Father Juan de Maldonado’s ommentary on Matthew 28:16-20

Mat 28:16  And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

And the eleven disciples. Judas had either hung himself, as is the general opinion, or, having lost all hope of salvation, he had thought of doing so. At least he had not ventured to return to the communion of the Apostles. The prophecy of David (Ps 69:26), as S. Peter explains it (Acts 1:20), must be fulfilled. See on Matt 27:5.

Went into Galilee. Not immediately, but after eight days at least, as S. Augustin proves (De Cons., iii. 25). S. Matthew passes over many circumstances which the other Evangelists mention as having been done by the Apostles during the eight days which they spent at Jerusalem. That this may be understood clearly and in proper order, it will be well to relate at what time and to what persons Christ appeared after His Resurrection.

1. He appeared to His mother. Not that the Evangelists say so, but because it was right that He should have done so.

2. On the second day He appeared to S. Mary Magdalene, either alone, as S. Augustin and most others suppose, or, as has been said above, with the other women who came with her to the tomb (S. John 20:1 2).

3. He appeared, as most think, to all the women who came to the tomb on their return to the city. This happened on the same day.

4. On the same day also He is believed to have appeared to S. Peter, either alone, as S. Leo thinks (Cont. M. Constant., xv.), or, as is probable, to S. John also, when they had returned from the tomb (S. Luke 24:13; 1 Cor 15:3, 4, 5).

5. On the same day again He was seen by the two disciples as they were going to Emmaus (S. Luke 24:13).

6. On the same day, about evening, He appeared to the ten disciples when they were assembled in a house in Jerusalem in the absence of S. Thomas. Hence it follows that He supped with those two disciples at Emmaus, as S. Luke says, and appeared to the ten disciples at Jerusalem; for, like a spirit, He passed over great distances in a moment of time. These six appearances happened on the same day as His Resurrection.

7. After eight days He appeared to the eleven in the presence of S. Thomas at Jerusalem (S. John 20:26). Although S. Jerome thinks, but apparently with little probability, that this appearance took place on the mountain of Galilee mentioned by S. Matthew.

8. He was seen by the seven disciples: Peter, Thomas, the two sons of Zebedee, Nathaniel, and two others, whom the Evangelist does not name, as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee (S. John 21:1, 2). Hence, when S. John says, This was the third time that Jesus was manifested to His disciples (Jn 21:14), he is not to be understood as meaning that Christ had been only seen three times before, for the contrary has been proved above; but, either, as S. Augustin explains (De Cons.,m. 25), the word third is to be understood, not of the number of appearances, as if Christ then appeared for the third time, but to the number of the days on which He appeared. In this manner He appeared the third time. For on the first day of His Resurrection He appeared six times; eight days after He appeared again; now, for the third time, as the disciples were fishing: or perhaps S. John speaks not of any particular appearance, but of a public and general one in which Christ was seen either by all the disciples at once, or by most of them. For although He had appeared to His Mother in private, and to Peter, and to the two disciples as they went to Emmaus, He had not appeared to all or to most of them together, but twice before: first, on the day of His Resurrection, when Thomas was absent; secondly, eight days after, when Thomas was present; thirdly, on this occasion, when the seven disciples were fishing in the sea of Tiberias. For the ninth time He appeared to all the disciples at once on Mount Galilee, as described in this place by S. Matthew. This, in the opinion of S. Chrysostom, was the last appearance before the Ascension. S. Augustin adds, as the tenth, that in which He was seen by the disciples on His ascent into heaven. From 1 Cor 15:6, 7, there appear to have probably been two others. If we add to these that which S. Paul describes, as made to himself after the Ascension, there will be altogether thirteen appearances.

Unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. The Evangelists do not relate that Christ said anything to the women about the mountain; nor does it appear whether He appointed this to them or to the Apostles. It is clear, however, from this passage that He spoke on some occasion about it; either, as Euthymius thinks, before His death, when He said to them, After I shall be risen again I will go before you into Galilee (Matt 26:32), or after the Resurrection, when, in the opinion of others, He appeared to the disciples at Jerusalem. It may easily be conjectured why He directed the disciples to go to the mountain. He desired to speak to them freely and with out judges, and whenever He did this He led them into a mountain apart, as in Matt 14:23; 15:29; 17:1; as Euthymius has shown. What mountain it was is a matter of uncertainty. It must, however, have been one somewhere near the Sea of Tiberias. For the disciples went from the mountain where they were to the sea, as a place close at hand to fish (S. John 21:2). Thus the opinion of those who think that this was the mountain from which Christ was afterwards taken up into heaven cannot possibly be correct; for this, S. Matthew says, was in Galilee, but that of the Ascension was a mile, or, as some say, two miles, from Jerusalem, as is also shown from Acts 1:12. Others think that it was the mountain on which Christ was transfigured, and which they called Tabor. On this, vid. Matt 17:2.

Mat 28:17  And seeing him they adored: but some doubted.

And seeing Him they adored. To their inward belief they added external adoration, confessing Him to be not only Christ, but also true God; as they could now no longer doubt of His Resurrection. The Evangelist opposes adoration to doubt, adding immediately, But some doubted. On these words it has been asked how the disciples could doubt after so many and plain appearances. Some say that the doubters were none of the eleven disciples, but some of the others who also had that name; for these had not seen Christ after His Resurrection. Theophylact is of this opinion. Others think that the words were spoken of the Apostles themselves; not that they both worshipped and doubted, at the same time and in the same place, but that they who now worshipped on the mountain had doubted before in Jerusalem. Theophylact mentions this opinion with approbation. It is, however, unquestionable that the Evangelist meant not only to distinguish between times and places, but persons also, and to say that some believed and worshipped, but that others doubted. It is evident that all did not doubt. S. Matthew is not therefore to be understood as meaning that the same persons both doubted and worshipped.

Others are of opinion that some of the Apostles, as soon as they saw Christ on the mountain, fell at His feet in adoration; while others hesitated and delayed, not as doubting of His Resurrection and Divinity, but whether He whom they then saw, and whom they had often seen in others places since His Resurrection, were Christ. So S. Chrysostom (Horn. xci. on S. Matt.), S. Greg. Nyss. (Orat. ii. de Resurr.), Juvencus, and Euthymius.

Others say that the words apply, not to this vision on the mountain in Galilee, but to that at Jerusalem when S. Thomas doubted, and when the other disciples thought that they had seen a spirit (S. Luke 24:37; 5. John 20:25, 27); for S. Matthew, for the sake of brevity, compressed all the visions into one, and only mentioned what was notable in each. But it had happened that some disciples, and especially S. Thomas, had doubted. S. Matthew said, therefore, But some doubted, not, that is, at the mountain, but previously at Jerusalem. It will be said that not only S. Thomas at Jerusalem, but almost all the other disciples doubted, and thought Christ a spirit (S. Luke 24:37). It has been urged, and with probability, by those who take this view, that S. Luke said generally that the disciples thought that they saw a spirit. Not that they all thought so, but that some did; as S. Matthew (27:44) relates that the thieves on the cross reviled Christ, when only one did so. This opinion seems probable, and it finds favour with Bede and Theophylact also.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

AndJesus coming. Some think that this did not happen now, but on the last occasion of Christ s showing Himself to His disciples, when He ascended into heaven. This appears very probable. For S. John (21:15 and following) relates many things that have been passed over by the other Evangelists, and which happened after the appearance at the mountain in Galilee before this and before the events now described by S. Matthew took place. Such are Christ’s asking Peter thrice if he loved Him, and giving him the charge to feed His sheep: His signifying by what death He should die: Peter’s question about John, Lord, and what shall this man do? (Jn 21:21), and Christ’s answer (verse 23), all which, Deo adjuvante, shall be explained in the Commentary on S. John.

All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Before Christ gave the Apostles the power of preaching the Gospel, He said that all power was given to Him in heaven and on earth. His object was to show that He assumed nothing arbitrarily to Himself; that He gave nothing to them which He did not possess Himself; and, as is proverbially said, He showed them His letters patent, by which it is seen by what authority He made them Apostles, and bestowed such powers upon them.

It may seem strange that He should say, All power is given to Me, when He has all power, ipse per se. The followers of Arius did not overlook this. They brought the above with other passages of Scripture against the Divinity of Christ; saying that He could not be God in whom power was not innate, but on whom it was conferred (S. Athanasius, Deus ex Deo; and S. Cyril, ii. 73, On S. John). Those ancient Fathers answered in two ways:

1. That Christ said this, because when He was made man, He received that power with the human nature, that He might share it with us. He implies therefore that it was given to Him, not so much for Himself, as for us. So reasons S. Athanasius.

2. He received that power indeed as man, which as God He had by nature (S. Gregory of Nyssa, S. Cyril of Alexandria). They could allow without difficulty that as He was God He had received from the Father all power, as well as the divine nature, by eternal generation, as in 5. Luke 10:22. This is true, but perhaps hardly sufficient. For Christ speaks here not of any kind of power whatever, but of that which He gave to the Apostles; that is, the power of gaining and recruiting His spiritual kingdom, to which end He sent His Apostles. He speaks as if before His Resurrection He had it not, as S. Athanasius observes in another place. For He said, as if of a new matter, All power is given to Me. He did not speak of that power which He had as God, nor of that which He had as man, but of that which He had as the Redeemer of mankind, and which He had gained through His Death and Resurrection. For as He had redeemed all men by His blood, He had the right to gather them all into His kingdom, and to make them, as it were, His subjects. It is of this power that the Father speaks (Ps 2:8; 110:1; Isa 49:6, 8, 9). He speaks of it Himself in Dan 7:13, 14; and through S. John 16:33. This is the power which He says was given to Him by His Death and Resurrection, because He merited it Philippians 2:9). By this power He sent His Apostles to extend the boundaries of His kingdom; as Vigilius seems rightly to explain against Eutyches (lib. v.). The words in heaven and earth were uttered by Him that He might declare Himself to have, as S. Paul says, the power of ruling everywhere. One part of this kingdom of His, that which is in heaven, was long since wholly gained and pacified. The other, that on earth, has yet to be fully acquired by spiritual warfare. To this office the Apostles were sent by Him.

Mat 28:19  Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Going. Christ means going into the whole earth, as He had said, All power, &c. He Himself ascended into heaven, that is, that part of His kingdom which was now at length pacified, that He might sit on His throne on the right hand of His Father. He sent the Apostles into the other part of it that is, into all the earth to recall all men to Himself. S. Mark 16:15 describes this more fully: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. Christ opposes the whole world to the boundary line of the Jews, by which He had previously limited the embassage of the Apostles (Matt 10:5). As He was then, by hereditary right as it were, king of the Jews, He sent His Apostles to them alone. Now, by His Death and Resurrection, He had gained the power of ruling over all men, and thus He sends the Apostles into the whole world, declaring that by His Death the wall which had kept the kingdom of the Jews inclosed on all sides, within their own bounds, was broken down, as is said by S. Paul (Ephes 2:14), and that the limits of His kingdom were therefore to be extended farther; nor were there to be any other bounds to that kingdom-that is, the Church than those of the entire world (Ps 72:8). God was known before in Judaea alone, now He was to be known everywhere (Ps 18:44, 45; Isa 64:1; Hosea 2:23; Rom 9:25). “As, therefore, you are sent by Me, to whom is given all power in heaven and earth, and that power is communicated from Me to you” for this is the force of the word therefore– “teach not human wisdom, for nothing is more adverse to My kingdom (1 Cor 3:19), but divine, which is foolishness to men. Teach My cross” (1 Cor 1:23). Christ showed them what to teach (S. Mark 16:15).

These words were perverted, not only by the modern Anabaptists, but also by some Fathers of old, as Tertullian (De Bapt.) and Nicetas in his commentary on S. Gregory Nazianzen (Oration on Holy Baptism), to prove that Baptism ought not to be given to infants except when in peril of death, because Christ commanded that those who were to be baptised should first be taught, and this cannot be done to infants. They do not see that Christ does not forbid those who cannot be taught to be baptised, but that He only commands all who have been taught before to be baptised. That they who are not yet capable of learning, if we wish them to be saved, ought to be baptised, He has taught elsewhere (S. John 3:5). Hence Calvin and his followers, who hold that this passage applies not to the Sacrament of Baptism but to the regeneration of faith, have no sufficient evidence from Scripture of the necessity of infant baptism.

Baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. To the doctrine of Baptism Christ unites the Sacrament, not, as Calvin teaches, as the sign of grace already received, but as the sign and profession of doctrine and faith. Thus among the Greeks, βαπτιζοντες means to dip into water, to wash, to blot out, and, as Tertullian renders it, to sprinkle. Thus the matter of the Sacrament is explained by the meaning of the word; that baptism should be performed by water, as Christ Himself more forcibly expresses it in S. John 3:5. It is evident that the Apostles never baptised with anything but water, and there was much contention between the disciples of Christ and John, because the disciples of Christ, like those of John, baptised with water (S. John 3:26). It was also decided by S. Philip in the case of the eunuch of Queen Candace, that those who believe in Christ should be baptised with water (Acts 8:36, and 10:46, 47). The same thing was done in figure, as shown in 1 Cor 10:2; 1 Peter 3:31. As in the flood, eight persons were saved by water, so now baptism of like form saves many. Thus it is concluded that as the sea and the flood consisted of water, so baptism ought to be performed by the same matter, and thus the heresy of Seleucus and Hermias is confuted. S. Augustin (De Hæresibus, lxix.) says, “They said that baptism should be without water, because when the baptism of John is compared with that of Christ, the former is said to be performed with water, the latter with the Holy Ghost and with fire (S. Matt 3:11; S. Mark 1:8; S. Luke 3:16; S. John 1:26, 33; Acts 11:16). But when the baptism of Christ and John are thus compared, the meaning is not that Christ would not baptise with water: but not, like John, with water only. Beside water, which is given outwardly, He would pour out the Holy Ghost, which is shed inwardly; as was shown by the descent of the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, as explained by S. John Damascus (iv. 10, De Fid. Orthod.).

The form of baptism is also prescribed in these words. For although it may not be demonstrable from this passage to a curious enquirer that the form which we now use ought to be that of baptism, I baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, yet the tradition of the Church approves it. That the Church has always thus baptised is shown by the fact that whoever uses any other form is condemned and excommunicated. The forty-ninth of the Canons of the Apostles excommunicates all bishops and priests who baptise otherwise than in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. By this rule the Marcionites are condemned by S. Irenreus (lib. i.) and by S. Epiphanius (Hær. xxxiv.) as not administering true baptism, because they did not use this form. So the baptism of the Paulianists was rejected by the Council of Nice (Can. xix.), 6th Council of Carthage (Can. xix.), and by S. Innocent I. (Ep. xxii. 5). Thus all subtleties by which the force of the words may be eluded are done away: as, if it were said that the meaning is not, Baptising them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is, by invocating or appealing to the name, but doing so by the authority of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; although we find in many places that baptism was administered in the name of Christ, this was not that he who baptised said, “I baptise thee in the name of Christ,” but that he did so by His authority, as shall be shown hereafter. Especially if it be maintained that it does not follow from the above words that the baptiser ought to say, “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” for Christ does not say this; but that it is enough to pour water and say, “In the name of Father, Son, Holy Ghost.” Or lastly, if it be asserted that the words may be taken disjunctively and the meaning be, “Baptising in the name of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost,” which the facts of the case seem to sanction; for many of great authority say that the Apostles often baptised in the name of Christ alone. All these astute glosses the one tradition of the Church, that best interpreter of Holy Scripture, does away altogether. For the question is not how the words may be taken, but how they ought to be taken. They ought to be taken in the sense in which Christ spoke them, and not in that in which everyone may form for himself. The meaning of Christ, as appears from the use and tradition of the Church, was that when the Apostles baptised, they should say, “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” or in words that mean the same thing. How it was that they sometimes baptised in the name of Christ alone, as in Acts 2:38, shall be explained elsewhere.

It may be properly asked, why Christ willed Baptism to be administered in this form? Many reasons may be given.

1. To show whence Baptism has its power, namely (1), from the Father who sent His Son to die for men. (2) From the Son who instituted the Sacrament, and by His own blood moistened it as it were, and made it fruitful and efficacious. (3) From the Holy Ghost, who, as water washes the body outwardly, so Himself washes the soul inwardly, sanctifying it.

2. That those who are baptised may not suppose that they have received a merely human gift, and so should divide not only men, as they did who said, I am of Paul and I am of Apollo (1 Cor 1:12), but even God Himself as it were, saying, “I am of the Son, I am of the Holy Ghost,” as if they were baptised in the name of one Person only.

3. As Fulgentius says (De fid. Orthod. ad Donat.), “that men may know that they have the same Author of their regeneration as of their natural birth, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”. The meaning, then, is that the Apostles should testify that they baptised not in their own names, but in that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that what they did was done, not in their own persons, but in the person of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; lest it be considered their own baptism, and not the Baptism of God; as S. Augustin says, in passages without number, of the baptism of John, that it was so called as being done in his own name and person, although by the command and inspiration of God, but not in the person of God; and therefore that the words of baptism, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are not only to be referred to the word baptising, but also to those who baptise.

From these words also the ancient Fathers rightly proved the mystery of the Holy Trinity. By them they answered the Sabellians, who perverted them to prove that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were one only Person, be cause Christ did not say, “Baptise in the names,” but in the name. S. Basil refutes them (Ep. lxiv.), concluding from the same words that, on the contrary, they were three Persons and one Nature, because while the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are mentioned as three distinct Persons, there is only one name of God, and one authorship among them.

From the same words, others have proved the divinity and equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, against Arius and the Arians; for we are not baptised in the name of any creature. So S. Athanasius (Sermo, iii. contra. Arian.; Orat. de Ætern.; Subst. F. et SS. cont. Sabell.; and Orat. on S. Luke x. 22, Disput. conc. Ar. in conc. Nicæn. Ep. ad Serap. Profess, reg. Cathol.], S. Hilary (De Trin., ii.), S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. Coram cl. Episcop. de Theolog.), S. Ambrose (De Sptu. Sto., i. 14), Didymus (De Sptu. Sto., ii.), Theodoret (Hær. Fab. v. de Sptu. Sto) Fulgentius (Cont. Arian. and De fid. OrtJwd., and De Incarnat. et Grat., ix.).

S. Marks adds to the above words, He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In My name they shall cast out devils, &c., showing the universal effect of baptism. For not only faith, but also baptism saves us, as S. Peter says (1 Pet 3:21). His words refer not only to those who believe, but also to all who are baptised. For they who believed could not perform such miracles as these before they were baptised. Of this there is a notable example in the Book of Acts (Acts 19:6). It is not, however, to be understood that all who were baptised could perform these miracles, but, because many would do them, and not only in their own name, but also in the name and to the good of others, Christ, that both their own faith and the faith of others might be strengthened, said generally, These signs shall follow: not that they would do so in every case, but because it would be necessary for the confirmation of the faith. As if Christ had said, “The faith of those who believe shall be confirmed by miracles”. This shall be explained more fully on S. Mark.

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. After faith and baptism, Christ enjoins the observance of His laws, showing that neither faith nor baptism are sufficient for our salvation unless we keep the laws of God; as Theophylact has observed (in loc.).

And behold I am with you. Christ sent the Apostles to teach, as if to a warfare with the entire world. It was to be feared that they might despond under the weight of so great a work and the prevision of future dangers, Christ bids them be strong of heart, and, that they might stand firmly against all dangers, He promised to be with them, and that not too late but in good season. The two words Behold and I have this force. The former alludes to the present opportune time, as if it were said, “As soon as need arises I will be unexpectedly with you”; and as the proverb says, “Deus ex machina”. The word I refers to Him who is able to deliver from all dangers. As if the general should say to a soldier in battle, “Be brave and firm, I am here, and am bringing you assistance”: as in S. John 16:33 Christ said to the disciples, Have confidence, I have overcome the world. “I am with you, who have overcome that world against which you will have to contend. I am with you, in whom the prince of this world has nothing” (see S. John 14:30). “I am with you, whose Father has promised to put all My enemies
under My feet as My footstool” (Ps 110:2).

The opinions of the Ancients on the meaning of this passage differ greatly. Some think that Christ spoke not of His human but of His divine nature, which is every where present. Such is the opinion of S. Augustin (Tract lx. on S. John), Fulgentius (iii., Cont. Thrasymund., and Lib. de Incarn. et Grat., ix.). But it is clear that Christ promised something less general to the Apostles. He promised to be with them in another sense than that in which He is present with other things and other men.

Others think that He spoke of His Divine Providence, by which God is said to be present to men rather than to inanimate objects, and among men to the just rather than to the unjust; and that, even if He should depart, He would still be with them, because He would send His Holy Spirit in His place to teach them all truth, and direct and govern them as He had promised (S. John 14:18). Thus S. Cyril of Alexandria (De Trinit., vii.), Salvian (ii., De Judic. et Provident. Dei], and S. Leo (Ep. li., xcii.) explain these words. This is all true; but the question is not merely what is true, but what is best adapted to the meaning of the passage. It is to be admitted that Christ, as He is God, is everywhere present, but he here promises another kind of presence to the Apostles. Christ, after He had sent His Holy Spirit, rules His Church even to the end of the world. I do not deny that this is to be concluded from the present passage, as the authors mentioned above rightly say, but the question is not what may be gathered from what He said, but what He intended to say. S. Chrysostom (Hom, xci. on S. Matt.), S. Jerome (Ep. to Damasus) Prosper (lib. ii., De Vocat. Gent.) Bede, and Euthymius appear to have explained the passage most admirably, in saying that Christ speaks not only of His divine but also of His human presence. Not that as man He would be present with the Apostles in His body, but He calls His grace and assistance “His presence”. He was about to give them this, not only as He was God, but also as He was man. For it is said that He would be present with them, because He would be their helper in all things; as God is said to have been with Joseph in the pit, because He brought him help in prison (Wisd 10:13; Acts 7:9; Ps 34:20); and in 2 Tim 3:11, where S. Paul says that God delivered him out of all his persecutions; and as Christ was with S. Stephen when he was stoned, when S. Stephen himself saw Him standing in heaven, and stretching out His hand, as it were, to help him (Acts 7:56); and as God said to the Prophet Jeremias when he refused the work appointed (Jer 1:8), Be not afraid at their presence, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord; and to Ezekiel 3:8, 9, I have made thy face stronger than their faces, and thy forehead harder than their foreheads. I have made thy face like an adamant and like flint; fear them not, neither be thou dismayed at their presence ; for they are a provoking house; and as Prosper says (chap, ii., De Vocat. Gent.) “When you enter like sheep in the midst of wolves, fear not for your infirmity, but trust in My strength, who will be with you in every work of yours to the end of the world: not that you may suffer nothing, but, what is much more, to insure you from being overcome by any cruelty of the oppressors. In My power you shall preach, and by Me it shall be that among the enemy and persecutor sons shall be raised up of these stones to Abraham. I will bring to pass what I have taught. I will do what I have promised.”  Lastly, as, when Christ sent the Apostles to preach the Gospel to the Jews, He promised them His presence and the help of His Holy Spirit (Matt 10:19, 20), so now He promises His aid and presence to those who are sent to teach all nations.

Even to the consummation of the world. Christ shows that He speaks not with the Apostles alone, but with all who should come into their place, and who, He also signifies, shall be Apostles. For the eleven, with whom He spoke, would not live to the end of the world, as S. Augustin (De Genes, ad litt., vi. 8) and Theophylact (in loc.) say. This is preferable to S. Jerome’s idea. He thinks the meaning of the words to be, that the Apostles would live even to the end of the world, because, though dead in the body, they would always live in the soul. But Christ did not promise to be with them in heaven, where there is no such need of His promise, but on earth, in the dust, in the arena, in the conflict. S. Jerome (Against Helvidius) and S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. iv. de Theolog.) have rightly pointed out that the words even to do not exclude the time after the end of the world, as if Christ meant that after that period He would not be with them.  That only is asserted which is doubtful. It was not doubtful that after the end of the world Christ would be with the Apostles in His kingdom; but it may be doubtful whether He will be with them in conflict, as in Ps 110:1 the Father says to the Son, Sit thou at My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstood. This does not mean that after His enemies were subdued He should not sit on the right hand of the Father; nay, He will in a manner sit there the more, for His glory and majesty will be the more displayed. But even if the explanation we have cited be admitted, nothing wrong would follow if we say that the words even to (usque) do exclude the time that comes after. For in the manner in which Christ said that He would be with the Apostles even to the end of the world: that is, by aiding them in their conflicts: because there will be no warfare then, but they will reign, He will not be with them. But He will be with them in another manner, for they will eat and drink with Him in His kingdom (S. Luke 22:30).

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One Response to Father Juan de Maldonado’s ommentary on Matthew 28:16-20

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord | stjoeofoblog

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