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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

June 17, 2010

Introducing the Miracles of Jesus

The miracles of Jesus were meant to bring about reaction. Think about Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44). Some people were truly amazed by what happened and began to believe in Jesus. Others reported his actions to the authorities who wanted to sentence him to death. Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, were almost ho-hum about what Jesus did, maybe because their faith was so great in him they expected this great miracle.

Play this fun mental math game with your students to solicit the same kinds of responses that Jesus often received whenever he performed a miracle. Present the following problem. Do not read the example. Rather, memorize and say:

"Do each step silently. Do not call out any responses. Don't say anything if you have done the 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 + 3). You how have a one digit number (9).

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

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

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

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

Next, put your hand over our forehead as if some great inspiration is coming to you. Then say, "You are thinking of Denmark and an elephant." There should be varied reactions, for example:

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

Compare the three reactions to those that occur when Jesus performs a miracle.

Have the students read the following miracles of Jesus and write as many adjectives as they can think of to describe how people reacted to the miracles. Pause between each miracle to allow sharing of the adjectives. Write them on the board so all can see. Also ask the students to write or share how they would respond to each miracles if they were either a witness or the benefactor.

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