6:44 PM

Matthew 10:5-6 -Steve M

1). Verse 5 presents Jesus as sending his disciples/apostles (the twelve) to preach to "the lost sheep of Israel." This mission comes, it would seem, to neglect Gentiles and Samaritans. Furthermore, Jesus says (verse 23) that these apostles "will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." This, however, appears to contradict the Great Commission of Matt 28:19. One's answer to this dilemma may well dictate the view one has of prophecy--perhaps most importantly the Christian's understanding of and relation to Israel.

2). Luz, pointing out that "the formulation is harshly exclusive," concludes that the disciples are tasked with the mission of Jesus: Jesus has not left Israel--neither will the disciples. But following the resurrection Israel has rejected and the mission has changed (Luz 73-75). Similarly, Hauerwas suggests this shift from Israel to the nations, but does not make the assertion that this shift is based on rejection. Instead, the apostles are sent to Israel (God's promised people) to fulfill prophecy (Hauerwas 106).

3). I think that much may rest upon verse 23, and what it means for the Son of Man to come. If this were to refer to the resurrection then Luz's conclusion that Christ just moved on to the Gentiles would seem rather absurd. Although Hauerwas's article is more concerned with issues of authentic confrontation of the offense that is Christianity--his brief treatment of this issue points to a Church that is intimately connected to Israel, and a Christ inseparable from Israel.
Furthermore, even though this mission is restricted to Israel for the time, Hauerwas points out that the Gentiles who respond are "grafted into God's promise to Israel" (106)--perhaps referring in part to Matt 5-13?

Comment (1)

I like Hauerwas much better than Luz on this. To predicate the mission "to all the nations" in 28:18-20 on rejection by "Israel" seems totally unjustified by anything in Matthew. Remember per what we talked about in precept that in ch. 10 Jesus does not send the apostles to all Israel but only to Israelite communities in the traditional land of Israel. A great number of the people of Israel live in the diaspora.

We also need more than "the fulfillment of prophecy" as the rationale for the restriction of 10:5-6. Why should prophecy be fulfilled? Can the God of Israel be revealed independently of Israel? Is Israel who it is independently of the land God gave it? Does God abandon God's people when they disobey? If God doesn't, what does that tell us about God, about how Jesus will reveal that God as Son, and about what it means to serve that God in the world?

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