Our reading of the gospels has focused on the broad concept of “the good news.” And at each step, we’ve asked about for whom the news is good.

One thing that is clear is that the evangelists depict figures/characters as tools to carry out a broader agenda. We see this in how Matthew uses Jewish scriptures, how Mark discusses Gentiles v. the disciples, and how Luke provides historical details of famous figures and endearing characterizations of the lowly for purposes of framing. Each evangelist is a god–or more appropriately, a sign prophet–directing the reader’s attention to a certain illumination of God’s kingdom (i.e. Greek–dokeo, glory).

There is great precedent for this use of types and themes in Hellenistic culture. See a pulp, campy depiction of this in the trailer to the 1981 Clash of the Titans.

Chapter 5 in Daniel Lynwood Smith gives us an overview of some figures that do important work in the presentation of the synoptic gospels.

I would like you to take free notes on this chapter. But I will ask you to challenge yourself to record understandings and uses of the following figures as specifically as you can (i.e. how do they differ in each gospel).

  • The Vigin Mary
  • King Herod
  • Caiaphas The High Priest
  • Pontius Pilate

Also take note of the following key terms:

  • genealogy,
  • gentile,
  • promised land,
  • patriarch,
  • Sadducee,
  • idolatry,
  • Samaritans,
  • laws