Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

March 8, 2010

The Signs in the Gospel of John Activity

This activity is taken from Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World which is in accordance with Course I of the USCCB’s Curriculum Framework.


Remind the students that unlike the other evangelists, John did not set out to outline the Good News in some sort of chronological order based on events in Jesus’ life. Instead, John focused on seven of Jesus’ miracles, which he calls “signs.” Emphasize that for John, all other events and teachings (the discourses) in his Gospel lead up to or develop from these crucial signs. Finally, tell the students that in reading the signs, it is important to pay attention to them not just individually but as a whole.

The Seven Signs of John's Gospel:  
  1. The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) 
  2. Cure of the Official's Son (John 4:46-54)
  3. Cure on a Sabbath (John 5:1-47)
  4. Multiplication of Loaves (John 6:1-14)
  5. Walking on Water (John 6:16-24)
  6. Cure of a Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41) 
  7. Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44)
Divide the class into seven small groups. Assign one of the seven signs to each small group. Explain that each group is to:

1) Read its assigned sign in the Bible as well as its exposition in the text

2) Prepare a presentation that answers the following questions: 
  • What is the story of the sign?
  • What does the sign point to or reveal?
  • What role does faith play? That is, does the sign cause or emanate from faith or both?
  • How do others react to the sign?
  • What does the sign say to us today?
3) Create their own “sign” of the sign, that is, an artistic rendering that “points to” the meaning of the biblical sign, that is, answers the final question above (“What does the sign say to us today?”). For example, the students might illustrate the sign of the Cana miracle with images of banquets or celebrations or weddings or hungry people being fed or an invitation to a party, etc.

Photo by Fergal OP

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