Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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The Gentile Mission

The day goes by quietly thus far. I have been mainly watching the birds at our bird feeder and reading my new book which is titled, "A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology" by J. Richard Middleton.

I found this interesting in the above book by Middleton-

"Plot Level 2: The Gentile Mission

Of course, by the end of the Gospel of Matthew, after Jesus's death and resurrection and when a sufficiently large body of Jewish disciples has been gathered, we find the so-called Great Commission. At that point, the risen Jesus commissions the eleven remaining apostles (representing the larger group of Jesus followers) to go to the gentiles with the message of the gospel:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20)

In the context of the overall biblical story, the Great Commission is best understood as a rearticulation of the Abrahamic calling, the vocation of the people of God to mediate blessing to all the nations of the world. In the New Testament, this vocation is understood as including the proclamation of the gospel, communicating the teachings of Jesus about the nature of the kingdom, and especially what God has done in the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah. The result of this proclamation/teaching is that the band of originally Jewish disciples becomes greatly expanded as gentiles are added to their number.

The story of the gentile mission (level 2 of the story) then takes up much of the book of Acts and is the background of the Pauline and General Epistles, as various churches throughout Asia Minor are addressed with implications of Christian discipleship.

Plot Level 1: The Human Calling Restored

Indeed, the gentile mission is so successful that the New Testament portrays the risen Jesus as the head of the church (Col. 1:18), a multiethnic community of Jew and gentile reconciled to each other and to God and indwelt by God's Spirit (Eph. 2:11-22). Whereas the disciples may be understood as the restored remnant of Israel, the "olive tree" into which gentile believers are grafted (Rom. 11:17-24), the church has become the "new humanity" (Eph. 2:15 [a much better translation "new self"]), which is being renewed in the image of God (Eph. 4:22-24; see also Col. 3:9-10; 2 Cor. 3:18). Thus the church is called to live up to the stature of Christ, whose perfect imaging becomes the model for the life of the redeemed (Phil. 2:5-11); Eph. 4:13). Indeed, the church will one day be conformed to the full likeness of Christ (1 John 3:2), which will include the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:49) and reigning with Christ on earth (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 22:5)-that is, the restoration of their full humanity. . ." pg. 68,69 J. Richard Middleton "A New Heaven and a New Earth"

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