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.
Need help selecting the appropriate Bible Study Resource?Be sure to check out our BibleFinder to help you find the right resources for your group.