Jesus and the Nations: Discipleship and Mission in the Gospel of Matthew
Jesus’s command to disciple all the nations in Matt 28:19 has provided a powerful catalyst for cross-cultural mission for the past two thousand years. But what does this command mean in the context of Matthew’s narrative? Cedric E. W. Vine proposes an understanding of Matthean discipleship and mission that builds on Richard Bauckham’s open-audience thesis in The Gospels for All Christians (1998) and his own The Audience of Matthew (2014).
Vine argues from a biblical theology perspective that Matthew’s pervasive and consistent application of the nation-directed identities of prophet, righteous person, student-teacher, wise man, and scribe to the followers of Jesus reveals a concern less with defining community boundaries or promoting “church growth” and more with casting a powerful vision of nations transformed through the acceptance of the sovereignty of the risen king.
Matthew’s missiological horizon stretches well beyond defending, as suggested by some commentators, an inferred first-century Matthean community in an acrimonious intramural dispute with other Jewish groups. Rather, Matthew prepares his readers, first century and later, through a multifaceted and nuanced theology of discipleship, for participation in a missiological movement that is national in its focus, breathtaking in its scope, eschatological in its significance, and open in its appeal.
Vine, Cedric E. W., "Jesus and the Nations: Discipleship and Mission in the Gospel of Matthew" (2022). All Books. 293.