From The Gospel of Matthew by Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, commenting on Matthew 28:16-18:
Placing the final scene in Galilee, Matthew brings the story full circle. This is where it all began, where Jesus grew into manhood (2:22-23), where the first apostles were recruited (4:18-22), and where the message of the kingdom first sounded forth (4:12-17). Readers have anticipated a return to Galilee since the prediction in 26:32 and the instructions given in verses 7 and 10. Galilee, the launching point for the Messiah’s mission to Israel, is now to become the take-off point for a mission to the whole world (v. 19).
The eleven (all but Judas) gather at a mountain specified by Jesus and lay eyes on the Risen One. Instinctively they respond as the women who saw him alive on Easter morning・they bow in worship (see v. 9). In the NAB translation, the eleven give homage and then immediately hesitate because of doubts. Another way to translate the expression but they doubted is “but some doubted” (as in the RSV, NRSV, NIV). This would indicate a divided response among the disciples, with some believing and others holding back, at least initially.
Jesus greets his disciples with a declaration of his sovereign authority. His rising from the dead is also his enthronement over the realms of heaven and earth.
© 2010 Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.