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Figures

Jesus

Let's play a word association game. Ready? We'll start.Word: JesusAssociation: Rainbows and butterfliesOkay, that's what we thought before we read Luke. Now it goes more like this:Word: JesusAssoci...

The Disciples

The Growing Pains of StudenthoodWe all know what it's like to be a student. Even the brainiest of all Shmoopers can recognize that it's often a pretty humbling experience. Why?Think about it. Being...

The Jewish People

Have you ever been to a concert? A sporting event? A political rally? Then you know that nothing gets people more riled up than a huge and wild crowd. In the Gospel of Luke, "crowd" is a word that...

The Jewish Leaders

Good stories need good villains. Voldemort. Sauron. The Trunchbull. You know the type.Sure, villains run the risk of being flat characters, but the gain is excitement we moral creatures get out of...

John the Baptist

Luke ain't shy about John. He gives us a bunch of straight-up info about this guy—take a look at 1:13-17, 1:76-79, and 3:4-6 for some examples. You can think of these passages as ancient versions...

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Talk about role models. Zechariah and Elizabeth, John's parents, are "just" and "blameless" folks, as well as devout Jews who follow "all the commandments and regulations of the Lord" (1:6). They s...

Mary

You've probably seen this lady before. She's the one in your neighbor's yard and tattooed on some hurly-burly's arm. You might have even heard talk of a miraculous appearance of her image. Being Je...

Simeon and Anna

These two old timers are always loitering around the precinct of the temple at Jerusalem, and they are described in similar terms:Simeon is "waiting for the consolation of Israel" (2:25), and Anna...

Pontius Pilate

Despite his ridiculously caricatured name, Pontius Pilate was a real guy. He was the prefect of Judea from 26 to 36 CE, and there's no doubt Luke knows it (3:1). His political jurisdiction included...

Herod the Tetrarch

Historically, Herod was "tetrarch" of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE to 39 CE. We know what you history buffs are thinking, and no, this isn't Herod the Great. That's the tetrarch's dad, who was "Kin...

Angels

Who doesn't love these otherworldly mailmen? Their job is basically to deliver God's messages to mortals. In fact, the Greek word for "angel" can be translated simply as "messenger" or "envoy". The...

Demons

The Demon Survival GuideReplace demons with zombies, and Luke becomes a veritable Hollywood horror flick. Here's a guide for how to spot a demon in this gospel:They are otherworldly beings who are...
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