Eddie and Sue Arthur

Implications of the “Great Commission”

I was quite struck by this quote:

To summarize: Jesus’ commission to go to “all nations” rescinds the restriction of missionary work to Israel (Mt 10:5) without excluding Israel (i.e., the Jewish people) from the mission of the disciples. This means that Israel is absorbed into the world of the nations – a relativizing of the preeminent status that Israel had enjoyed as the one and only people of God. This quite likely was shocking. Israel had fulfilled its salvation-historical role with the conclusion of the salvific work of Jesus the Messiah in his death on the cross, his resurrection and his exaltation to the right had of God. Israel will enjoy the fruit of this work as ‘primus inter pares’ (cf. Rom 1:16).

From Early Christian Mission Vol 1: Jesus and the Twelve. by Eckhard Schnabel p. 368

It strikes me that for some people, this is likely to be just as shocking today as it would have been to the Jews of Matthew’s time.

I would point out the first two words of the quote “to summarize”. This is the culmination of several pages of densely argued exegesis, which would not have been suitable for a blog post. If you don’t like the conclusions, please buy the book and get to grips with the full argument.

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