Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Features of Jesus' Miracles Mnemonic

I like to create short mnemonics around the topics I'm teaching. I tend to find that they really help students retain information, and avoid missing out chunks of important material when writing essays. A quick test on a mnemonic is also a ready-made starter task! 

In our Year 12 class, we're currently studying miracles as part of our New Testament module, and this is a little mnemonic I've come up with to help remember seven key features of Jesus' miracles.

The features, and the explanations below, are adapted from Gwynn ap Gwilym's WJEC textbook:

Command - Jesus performs some miracles with only a verbal command. This is the case with nature miracles, but also elsewhere, e.g. the possessed man in Capernaum synagogue. 
Only where there is faith - Faith is a common feature of the miracle stories, while both Mark (6:5) and Matthew (13:58) tell us Jesus performed few miracles in his home town because people did not believe in him.
At a distance - Jesus does not need to be present to perform a miracle, for example, the healing of the centurion's servant.
Touch - Jesus is able to perform miracles by touch, such as healing the ear of the high priest's servant.
Pity for suffering - The miracles demonstrate Jesus' compassion for suffering humanity. Healing miracles are good examples of this, as is the feeding of the 4,000, where Jesus says he has compassion for the hungry crowd.
Evidence not always accepted - Those who did not believe in Jesus attribute the miracles to Satan, e.g. the teachers of the Law in Mark 3:20-30.
Glorify God - The purpose of Jesus' miracles is to bring glory not to Jesus, but to God. For example, when the widow of Nain's son is resurrected, the people glorify God.

I've also created a PowerPoint slide that can be dropped into revision lessons (if you're a teacher).

I'd say that if you could remember these seven features, and support each with examples, you would be well on your way to getting a good grade in 30 mark AS question. That said, I'd be interested to know whether you think the list is a good one, or whether any features should be added or removed?