Since Joachim Jeremias’ Jesu Verheissung für die Völker it has often been assumed that in Mt. 8.11-12 Jesus looked forward to the inclusion of gentiles into the kingdom at the eschaton. However, several recent studies, most notably by Dale C. Allison, have called into question this view and have instead advocated that the logion refers to the regathering of the Diaspora. The purpose of this study is to evaluate Allison’s arguments and to propose that a gentile reference is implicit in the logion based on: (1) the broader context of the inter-textual echoes of passages concerning the regathering of Jewish exiles; and (2) a wider ethnic membership for those who participate in the patriarchal banquet based on the reference to ‘Abraham’. Furthermore, the logion is interpreted in the historical Jesus’ ministry through the lens of a partially realized eschatology where the saying represents Jesus’ contention that Israel’s restoration was already happening and gentiles are already entering the kingdom as an embryonic foretaste of their inclusion at the eschaton.
So is Mt. 8.11-12 about Jesus and the Gentiles or Jesus and the Diaspora?