Bird argues that Jesus was attempting to achieve and enact the restoration of Israel, and in continuity with other strands of Jewish belief, Jesus conceived of the restoration of Israel as resulting in the salvation of the gentiles.
Jesus' mission was Israel-centric, but he espoused a view of restoration that was indebted to certain strands of Israel's sacred traditions where the gentiles are implicit beneficiaries of Israel's salvation. Since this restoration was already being partially realized in Jesus' ministry, it was becoming possible for gentiles to begin sharing in Israel's salvation in the present.
Additionally, Jesus understood himself and his followers to be the new temple and the vanguard of the restored Israel who would appropriate for themselves the role of Israel and the temple in being a light to the nations. Thus, a gentile mission has its germinal roots in the aims and intentions of Jesus and was developed in a transformed situation by adherents of the early Christian movement.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Bird (Ph.D, University of Queensland, Australia) teaches New Testament and Greek at Highland Theological College in Scotland, UK. He has published in several different academic journals including Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Currents in Biblical Research, Bulletin for Biblical Research, Tyndale Bulletin, Westminster Theological Journal, Trinity Journal, and Evangelical Quarterly.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Introduction: Jesus and the Gentiles
Chapter 2 - "A Light to the Nations": Proselytizing in Second-Temple Judaism
Chapter 3 - "Restore the Kingdom to Israel": Jesus, the Gentiles and the Restoration of Israel
CHAPTER 4 - "NO CRUMBS FOR THE DOGS": NEGATIVE REMARKS ABOUT GENTILES AND RESTRICTIONS OF JESUS' MISSION TO ISRAEL
Chapter 5 - "A Kingdom for the Birds": Sayings Material About Gentiles
Chapter 6 - "I Have Not Found Such Faith in Israel": Narrative Material About Gentiles
Chapter 7 - A Light and a House for All Nations: The Rationale for the Salvation of the Gentiles in Jesus' Mission
Chapter 8 - Conclusion