Why, if Jesus is our savior, was it not even an idea in the mind of contemporary Jews that they were in need of salvation?
It could be argued that many of the Jews of the time misunderstood the purpose of the coming of the Messiah. Take for example the Apostles, even after Jesus had been with them and explained things to them, they were still
waiting for Jesus to set up an earthly kingdom: "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) Even after all the teaching, all the miracles, and so forth, they were still not quite getting it. How much less might your ordinary Jew of the period not get it? I think that at least some
did get it though, such as the angel of the Lord, and Simeon, and certain Samaritans:
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2:10-11
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel." - Luke 2:29-32
"And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." - Luke 4:39-42
Now, I realise that Luke is generally dated rather later, and this isn't proof of the idea being there early in the texts
. But I am not arguing that this is proof that the idea was there early in the texts
. I am only arguing that if
Luke faithfully records the words of people at the time, then
the idea is there early. So I guess it comes down to whether you trust that Luke faithfully recorded what was being said at the time. And really, when we talk about an idea being in the early texts, which texts are we talking about? Which texts do you personally consider to be the oldest, in which we are looking for these ideas in? Probably Mark, which I'd agree with. I'd also agree with an early dating of James, though not everyone would. What books past these? What about a book like Galatians, could it also not be from around 50AD? And what other books? We aren't working with much material here, IMO.