As you investigate Jesus’ miracles from the Gospels, your students will notice three kinds of reactions. Some of those who witness the miracles are rightly amazed. Others are doubtful. And still others are confused.

Play this short game of “mental math” to introduce a lesson on Jesus’ miracles. Present the following problem. Do not read the example. Rather, rehearse it so that you can move through it quickly.

Say to the students:

  • Do each step silently. Don’t call out any responses. Don’t say anything if you have done this problem before.

  • Think of a number between 1 and 10 (for example, 7).

  • Multiply your number by 9. You now have a two-digit number (for example, 63).

  • Add the two digits of your new number together (for example, 6 plus 3). You now have a one-digit number (9).

  • Subtract 5 from your number. You now have a new one-digit number (4).

  • Now pretend that each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a number. For example, A is 1, B is 2, C is 3, and so on. Think of the letter that corresponds to your number (D).

  • Think of a country that starts with your letter (most people with think of Denmark).

  • Now think of an animal that starts with the second letter of your country (most people will think of elephant).

Place your hand over your forehead as if some great inspiration is coming to you. Then say, “You are thinking of Denmark and an elephant.” There should be varied reaction, for example:

  • “ho-hum” from students who have done the problem before
  • confusion from students who were lost somewhere in the math
  • amazement from students who were thinking of Denmark and elephant

Now, choose some miracle stories of Jesus from the Gospels and compare the reaction of your class to this problem to the reaction of the people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles!