The Gospels: Who do people say that I am?


1.1 Introductory Activity:

a) View the video Decoy: A Portrait Session with a Twist from Canon Labs (YouTube link).

b) At the conclusion of the video in part a) add one sentence to a Padlet that you believe captures the message that the video makers were trying to convey.

Who do you say I am? clip



RE Quest  – click on ‘the Jesus who was He‘ tab!

Background notes:

  • Remember that each of the Gospel writers tells the story of Jesus’ life, ministry and teaching as it was handed down to their community  from the perspective of faith. Each Gospel then presents a slightly different portrait of the same Jesus and the same essential truths of our faith. 

Click on the link CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 1 SECTION TWO

c) Jumbled Summary Activity- The Gospels

d) Using RESource (CEO Melbourne), read ‘A Brief Word About the Gospels’, the introductory notes about each Gospel and view the introductory videos for each of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

Together at One Altar Introducing the Gospels – Matt, Mark, Luke & John




d) Recall the text of Luke 1:1-4

and the caption from the video ‘A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what is in front of it.’ The students write a brief response to the question ‘How true is this statement when applied to the Gospels?















LUKE Final study notes


1.1 Extension Activity

  • storyboard a portrait session with Jesus as the central figure and predict what the images of Jesus portrayed by the photographers might look like (inferential task).


What are the Gospels? activities
a) Participate in a group exploration of the term ‘Good News’ in our lives today:

i) What are the ‘Good News’ stories for the school, individual, world at the moment?

ii) Will these ‘Good News’ items be relevant in a month, a year, or in 10 years time?

iii) What needs to occur for these ‘Good News’ items to be able to maintain relevance?

b. Explore: Why are Gospels considered the Good News?:

i) Divide into 8 groups and each group will be provided with a Gospel story where Jesus is interacting with his disciples and or the people.

Using the Four Gospel Parallels website:

Examples could include:

1. John 20:1-9 (Easter Sunday Reading- Years A, B, C))

2. Mark 16:15-20 (The Ascension of Our Lord- Year B)

3. Matthew 15: 21-39 (The Canaanite Woman’s Faith, Jesus Cures Many People & Feeding the Four Thousand)

4. John 4:1-39 Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

5. John 9: 1-34 A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

6. John 11:1-27 The Death of Lazarus

7. Luke 24:13-35 The Walk to Emmaus (see video clip above)

Luke 24: 36-52 Jesus Appears to his Disciples

ii) Provide a brief outline of the encounter that occurs with Jesus in this passage.

iii) Describe how and why this encounter would have challenged the individual(s).

iv) If you were one of the people in this story, what ‘good news’ would you have wanted to share with everyone about Jesus?

c) i) Read one of the following Scripture passages:

Year A- Matthew 4:23-25 Jesus Ministers to Crowds of People;                      

Year B- Luke 4:42-44 Jesus Preaches in the Synagogues; or

Year C – Mark 1:35-39 A Preaching tour in Galilee.                                                     

   ii) Discuss- What is the Good News that Jesus is proclaiming? &

Where do we proclaim this Good News today?








a) Lectionary Word Splash – Students are given the following list of words/phrases.

Discuss and identify what is common about these words/phrases, and then what connection does each word have with the word ‘Lectionary’?:

Old Testament Reading; Responsorial Psalm; Gospel Reading; New Testament Reading; Old Testament Reading; Three Year Cycle, Year A Cycle of Readings, Year B Cycle of Readings, Year C Cycle of Readings, Ambo.

1.3 Extension

Access the Lectionary document at and use this information to construct an information bulletin notice for the parish newsletter to inform parishioners about the lectionary and why it is important in the Church today.

b) Define the word – Lectionary. If possible have a Lectionary to view.


The Lectionary is a collection of Scripture readings assigned to the Mass for each day of the Year- so on any day that you go to Mass, everyone else in the world is listening to the same readings being proclaimed. It is not a Bible but rather an organised  collection of readings taken from the Bible. On a Sunday there are 4 readings proclaimed- an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a New Testament


b) Students present a homily which focuses on the three Sunday readings, making links with the Gospel to both the first and second readings.

Reading and a Gospel reading- all are located in the Lectionary.

Synoptic Gospel Parallels  texts

c) View The Synoptic Gospels (1 min 44 secs) and/or Liturgy of the Word Readings, Ambo, Lectionary and the Word of God.

d) Use the Lectionary to investigate a range of Sunday Gospel Readings. Divide into 3 groups and each group is to identify the Gospel reading for all of the Sundays (or a selection) in Ordinary Time for their cycle of readings:

The Bible Project  video of the Gospels background


i) Group 1: Year A Cycle of Readings. For example the Sunday Gospel Readings for the 3rd-7th Sundays in Ordinary Time- Year A: Matthew 4: 12-23; Matthew 5:1-12; Matthew 5: 13-16; Matthew 5: 17-37 and Matthew 5:38-48 For a list of all the Readings from Matthew’s Gospel in Year A go to: Matthew in the Lectionary

ii) Group 2: Year B Cycle of Readings. For example the Sunday Gospel Readings for the 3rd-7th Sundays in Ordinary Time- Year B: Mark 1:14-20; Mark 1:21-28; Mark 1;29-39; Mark 1: 40-45; Mark 2:1-12

iii) Group 3: Year C Cycle of Readings. For example the Sunday Gospel Readings for the 3rd-7th Sundays in Ordinary Time- Year C: Luke 1:1-4, 14-21; Luke 4:21-30; Luke 5:1-11; Luke 6:17, 20-26; Luke 6:27-38

The Brick Testament website: The Life of Jesus videos

Matthew & Luke Gospel parallels

Students can use United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website to identify the Sunday Readings across the Liturgical Year.

e) Select one of the Sunday Gospels readings identified in part d). Each student should select a different Gospel reading.

f) Students use this Gospel passage to write and deliver a 2 minute homily (Please note: an Ordained Minister delivers the homily at Mass, Lay persons can prepare a Reflection on the Word at other informal occasions) that highlights a point that helps those listening to understand the Scriptures and how they should be lived in our lives.

g) Other possible strategies to use are:

i) Invite your parish priest to speak to the students about what he believes to be the purpose of a homily and how he goes about preparing and structuring his homilies.

ii) Students discuss where homilies are delivered and what is the purpose of a homily?

Teacher notes:

A homily is given by the priest after the Gospel has been read. A homily can assist in understanding the Scripture readings and may relate the readings to the joys and struggles of our lives today. The homily can move us, inspire us to greater faith or may motivate us to follow Jesus’ example. We may also make connections with our Baptismal Call or the sharing in the Eucharist.

iii) Use simple commentaries to assist in your reflections on your selected Gospel passages. The USCCB Site has reflections on the daily readings. Also useful is The Sunday Connection by Loyola Press.

iv) Students can access sites such as – How to write a great homily; How to write Catholic Homilies

iv) Students could view Living the Gospel and How do Christians use the bible? as resources to their preparation.

v) Deliver your homilies either in person to the class or using some type of recording. The class is to be encouraged to model prayerful attentive listening and enthusiastic support.

vi) At the conclusion of the homilies, you can write a journal entry/reflective writing that responds to:

  • From all of the homilies presented, what point was made that was most meaningful to you?

How will/does this point help me to understand Scripture or relate Scripture to my life in a new and powerful way?

Gospels & Thomas?


That the Christian faith is centred on a personal encounter with the person of Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospels.


a) View Introduction to the Gospels Powerpoint

b) Engage in a true/false activity with questions specific to the Gospel being studied. You will need to engage in research -The Catholic Youth Bible will be helpful here, along with other reliable sources such as Gospel Comparison Chart– to identify if the statement being made is true or false. You will be required to provide evidence to support your claims.

 Year A- Matthew’s Gospel:

  1. Jesus’ genealogy is traced back to Adam  e.g.  (False– Jesus’ genealogy is traced back to Abraham, the father of Judaism- see Matthew 1-17)
  2. Matthew’s Gospel is the first book of the New Testament
  3. Matthew’s Gospel was the first gospel to be written around the Year 90CE ?
  4. The writer of Matthew’s Gospel was one of Jesus’ 12 Apostles.
  5. Matthew’s Gospel used Mark, “Q” source and other oral traditions to compose this Gospel for his community.
  6. Matthew wrote this Gospel for a community of Christians who had faith in Jesus as the Messiah but who had not abandoned Judaism as well as many Gentiles.
  7. Jesus is presented as the promised Messiah and the author highlights Jesus’ Jewish origins.
  8. Matthew’s Gospel was written during the time of the Roman Emperor Nero

Background Emperor Nero burns Rome video & Birth of Christianity  video



a) Mathematical Equations for Matthew– This learning experience is taken from St Mary’s Press Resource centre and provides an overview of the Gospel of Matthew by challenging the students to solve and create mathematical equations using various facts from the Gospel. Provide students with the following examples and ask them to use their Bible to find the answers. Invite the students to share their findings.

i) Add the number of gifts from the Wise Men to the number of parables found in Matthew, chapter 13, and then multiply the result by the number of blind men healed in Matthew 20.29–34. [(3 + 7) x 2 = 20]

ii) Solve for the number of healings in Matthew 9.1–34 to the power of 2, multiplied by the number of people Jesus fed in Matthew, chapter 15, and divided by the number of people fed in Matthew, chapter 14. [62 x 4,000 divided by 5,000 = 28.8]

b) Divide the class into groups of four. Challenge the groups each to come up with five equations of their own, ranging from very simple to extremely challenging. Give the groups an index card for each equation, and ask that the equation appear on one side and the answer or explanation on the other.

c) Option- use symbols/images to create a visual representation of each equation.

d) Invite the groups to exchange their completed equation cards and solve the problems.

e) Ask the students to share some of their initial impressions of Matthew’s Gospel.

2.3   Assessment Task Link

a) Matthew’s Gospel can be structured in a number of ways such as

  1. Jesus’ origins: His birth and baptism (Mt 1–3)
  2. Jesus’ teaching and ministry (Mt 4–25)
  3. Jesus’ sacrifice (Mt 26–27)
  4. Jesus’ resurrection (Mt 28)

Begin to analyse Matthew’s Gospel by:

i) Viewing Matthew 1:1-16 The genealogy of Jesus Christ

ii) Reading Chapters 1-2 of Matthew’s Gospel and answering the following questions:

  1. What title is given to Jesus in Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:17;Matthew 1:18; Matthew 2: 4? Why is this title important for Matthew’s community?
  2. Is there any significance for Matthew’s community in linking Jesus to Abraham and as a descendent of King David in the genealogy, Matthew 1: 1-17?
  3. In the genealogy Matthew names 5 female ancestors of Jesus, the first 3 were Gentiles and the fourth was married to a Gentile. Why would this have been important for Matthew’s community?
  4. Read Isaiah 7:13-14 and Matthew 1:22-23. Why is Matthew using an Old Testament text here?
  5. Read Isaiah 60-1-7 and Matthew 2:1-12.Where did the wise men come from? What comparisons can you make between the 2 texts? Why would this be important for Matthew’s community?
  6. Read Exodus 1:1-2:10 and Matthew 1:13-23. What comparisons can you make? Why would this story have been important for Matthew’s community in their belief about Jesus?
  7. In summary- What was Matthew teaching his community?


Notes. Matthew introduces Jesus in a very traditional Jewish way, using a genealogy that shows Jesus as an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and David, highlighting Jesus’ royal heritage. Matthew uses Old Testament texts to reaffirm the values of the Old Testament and how Jesus brings these values to their fullness. Matthew is teaching his Jewish audience about what was understood only after the Resurrection, that Jesus is a son of Abraham, son of David, son of Joseph and Mary and Son of God.Jesus is the fulfillment of the history of his people.

 ii) This process can be continued for Jesus’ Teaching and Ministry, Sacrifice and Resurrection.

Who do you say that I am?






3.1 Monologue- do you say that I am?





a) Read Peter’s Declaration about Jesus: Matthew 16: 13-20, Luke 9: 18-20 Peter’s and/ or Mark 8: 27-30. Discuss the scripture passage and the question posed by Jesus: Who do people say that I am?



3.1 Comparing and Contrasting the Passion and Resurrection Narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke

a) Read the Passion and Resurrection narratives found in Matthew 26:1—28:20 and Luke 22:1—24:53.



b) What similarities and differences do you see between the Passion and Resurrection narratives in each Gospel account. Use the Worksheet from St Mary’s Press Resource Centre.


b) Define the word ‘portrait’- as the likeness of a person such as in a painting, drawing, photograph, verbal picture or description.

c) Select a character from one of the Gospels (if possible students must select a different character) such as:

Characters from Matthew’s Gospel Characters from Luke’s Gospel
Joseph- Chpt 1

King Herod – Chpt 2

John the Baptist – Chpt3

Simon Peter

Centurion whose servant was healed – Chpt8

Woman with the haemorrhage – Chpt 9

Canaanite woman – Chpt 15

Rich young man – Chpt 19

One of the two blind men healed by Jesus – Chpt 20

Woman who anointed Jesus – Chpt 26

Judas- Chpts 26-27

Caiaphas – Chpt 26

Pilate – Chpt 27

Mary Magdalene – Chpts 27-28

Zechariah – Chpt 1

Elizabeth – Chpt 1

Mary, Jesus’ Mother

The angel Gabriel – Chpt1

A shepherd – Chpt 2

John the Baptist – Chpt 3

Simon Peter

Gerasene demoniac – Chpt 8

Woman with the haemorrhage – Chpt 8

Jairus – Chpt 8

Martha – Chpt 10

Crippled woman cured on the sabbath – Chpt 13

The Thankful leper – Chpt 17

The rich official – Chpt 18

Zacchaeus – Chpt 19

Cleopas- Chpt 24

d) Read the allocated chapter to become acquainted with this character and they could also access additional information and or other Scripture passages where this character may appear.

e) Prepare a dramatic monologue of approximately 2 minutes where you take on the role of this character and provide insights about  what was going through their minds and hearts at the time they were with Jesus/or knew about Jesus, and how this character might have answered Jesus’ question of ‘Who do you say that I am?’


Using Michael Fallon’s verse by verse commentary on each of the Gospels (see table below),
 i) You are assigned a specific Gospel passage and asked to read the Gospel passage and the commentary provided for their assigned Scripture passage.


Matthew Mark Luke John
Matthew 1:1 – 2:23

Matthew 3:1 – 4:16

Matthew 4:17 – 7:29

Matthew 8:1 – 9:35

Matthew 9:36 – 11:1

Matthew 11:2 – 12:50

Matthew 13:1-52

Matthew13:53– 17:27

Matthew 18:1 – 19:2

Matthew 19:3 – 23:39

Matthew 24:1 – 25:46

Matthew 26:1 – 28:15

Matthew 28:16-20

Mark 1:1-13

Mark 1:14 – 3:6

Mark 3:7 – 6:6a

Mark 6:6b – 8:30

Mark 8:31 – 10:52

Mark 11:1 – 13:37

Mark 14:1 – 15:39

Mark 15:40 – 16:8

Luke 1:5 – 2:52

Luke 3:1 – 4:13

Luke 4:14 – 8:56

Luke 9:1-50

Luke 9:51 – 19:40

Luke 19:41 – 21:38

Luke 23:1 – 23:56

Luke 24:1-53

John 1:1-18

John 1:19 – 2:12

John 2:13 – 4:54

John 5:1 – 6:71

John 7:1 – 8:59

John 9:1 – 10:42

John 11:1 – 12:50

John 13:1 – 14:31

John 15:1 – 17:26

John 18:1 – 19:42

John 20:1-29

John 20:30-31

John 21:1-25


ii) Provide a list of characteristics and a summary of the portrait of Jesus presented in the Scripture passage.

iii) Research/view a variety of artworks and select 2-4 artworks that could be representative of this scripture passage. Use 1. look for the link to ‘art index’, then search by Scripture reference or topic; 2. Web Gallery of Art: – type a topic into the ‘text’ box of the search engine; 3. – click “browse artists by subject,” then click on “religious art”.

iv) You need to be able to justify the links they have made between the artwork and the Scripture passage.


Examine artworks that depict significant stories from the Gospel accounts (e.g. 1. the artworks of Sieger Köder ; 2. look for the link to ‘art index’, then search by Scripture reference or topic; 3. Web Gallery of Art: – type a topic into the ‘text’ box of the search engine; 4. – click “browse artists by subject,” then click on “religious art”.) and consider the following questions. This can be done individually or in small groups:

a) What is the title of the artwork, where is it located and who is the artist?

b) When was this artwork created?

c) How accurately does the image depict the biblical story on which it is based? What is missing/has been added?

d) How does Jesus identify himself in this story? How do Jesus’ followers and apostles identify him? Is this represented in the artwork?

e) How are the characters in the artwork depicted? With what emotions? What attitude is reflected in their body positioning? Are they static or in motion?

f) How would you describe the mood of the image? Notice colour, light, shade, distortion, forms, shapes, textures and lines.

g) How does the image use light and shadow? What dramatic emphasis is created?

h) What do you think the artist wants the viewer to focus on?

i) What emotional response does this artwork elicit for the viewer? What effect do these techniques have? Do they make the story more real/personal for the viewer? Do they convey a sense of what Jesus or other figures in the story might have been thinking or feeling?

j) Connect this artwork with one of the Gospel accounts that you believe this artwork is best representing, that is, capturing the themes and emphases of a particular Gospel account . Justify your selections based upon your research and knowledge of how each evangelist is presenting Jesus in their Gospel.

k) Students/small groups present their images to the class, sharing their research and insights into the artworks and their links with the Gospels.




3.2 Extension

a) View a number of artworks of Christ such as:

i) Christ of Maryknoll by Robert Lentz ofm

ii) Jesus Christ Liberator by Robert Lentz ofm

iii) Korean Christ by Robert Lentz ofm

iv) Icons by Ann Chapin and also at Icons by Ann Chapin

v) Other artworks can be sourced from Catholic Artists Directory

b) Identify the techniques being used by the artists to portray Jesus in the artwork. What image of Jesus is being portrayed?

c) If possible, ask the students to select the Gospel and /or Scripture passage that this artwork is best representing. Justify their selections based upon their research and knowledge of how each evangelist is presenting Jesus in their Gospel.

3.3 Assessment Task Link

a) Using the images from 3.2 ask the students to respond to the following questions using reflective journalling-

 i) Select three images that you like. How do these three images express your understanding of Jesus?

ii) Select a fourth image, one that you do not understand or care for. Why is this image of Jesus hard to relate to?

  1. Students share their responses in small groups or as a class.
  2. Students select one Gospel and one portrait as presented by the Gospel writers, identifying the characteristics of Jesus that are being highlighted.
  3. Students identify for each aspect of Jesus presented in c) an example of a person or action that reflects how Christ would live this in the world today.

Create your own image in response to Jesus’ question – Who do you say that I am?

3.3 Assessment Task Link

a)       Using the images from 3.2 ask the students to respond to the following questions using reflective journalling-                                                                                                                   i) Select three images that you like. How do these three images express your understanding of Jesus?                                                                                                              ii) Select a fourth image, one that you do not understand or care for. Why is this image of Jesus hard to relate to?

b)       Students share their responses in small groups or as a class.

c)        Students select one Gospel and one portrait as presented by the Gospel writers, identifying the characteristics of jesus that are being highlighted.

d)       Students identify for each aspect of Jesus presented in c) an example of a person or action that reflects how Christ would live this in the world today.

e)       Students are to create their own image in response to Jesus’ question – Who do you say that I am?


Learning Experience 2: A10 THE GOSPELS : WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?
Commentary a series of comments, explanations, or annotations:

a commentary on the Bible; news followed by a commentary.1

Genealogy a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family,group, etc.2
Messiah Hebrew word meaning ‘anointed one’. The idea comes from Judaism which believes that God would one day send someone to overcome evil and set up the reign of God in the world. Christians believe that Jesus Christ has done this and is therefore the Messiah3.


3.        Woods, Laurie. A Dictionary for Catholics. Harper  Collins Publishers Australia, 1999.p41

References to TKWL: Year 10 TKWL Chapter 2: The Good News of Mark





We Gather… as

a community

and prepare to

hear the Word

of God


Leader: God beyond all names and images,

All: we come to you in faith.

Leader: God in Christ with human face,

All: we come to you in hope.

Leader: God who moves, draws, forms and enlightens our life,

All: We come to you in love. Father, Son and Spirit. God, the beginning and the end, you are our God.

We Listen… to

the Word of

God as it is



scripture is the

heart of a



SCRIPTURE: Jesus eating with the sinners and the tax collectors

Year A – Matthew 9: 9-13 The Call of Matthew

Year B – Mark 2: 13-17 Jesus Calls Levi

Year C – Luke 5: 27-32 Jesus Calls Levi

We Respond…

with a ritual

action such

as a

reflection on

the Word,

Prayers of





ritual action



IMAGE: Seiger Koder- Whatsoever you do.

REFLECTION:Hands at work, outstretched to welcome, comfort, heal, draw in.

Each gesture speaking of Christ, touching wounds and healing pain.

Each gesture touching Christ himself, hurting as we hurt, feeling as we feel:

cold, hunger, thirst, loneliness, need.

Through each gesture we are touched ourselves.

Christ reaches out, made flesh through human kindness.

‘This is my body’- these broken bodies, these damaged lives.

‘This is my body’- these simple gestures of humble service.

‘This is my body’- Bread of compassion, broken for you, cup of hospitality offered to you.

‘Do this in memory of me’, And never forget,

I have no hands but yours, no eyes or ears, no loving heart on earth but yours.

Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there.

Whatsoever you do to the least of these…

Mine is the body you touch, mine the hands reaching out.

We Go



into the world to do what we proclaim and to give witness to the fact that we are disciples and followers of Christ. Use a final prayer, a blessing, a song or hymn.

ALL: We Pray…

 Jesus, You are the face of God’s compassion hidden in each human life.

 Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of our brothers and sisters.

 Give us loving and generous hearts, ready to reach out to you in every person we encounter in our lives.



Adapted from ‘Glimpses of the Divine, Gemma Simmonds. Pauline Books and Media. 2010.pages 48-51