Jesus, Evangelization, and the Gospels

Volume 10, Number 1 (Winter/Spring 2003): 33-43.

Pheme Perkins, Ph.D., is Professor of Scripture in the Theology Department at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.*

Vatican II called the Church to recognize that evangelization is central to its identity. The risen Lord commissioned his disciples to take the gospel to the nations (Mt 28:16-20).(1) Lest one consider this task merely the necessary consequence of preserving a new religious movement that was rejected by the majority of its parent community, the Council grounds mission in the triune nature of God.(2) This conclusion appears to be a reflection in systematic terms of the self-understanding exhibited by the Fourth Gospel. The sending which brought the pre-existent Word into the world continues through the community that Jesus leaves behind (Jn 17:18; 20:21).(3) The disciples confront a world which greets them with the same hostility that faced Jesus (Jn 15:18-16:4). Therefore the task of evangelization cannot be declared finished prior to Jesus' return in judgment (Mk 13:9-10; Mt 24:14).(4) Matthew's familiar parable of the nations being judged (Mt 25:31-46) assumes that all have been confronted with the gospel.(5)

Is this evangelization directed solely at calling outsiders into the community of believers, or does it involve preaching within the Church as well? One frequently hears sermons describing activities of the latter sort as evangelization. The Fourth Gospel concludes by conveying to Peter the task of feeding Jesus' sheep (Jn 21:15-17), an intra-communal task different from his call to be a fisher of human beings (Mk 1:17; Mt 4:19; Lk 5:10).(6) It is easy to conclude that attention to relationships between Christians can then serve to evangelize those outside the Church. John 13:31-35 treats the solidarity of Christians as a form of witness; however, its focus appears to be on the uniqueness of the love believers have for one another in imitation of Jesus rather than on testimony to outsiders.(7)

Our post-colonial awareness of global pluralism fuels this drift toward evangelization as a form of ministry within the community of the baptized. If we insist that religious toleration and respect for human rights ought to be the mark of all civilized governments, we may feel hypocritical sending missionaries to evangelize non-Christians; yet a post-colonial mission theology discerns God's Spirit working for both grace and judgment among all peoples.(8) Evangelization cannot illuminate God's redemptive presence without taking up the challenges of inculturation and liberation.(9) The Gospels are evidence of an initial cultural transformation. Jesus' words and deeds came down to us already translated into Greek, the lingua franca of the eastern half of the Roman empire. First century Christians knew Greek translations of the Jewish sacred books as Scripture.

Are the explicit commands to evangelize the nations the consequence of historical circumstances which forced the early Jesus movement to abandon its initial task of renewing God's people in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria? Possibly. Mark's Gospel has no post-resurrection commission to evangelize Gentiles, though Mark 13:9-13 is evidence that such efforts are underway. Other sources such as Galatians 2:1-10 and Acts 10-11 have no evidence for the tradition of the risen Jesus commissioning the Twelve to evangelize (10); nor does Jesus himself explicitly envisage a mission to bring about the conversion of the nations envisioned in Isaiah (such as Is 42:6; 49:6, 12; 56:6-7).(11) Does the theological premise that evangelizing the nations is essential to the identity of the Church have any links with the mission of Jesus? Many exegetes would conclude that it does not. It is based on subsequent experiences of Jesus' followers. Ernest Best suggests that the divine command to evangelize was grounded in the words of an early Christian prophet (Eph 3:5). After the fact, early Christians came to associate evangelization with the tradition of Jesus sending his disciples to preach the kingdom.(12) Two questions drive our consideration of the Gospels: How does the mission of Jesus point toward the identity of the Church? What direction might the Gospels provide for the crisis of mission in the multicultural pluralism of our century?

Jesus, Q, and Mark
Mark 13:10 incorporates the evangelization of Gentiles into an apocalyptic prophecy. God's judgment is on hold while the gospel is proclaimed to the nations; however, the persecution and suffering elicited by such preaching remains part of the trials which Christians must endure as the end time approaches. Does this editorial comment envisage a long-term hold on Jesus' return in judgment pending a period of global evangelization? Probably not. Mark's view of the nations hardly extends beyond the immediate borders of the Roman empire.(13) Consequently, he envisions the suffering of a community in mission as part of the eschatological resistance of evil. This age will end within a generation (Mk 13:30; 9:1). Do the conditions of the eschaton describe a church no longer living in the consciousness of Jesus' return within a generation? Insofar as mission requires testimony in the face of persecution, Matthew concludes that it does. Matthew transfers Mark's end-time suffering to his mission discourse (Mt 10:16-25).

Within the narrative of Mark's Gospel, Jesus calls the Twelve to participate in his own activity of preaching the Kingdom of God (Mk 6:6a-13; Mt 10:1-15; Lk 9:1-6). Mark has attached this tradition to Jesus' rejection at Nazareth (6:1-6a) and used the dramatic legend of John the Baptist's death (6:14-29) to fill the time in which the disciples are separated from Jesus. The reader can easily infer that preaching the Kingdom will elicit both faith and rejection.(14) Since Jesus' own ministry began when the Baptist was imprisoned (Mk 1:14-15), his sending out the disciples takes on a new note of urgency in light of John's death. The curse gesture against towns which reject the disciples (6:11) reflects the note of eschatological urgency that Mark attaches to Jesus' ministry. Like Jesus, the disciples are engaged in God's end-time struggle against the powers of evil.(15)

This context distinguishes Jesus' followers from the ordinary groups of disciples one finds surrounding famous teachers in antiquity.(16) Jesus has called them in view of this task of preaching the Kingdom of God (Mk 1:17).(17) It will require a break away from all of their previous relationships (1:20; 10:28-31). Even as he has Jesus reassure Peter that God will more than compensate them for their sacrifices, Mark injects the note of suffering. "Persecutions" are included in the payback (Mk 1:30). This addition can be read on two levels: (a) as an index of the persecutions endured by Mark's Christian audience, and (b) as a reflection of Jesus' own conviction that his ministry represents God's eschatological defeat of evil.(18) Unlike students of famous rabbis, the disciples did not seek Jesus out for a period of instruction after which they would return home. This demand for a radical commitment to Jesus, breaking with family and occupation and risking danger for the gospel, occurs at all levels of the tradition. The warning that Jesus' followers must be prepared to lose their lives in order to save them (Mk 8:35-37; Lk 17:33 [Q]; Jn 12:25) must go back to the historical Jesus.(19)

The disciples in mission are stand-ins for Jesus. Both their activities and their fate are modeled on his. This association leads most scholars to treat the mission instructions in Mark and Q as largely transparent (Mk 6:6-13//Lk 9:1-6; Lk 10:1-12 [largely Q]; Mt 10:1-42 [mixed tradition]). Though the evangelists have made some additions representative of later missionary conditions, such as the presumption that missionaries will stay in a home for an extended time (Lk 10:7),(20) one can glimpse the conditions of Jesus' own activity in these instructions. The earliest evangelization efforts of disciples in Galilee returned to a familiar pattern established during Jesus' ministry. Consequently, it has become a staple in reconstructions of the historical Jesus to use such details as wandering, homelessness, lack of the normal provisions for travel, and so forth, to support the view that Jesus was like a Cynic philosopher preaching individual liberation from the false values and constraints of society; or that the first disciple missionaries wandered from town to town as radical charismatics with little interest in establishing permanent communities of believers.(21)

Such reconstructions often rest on a more foundational conviction that the Christian tradition has misremembered what Jesus was about by transferring a summons to social, economic, and personal transformation of conditions in Galilee into a universal religious teaching about God and salvation.(22) Bruce Malina has argued that false modernist views of religion inform many depictions of Jesus and his ministry, even those which pursue a liberationist agenda. Since the Enlightenment we have been trapped into considering religion as fulfilling (or inhibiting) various needs of individual persons.(23) Jesus is not engaged in such an activity. His Kingdom preaching evokes the powerful intervention of Israel's God to address those who have been pushed to the margins and dispossessed by the socio-political and economic changes in first century C.E. Palestine.(24) It was the post-resurrection followers spreading into the urban areas of the Mediterranean who converted the message into salvation as a cosmic rescue mission. Unlike Jesus, they no longer anticipated a powerful intervention of Israel's God to transform the social conditions of God's people.(25)

Although the details of the reconstructions differ, a number of scholars concur with some variant of this distinction. Jesus as religious innovator and cult founder is an image that emerges in the post-Easter urban churches of the Greek-speaking world. Their conviction that Jesus taught a distinctive way of life shaped the Gospel narratives.(26) Some scholars see a functional value in Jesus' itinerant mission. God's power exhibited in Jesus cannot be attached to either a place in which Jesus resides or the disciples associated with him.(27) More recently, William Arnal allies himself with those who interpret the sayings traditions in Q as definitive evidence that Jesus propagated a radical, egalitarian social movement. He concludes, however, that arguing that Jesus and his disciples were engaged in a deliberately chosen itinerant way of life does not stand scrutiny.(28) Most of the imagery in Jesus' sayings takes settled village life for granted. The journeys involved are not missionary endeavors but short local trips. By not carrying provisions or a staff, the disciple emissary is easily identified as from the region, not a stranger.(29) This emphasis on the renewal of social relationships at the level of local village life frees the interpreter from positing either the adoption of a non-Jewish ideology from Cynic philosophers or a major socio-economic or religious crisis in first century C.E. Galilee.(30) The more subtle shifts in economic power, social patronage, personal relationships, and the like addressed by Jesus' sayings suggest multiple patterns of resistance to a world being changed by Roman power and that of its local rulers. Moxnes suggests that Jesus even created imaginative spaces that deliberately exclude from God's Kingdom such symbols of Herod Antipas' royal ambition as the city of Sepphoris.(31)

The counter-position to these depictions of Jesus as radical social critic, the Cynic model, or as village level social reformer, emphasizes Jesus' connection with John the Baptist, the eschatological and prophetic themes associated with his ministry, and the repeated emergence of specifically religious opposition to Jesus' preaching and ministry.(32) In order to present a Jesus free of such religious concerns, scholars rely on one or more redactional layers of Q prior to the sayings source that we find common to Matthew and Luke.(33) At the level of the Gospel narratives and the final redaction of Q, Jesus has called twelve men from a larger circle of followers to take the message of God's impending Kingdom out to the towns and villages (Mk 3:13-16a). The designation "the Twelve" highlights the eschatological significance of Jesus' ministry. He is initiating God's restoration of a people lost since the fall of the northern kingdom to Assyrian invaders.(34) Jesus created the group symbolic of the eschatological return of Israel. In the judgment, these disciples will serve as judges over the tribes (Mt 19:28).(35) The Gospel tradition only describes a single sending of the Twelve; however, Jesus may have dispatched disciples to surrounding towns and villages on other occasions.(36)

Luke and Matthew
Rather than combine Mark and Q material in a single discourse as Matthew 10:5-15 does, Luke constructs a second sending of seventy or seventy-two from the Q mission instructions (Lk 10:2-12).(37) In this instance the number of emissaries has been added to the Q tradition by the evangelist. Though he may have intended the number seventy or seventy-two to symbolize the nations of the world (Gn 10:2-31; 1 Enoch 89:59), the narrative context does not permit identification with the Gentiles. These missionaries serve as an advance party going to the towns and villages through which Jesus is to pass on his journey to Jerusalem.(38) Consequently, this second sending probably anticipates the future missionaries of the Church. The group of Twelve does not continue to be a distinct entity long after Jesus' death.(39) It has no role in the mission traditions of Acts or the Pauline letters.

Luke's modification of the mission instructions during the last supper (Lk 22:35-38) refers directly to an instruction given his second group, the seventy (Lk 10:4). Provisions, money, additional clothing, and a means of protection(40) are to be permitted in the future. The evangelist has formulated both accounts. This change in policy serves a double purpose in his larger narrative: (a) to account for the presence of a sword among Jesus' associates ("those around him," 22:49) in Gethsemane; and (b) to mark the difference between the disciples during the time when Jesus was present and the later conditions of the Church.(41) This distinction between the time of Jesus and that of the Church provides the opening for the story to follow in Acts. The mission to take the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Lk 24:47; Acts 1:8) will involve decisions about faith and practice that go beyond the model of Jesus and his disciples healing and preaching the Kingdom in Galilee.

Matthew's version of the mission discourse marks the distinction between the time of Jesus and that of the Church indirectly. Jesus restricts the disciples to the towns and villages of Israel (Mt 10:5-6). The prohibition against entering Gentile territory (10:5) will be rescinded by the risen Lord (Mt 28:19). The evangelist expands the core mission discourse material found in Mark and Q by attaching other sayings traditions from those sources and his own special material, much of which anticipates persecution of those who preach the gospel.(42) W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison consider the note of consolation found in Matthew 10:26-31 and the reward promised all who treat Jesus' emissaries well (10:40-42) to be the rhetorical key to Matthew's composition.(43) All of Jesus' disciples, however, are warned to anticipate persecution (Mt 5:11-12). The second half of this mission discourse (Mt 10:32-42) is not directed solely to persons engaged in itinerant preaching. Every believer must be ready for the break with family. Every believer must acknowledge Jesus when challenged. Davies and Allison take this observation even further. They conclude that while the "little ones" who receive a drink of water in 10:42 are persons involved in mission, those who supply it to them are fellow Christians.(44) Although juxtaposing this verse with the earlier sayings about accepting the hospitality of those to whom one preaches (10:11-14) would lead to the conclusion that the "whoever" is an outsider, Luz also assumes that both giver and recipient are Christians.(45) His argument for that reading depends upon a model of the Jesus movement as one in which itinerant missionaries moved about between settled groups of believers and sympathizers. If that model over-interprets the data as both Arnal and Moxnes have suggested, then there is no obvious Christian referent for the "whoever." Therefore verse 42 includes all Christians in the category of "little ones." For non-believers, even the smallest act of kindness to one of Jesus' followers has its reward.

Davies and Allison raise a more fundamental issue concerning Matthew's reception of the mission instructions from Mark and Q. If the evangelist has composed the discourse in such a way that the reader's attention shifts from the Twelve engaged in mission to the life situation of every disciple, then is evangelization constitutive of the church as Matthew understands it? On the one hand, the eschatological proclamation to Israel has been endowed with a certain urgency. Matthew incorporates a saying from a Christian prophet which suggests that it will not be accomplished before the judgment (Mt 10:23).(46) On the other hand, Matthew's focus in other discourses rests on internal dynamics within the Christian community.(47) If he has shifted to that perspective in 10:26-42, then readers may view the sending of the Twelve as a foundation story, not a present imperative. Rodney Stark has argued that historians overestimate the importance of active evangelization in the growth of Christianity. Using contemporary data about the growth of religious movements, he argues that, after the initial period, most conversion results from personal ties between individuals, not missionary campaigns.(48)

Sent by the Risen Lord
The commission to preach a message of salvation forms a central element in the resurrection traditions. Several accounts of the appearance of Jesus to his disciples focus on mission (Mt 28:16-20; Lk 24:44-49; Jn 20:21, 21:1-17). Paul states without explanation that his vision of the risen Lord was God's call to preach Christ among the Gentiles (Gal 1:16). Therefore, the most pressing impulse to evangelize among the earliest Christians does not seem to be imitation of the Galilean ministry of Jesus and his disciples but announcing the news of salvation through the death and resurrection of the Son of God. Each evangelist tailors this commission scene to his own narrative. John 20:21 is the least detailed or precise in its instructions. It reminds readers of the prayer Jesus utters on behalf of the disciples in John 17:18.(49) The evangelist also uses a subsequent appearance to Thomas as the setting for a benediction on those whose faith in Jesus rests on the testimony of others, not on a direct vision of the risen Lord (Jn 20:24-29). The Gospel itself may serve to engender or strengthen saving faith in its audience (20:30-31).

Luke's version of the commission (24:47-48) looks forward to the narrative in Acts. While Jerusalem had been the place to which Jesus and the disciples traveled in the Gospel, it will be the center from which they carry the gospel to the nations in Acts.(50) As we have seen, Luke anticipates that the conditions of such evangelization will necessarily differ from those which pertained during Jesus' ministry. Longer journeys require a level of funds, provisions, clothing, and concern for personal safety that could be dispensed with when the disciples were with Jesus in Galilee. Clearly Luke does not assume that the instructions Jesus had given the groups sent out in Galilee bound later disciples to an ideology of Cynic radicalism. Luke summarizes the message which Jesus' disciple witnesses are to preach to all the nations very simply: "repentance for forgiveness of sins in his name" (Lk 24:47).

The most explicit set of instructions occurs in the scene which concludes Matthew's Gospel (Mt 28:16-20). The risen Jesus now has universal authority over all of God's creation (28:18). In light of that authority, he tells the Eleven to make disciples of all the nations (28:19a).(51) The list of items which specify what it means to make someone a disciple indicate that Matthew's readers are familiar with a well-established pattern of catechesis and initiation. New members are to be baptized using a Trinitarian formula and instructed to observe all of Jesus' teaching (28:19b-20a). Presumably Matthew considers his Gospel, or at least the summary of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, to be facilitating this task. Does the shift to making disciples of all the nations indicate that Matthew no longer envisages preaching to Israel? There is no reason to exclude Jews from Matthew's "all the nations" any more than the conversion of Israel is excluded from Isaiah's vision of the nations streaming to Zion. The operative image is christological: Expanding the call to salvation reflects Jesus' authority over all of God's creation.(52)

Though the Gospel's conclusion appears to resolve the ambiguity over whether Matthew envisions a church engaged in evangelization, we face uncertainty even here. Verse 19 has two participles, "going" and "baptizing." Its main verb "make disciples" governs the expression "all the nations." For disciples gathered with the risen Jesus in Galilee, "going" is a necessary condition to make disciples of anyone. The emphasis lies not on that activity but on who can become disciples.(53) Davies and Allison reach a similar conclusion by a different route. They emphasize the Mosaic patterns behind the picture of Jesus throughout the Gospel. As Matthew rewrites the traditions which underlie this final scene, he has Deuteronomy 31:14-15, 23 and Joshua 1:1-9 in view. Joshua is to go into a land peopled by foreign nations and observe Torah. Analogously the new Moses sends his disciples out among the nations to teach others to observe his commandments.(54) Consequently, one may infer a shift from a mission-oriented tradition to community instruction even in this passage.

Matthew 28:20 echoes the name given Jesus in the infancy narrative, "Emmanuel" (1:23).(55) Jesus' resurrection and exaltation realize the promise of that name by transcending the limits of historical existence. Jesus' person and teaching have been transformed into a universal norm and abiding presence.(56) However long the time until the end of the age, Jesus' revelation cannot be replaced by another teaching; nor can his person be deemed irrelevant to some set of "all the nations." Such theological convictions remain fundamental to evangelization. The Church's mission calls people to participate in God's saving reality. The gospel is not simply an option for individual self-transformation or even for social critique and reform on the same level as the myriad of philosophies and ideological movements.

Conclusion: A Way Forward
Jesus' mission to his own people differs from the apostles' preaching after the resurrection. Jesus summoned his own people to recognize God's Kingdom present in their experience and to live on the basis of that new reality. Though this message put him at odds with other religious teachers, the strains are no more intense than those which cost John the Baptist his life or isolated Essene sectaries from other Jews, "children of darkness." The scene shifts after Jesus' death and resurrection. Though it is not possible to trace the historical origins of the command to evangelize the nations, it came to be part of the Easter story. Disciples are stand-ins for Jesus, who came from and has returned to the eternal presence of the Word with God in the Fourth Gospel (Jn 17:13-18). Their presence in the world continues God's cosmic lawsuit with the world. The truth of God and justice depend upon the world's response to the revelation mediated through Jesus.(57)

Contemporary skittishness over evangelization reflects hesitation over making universalist truth claims. Joachim Gnilka concludes that while Matthew 28:16-20 requires active evangelization, going out to the other, we must avoid two dangers. First, the universal sovereignty of Jesus belongs only to Him. It is not an impetus for colonial, political domination by a Christian minority or world theocracy. Second, we should not respond to the abuses of the past or even limited success in the present by gutting the core of the gospel message. Resignation, not witness, leads to the conviction that helping the other to be a better Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, for example, is the only possibility for Christian presence and dialogue.(58)

One might take a clue from the mission instructions to the Twelve. Those who evangelize from below have no power (staff or sword) even to protect themselves, much less to use force against others. Their lack of spare clothing, while not dependent upon a Cynic ideology, does convey a cultural message: They do not have enough clothes to provide any of the marks of status or culture normally attached to what people wear. Their lack of money or food puts them at the mercy of whoever will extend a hand of hospitality: no trade goods but the good news and whatever healing hand a disciple can offer. We have seen that Matthew and Luke expanded and even modified the earlier traditions of Mark and Q. The details of Jesus sending out disciples were not converted into a system of community rules, but the stories specify a pattern of relationships and a way of conduct essential to evangelization that springs from Jesus' own compassion for the "lost sheep of Israel" (Mt 9:35-38; cf. Jn 4:35). Gnilka concludes that the credibility of Christian mission is based on its presentation of a Christian life that grows out of the teaching of Jesus.(59)

Since way of life is a more effective witness than a multimedia campaign, the shift toward intra-communal relationships and exhortation that we observed in Matthew may also be required of a Church in mission. Words then come as a response to another's desire to know about that Christian life.(60) The Gospel traditions also presume that Christians will encounter rejection, hostility, and persecution. The gospel message engages a world which continues to be marred by sin and injustice, thus evangelization also involves advocacy for justice and challenge to false values which contribute to the darkness of evil.(61) Consequently, evangelization constantly challenges the Christian community to discover the risen Lord, who goes to Galilee ahead of his fearful disciples (Mk 16:7). •


1. Translations and quotations from Scripture are my own.

2. Catholic Church, Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 1964), no. 48. Aloys Klein, "Ecclesiology and Mission: A Roman Catholic Perspective," International Review of Mission 90 (2001): 260-3.

3. J. J. Menken Maarten, "Envoys of God's Envoy: On the Johannine Communities," Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association 23 (2000): 45-60.

4. Matthew 24:10 includes internal disorder as a consequence of the hatred and persecution that Christians face in the world (W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, vol. III, Commentary on Matthew XIX-XXVIII [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1997]: 342).

5. Ibid., 344.

6. Raymond Brown deftly combines the two tasks by treating the catch of 153 fish as emblematic of the mission to evangelize the nations (The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI [New York: Doubleday, 1970]: 1113-4).

7. Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina Ser. 4 (Collegeville: Liturgical Press [Michael Glazier], 1998), 386-7.

8. See Donal Dorr, Mission in Today's World (Blackrock: Columba, 2001).

9. Sherron Kay George, "From Liberation to Evangelization: New Latin American Hermeneutical Keys," Interpretation 55 (2001): 367-7. Though she draws upon Roman Catholic liberation theology, George considers the Catholic culture of Latin America as ripe for evangelization by Protestants (377). Such disregard for the unity conferred by our common baptism in Christ typifies Protestant evangelization among Hispanic Catholics.

10. Ernest Best, "The Revelation to Evangelize the Gentiles," Journal of Theological Studies n.s. 35 (1984): 1-30.

11. Ibid., 8, 21-2.

12. Ibid., 29.

13. Craig A. Evans, Mark 8:27-16:20, Word Biblical Commentary Ser. 34B (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 310. Evans assumes that calling forth the Gentiles is to be attached to the citation of Isaiah 56:7 in Jesus' Temple cleansing and hence has a basis in the ministry of Jesus.

14. Joel Marcus, Mark 1-8, Anchor Bible Ser. 27 (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 177.

15. Ibid., 184.

16. John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew III: Companions and Competitors (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 54-5.

17. Marcus, 183.

18. Evans, 103.

19. Meier reconstructs the Aramaic level of this tradition (61-3).

20. Meier, 187 n. 96.

21. For an insightful history of these hypotheses and their correlation with assumptions about Galilee, its Jewish and/or hellenizing culture, its physical and economic features, see H. Moxnes, "The Construction of Galilee as a Place for the Historical Jesus," Biblical Theology Bulletin 31 (2001), Part I: 26-37; Part II: 64-77. For its development in the context of Q studies, see John S. Kloppenborg Verbin, Excavating Q: The History and Setting of the Sayings Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 166-213.

22. Kloppenborg Verbin, 2-4.

23. Bruce J. Malina, The Social Gospel of Jesus: The Kingdom of God in Mediterranean Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 7-11.

24. Ibid., 1, 31-4.

25. Ibid., 154-9.

26. Ibid., 117-8.

27. Jonathan L. Reed, Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus: A Re-examination of the Evidence (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International, 2000), 166. Reed admits a possible secondary motive for this conduct, staying just out of reach of Herod Antipas.

28. William E. Arnal, Jesus and the Village Scribes: Galilean Conflicts and the Setting of Q (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 38-63.

29. Ibid., 94-5.

30. Ibid., 98-100. Neither hypothesis has any support from archaeological remains. Reed (Archaeology, 132-5, 173-88) reaches similar conclusions.

31. Moxnes, 75.

32. Meier, 619-20. Meier also insists that what historical evidence we have concerning first century Galilee indicates that the populace did not embrace rebellious social movements. The more modest descriptions of Jesus as social reformer have moderated their claims for civil discontent and oppression in the region, leaving the motive for both popular interest and religious opposition unclear.

33. Arnal (181-2) proposes five stages of redaction in Matthew 10:1-15 before it reaches the second version of Q preserved in Matthew. The first three are either oral or written prior to the reconstructed, non-apocalyptic, first version of Q.

34. Marcus, 266-7. See Testament of Joseph 19:1-2 (the rest of this section has been heavily Christianized); Josephus, Ant. 11.133.

35. Meier, 137, 149-54.

36. See Meier, 157; 184 n. 88.

37. Marcus, 385.

38. Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, Anchor Bible Ser. 28A (New York: Doubleday, 1985), 846.

39. Ibid., 844.

40. Like the staff (Luke 9:3), the "sword" is a defensive weapon, not a military one. See John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, Excavating Jesus (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2001), 180.

41. Fitzmyer's assertion, that this saying about provisions for mission must be taken symbolically, treats Jesus' response to the "two swords" in 22:38 as ironic or critical (Luke X-XXIV, 1432-3).

42. W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, vol. II, VIII-XVIII (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1991), 163-4.

43. Davies and Allison, Matthew, vol. II, 162.

44. Davies and Allison, Matthew, vol. II, 231.

45. Ulrich Luz, Matthew 8-20, trans. J. E. Crouch (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001), 121-2.

46. Meier, 197 n. 131.

47. E.g. Mt 5:21-26, 7:21-23, 13:36-42, 18:1-35.

48. Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity (Princeton: Princeton University, 1996).

49. Best, 5-6.

50. Fitzmyer, 1578-81.

51. Terence L. Donaldson, Jesus on the Mountain: A Study in Matthean Theology, Journal for the Study of the New Testament Sup. 8 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985), 183. Donaldson sees this summons to the nations as part of the Zion eschatology in the Gospels which requires that the nations come to worship the Lord (Is 2:2-3, 25:6, 56:7).

52. Ibid., 210-11.

53. Ibid., 184.

54. W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, "Matt. 28:16-20: Texts Behind the Text," Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuse 72 (1992): 94-7.

55. Davies and Allison, Gospel According to Matthew, vol. III, 688. They also suggest a link between "all the nations" and Jesus as descendent of Abraham in Matthew 1:1.

56. Davies and Allison, "Matt. 28:16-20," 97-8.

57. Andrew T. Lincoln, Truth on Trial: The Lawsuit Motif in the Fourth Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000), 450.

58. Joachim Gnilka, Das Matthäusevangelium: II Teil. Kommentar zu Kap 14,1-28,20 (HKNT; Freiburg: Herder, 1988), 511-12.

59. Ibid., 512.

60. Lincoln insists that the verbal aspect of Christian witness should be in explanation of the new reality observed in the community and its deeds (463).

61. Lincoln, 458-60.

*Biographical information is true at time of publication.