However, the BTRJ model persists. As much as I like Robert Stein’s books (esp. his Luke commentary and monograph on the Synoptic Problem) I think he produces a quote indicative of the BTRJ:
Whereas Israel longed for the coming of the Messiah to restore its political fortunes and free it from its enemies, Jesus saw Israel’s need differently. What Israel needed was the once-and-for-all sacrifice that would solve the deeper and more important need of its relationship with God. How could human forgiveness be achieved? And how could the righteous standing before God resulting from this forgiveness be lived out in daily life? Jesus saw that this was the greatest need facing the people of Israel. As a result, he understood his messianic mission as bringing about the new covenant promised by the prophets through the sacrificial offering of himself. With this would come the answer to Israel’s and humanity’s greatest need – forgiveness, which allowed sinful people to have fellowship with a holy God (Jesus the Messiah, 151-52).
What's wrong here:
(1) Stein eclipses the significance of Jesus’ mission to Israel (cf. Mk. 7.27; Mt. 10.5b-6; 15.24; 19.28) by perceiving Jesus’ vocation as being principally to create the conditions necessary for universal atonement. I would regard the prediction of Jesus’ suffering and vindication as authentic, but on this view Jesus’ ministry is abstracted from the social and political climate of first century Palestine and from the hopes of the Jewish people. Jesus’ announcement of a ‘gospel’ (or more likely its Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent bsr) has as its background the programmatic announcement that the day of national restoration is dawning (Is. 40:9-11; 41:26-27; 52:7-10; 61:1; Pss. Sol. 11:1-4) which means a new exodus, a regathering of the twelve tribes, a righteous Davidic king, judgment for those who oppress the Jewish nation, vindication for Israel, and a new covenant etc. The death of Jesus must be coordinate with his mission of national restoration or else the mission to Israel is reduced to a salvation-historical bottleneck that must be somehow traversed before the real mission of going to the cross can follow.
(2) Stein moves too quickly to atemporal theological categories. Stein is quick to point out the universal significance of Jesus’ death as making available the reconciliation of humanity to God. Theologically speaking the notion is entirely legitimate, I do not dispute it, but Stein bypasses the vehicle which brings it. According to Paul, Luke, Matthew and John, the inclusion of the Gentiles and the prospect of eternal life are possible only via the story of Jesus as the fulfillment of the story of Israel. In the end it is a transformed Israel that transforms the world.
(3) I think there are two bad implications of this view. (a). It reduces Christology to Soteriology. (b) It contributes to the evangelical bias of privileging those portions of Scripture which speaks of salvation as the deliverance of souls from eternal judgment when in fact the word sozō most frequently denotes escape from death (see Marshall, Luke, 245).