Sabbath: Lit., “Sabbaths.” In this verse, the plural form of the Greek word sabʹba·ton occurs twice. In the first instance, it refers to a single Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week, and it is rendered “the Sabbath.” In the second instance, where it refers to a period of seven days, it is rendered of the week. The Sabbath day (Nisan 15) ended at sunset. Although some have understood Matthew’s account to refer to a time at dusk “after the Sabbath,” the other Gospel accounts clearly show that the women came to view the grave “early” in the morning on Nisan 16, “when the sun had risen.”—Mr 16:1, 2; Lu 24:1; Joh 20:1; see also Glossary and App. B12.
the first day of the week: That is, Nisan 16. For the Jews, the day immediately after the Sabbath was the first day of the week.
tell his disciples that he was raised up: These women are not only the first disciples to be told of Jesus’ resurrection but also the ones instructed to inform the other disciples. (Mt 28:2, 5, 7) According to unscriptural Jewish tradition, a woman’s testimony was not permissible in a court of law. By contrast, Jehovah’s angel dignifies the women by giving them this joyful assignment.
look!: See study note on Mt 1:20.
elders: See study note on Mt 16:21.
this: That is, their lie about having been asleep. Roman soldiers could be put to death if they fell asleep at their post.
the governor’s: The governor here referred to is Pontius Pilate.
to meet: Apparently more than 500 attend this meeting in Galilee.—1Co 15:6.
some doubted: In the light of 1Co 15:6, it is likely that those who doubted were not among the apostles; rather, they were disciples in Galilee to whom Jesus had not yet appeared.
make disciples: The Greek verb ma·the·teuʹo can be rendered “teach” with the intent of making pupils or disciples. (Compare usage at Mt 13:52, where it is rendered “taught.”) The verbs “baptizing” and “teaching” show what is involved in the command to “make disciples.”
people of all the nations: A literal translation reads “all nations,” but the context indicates that this term refers to individuals out of all nations, since the Greek pronoun “them” in the expression baptizing them is in the masculine gender and refers to people, not to “nations,” which is neuter in Greek. This command to reach “people of all the nations” was new. Prior to Jesus’ ministry, the Scriptures indicate that Gentiles were welcomed to Israel if they came to serve Jehovah. (1Ki 8:41-43) With this command, however, Jesus commissions his disciples to extend the preaching work to people other than natural Jews, emphasizing the worldwide scope of the Christian disciple-making work.—Mt 10:1, 5-7; Re 7:9; see study note on Mt 24:14.
in the name of: The Greek term for “name” (oʹno·ma) can refer to more than a personal name. In this context, it involves recognition of authority and position of the Father and the Son as well as the role of the holy spirit. Such recognition results in a new relationship with God.—Compare study note on Mt 10:41.
the Father . . . the Son . . . the holy spirit: Recognition of the Father, Jehovah God, is natural, since he is our Creator and Life-Giver. (Ps 36:7, 9; Re 4:11) However, the Bible also shows that no human can gain salvation without recognizing the role of the Son in God’s purpose. (Joh 14:6; Ac 4:12) It is also vital to recognize the role of God’s holy spirit because, among other things, God uses his active force to give life (Job 33:4), to inspire his message to humans (2Pe 1:21), and to empower them to do his will (Ro 15:19). Although some believe that this enumeration supports the Trinity doctrine, the Bible never indicates that the three are equal in eternity, power, and position. That they are mentioned together in the same verse does not prove that they share divinity, eternity, and equality.—Mr 13:32; Col 1:15; 1Ti 5:21.
teaching them: The Greek word rendered “to teach” involves instruction, explanation, showing things by argument, and offering proofs. (See study notes on Mt 3:1; 4:23.) Teaching them to observe all the things that Jesus had commanded would be an ongoing process, which would include teaching what he taught, applying his teaching, and following his example.—Joh 13:17; Eph 4:21; 1Pe 2:21.
look!: See study note on Mt 1:20.
system of things: Or “age.”—See Glossary, “System(s) of things.”