earwitnesses of his resurrection: so souls in the way of their duty, as these women were, oftentimes meet with Jesus, and he with them, as they may expect, and indeed not otherwise:

saying, all hail; all health of soul and body, all happiness and prosperity, both temporal, spiritual, and eternal, attend you. The Syriac and Persic versions, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel render it, "peace be to you"; which, it is highly probable, was the phrase used by Christ, since it was the common form of salutation among the Jews, and what Christ made use of at other times; see John 20:19,

and they came; near unto him, being encouraged by the above salutation, and knowing who he was by his voice, habit, and gesture:

and held him by the feet; they threw themselves prostrate at his feet, in token of reverence and humility; and they laid hold on his feet, that they might know, and be assured that he was really risen, and that it was not a spirit, or a mere phantom and appearance; and they held him in affection to him, and as desirous of his continuance with them:

and worshipped him: with divine adoration, expressing their love to him; their faith and hope in him, owning him to be their Lord and God; he being, by his resurrection from the dead, declared to be the Son of God, with power; and so the proper object of religious worship.

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