Although the passion narratives of the synoptic gospels can be read as free standing narrative, each one of them is the goal and climax of the Gospel story that precedes it.
In Passion Narratives and Gospel Theologies, Frank Matera describes the intimate relationship between the theology of each of the synoptic gospels and its passion narrative. Matera's study of the Markan passion narrative in light of the Gospel's theology shows that no one can confess that Jesus is the Son of God until he or she acknowledges Jesus as the crucified Messiah, and no one can be Jesus' disciple unless he or she accepts the scandal of the cross. While the Gospel of Matthew continues to develop the great themes of Mark's gospel, Matera argues that its passion narrative manifests a distinctive ecclesiological and ethical outlook in light of its unique gospel theology. Finally, Matera demonstrates how the Lukan passion narrative, by presenting Jesus as a model of innocent suffering, also contains a distinctive outlook in light of its gospel theology: God's righteous suffer afflictions by trial and persecution. Comprehensive in scope and clearly written, Passion Narratives and Gospel Theologies provides a much needed introduction to the synoptic passion narratives and the theology of each evangelist. It will be welcome by students and pastors.