Lesson Title: "Walking in the Sandals of Biblical Characters"
Grade Level or Age Group: This activity can be modified and adapted to suit the needs of learners
Lesson Objectives: The student will deepen their understanding of Scripture by exploring the attitudes of the characters in a specific Scripture passage.
1. There are a number of scripture passages which, because of the dramatic elements they contain and the various actors they present, could lend themselves well to the exercise I propose here. I am using John 9:1-41, but you could also use the story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4: 1-41), that of the Resurrection of Lazarus (John 11), or the Parable of the Prodigal Son/Father (Luke 15: 11-32) or any other appropriate text. The The Book of Jesus web site has most of these texts in dialogue form: John 4: 1-41 and John 11. See the Index of the site for other passages. For background resources on specific passages see: Sunday Readings: Matthew - Sunday Readings Mark - Sunday Readings Luke - Sunday Readings John. For coloring pages on biblical stories: Bible Coloring Pages
2. Hand out copies of the script of John 9:1-41 to the students. Assign readers for each of the characters in the script. Give all of the students a bit of time to read the story quietly. Ask the readers to do a dramatic reading of the script.
3. It would be good to take a few minutes to draw out the main elements of the passage and to clarify some fo the points that might make it difficult for the students to understand. They cannot be expected to "hear" what the text is saying to them unless they understand the gist of what John intended to say in the text. There are some online resources which you might find useful for this. For some useful online articles and commentary on John 9:1-11 refer to Gospel of John 9 - Jesus gives sight to a blind man.
4. It might also be a good idea to discuss the passage with the students, thus making sure that they have understood. Here are some possible questions you could use:
What question do the disciples ask Jesus about the blind man? What does Jesus' answer mean? How does the crowd react to the cure of the blind man? Do they really believe in Jesus? How does the blind man react at first. Does his reaction change later? how? why? Does his belief in Jesus grow throughout the story? How can we tell? How do the Pharisees react? Why don't they want to believe that Jesus cured the man? How do the parents react when the Pharisees asked them about the cure? Why don't they want to admit that Jesus cured their son? Do they believe in Jesus? Why do you think Jesus says to the Pharisees: "If you were blind, you would have no sin, but because you say, 'we see', your sin remains."
5. Ask the students to choose one of the following "characters" in the story: the crowd, the blind man, the parents, the Pharisees. Have them write a letter to a friend about the events surrounding the cure of the blind man. Tell the students that they must enter as fully as possible into the attitudes of the "characters" they choose and that these attitudes should be obvious in what they write in their letter.
6. You might want to have some of the students read their letter to the class - possibly one student per "character".
7. Before you have the students do a second dramatic reading of the script, ask them in what way their own faith in Jesus is similar/dissimilar to that of each of the characters in the story. Tell them that after the script has been read, they will have time to think about it quietly.
8. After a few minutes of quiet reflection, ask the students if any of them would like to share what they have learned from the text and from their reflection
©Gilles Côté, 2002, 2012 Permission to copy this text is granted to teachers, catechists or anyone involved in faith education. For non commercial use only.