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JESUS AND ZACCHAEUS

Series Objective: At the end of the series, the kids will understand the significance of
the episodes in Jesus’ story– that Jesus made the right choices while on earth, in order to
make heaven available to those who believe. And with that, kids will appreciate the life
that Jesus lived and therefore live a life that also seeks to honor God.

Note to preacher: The series objective is just a guide for you. You do not need to mention
it when you preach.

PT: Jesus is our God who heals and saves us.


PV: John 17:2 And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life
to everyone you give him.

INTRODUCTION

Who plays online games here? There are popular story mode games where we go through
episodes and get to make decisions. Our current series is entitled, “Jesus: Story Mode”,
where we will learn about episodes in the life of Jesus and see how He made the right
decisions. Today, our story is about the time Jesus became the friend of a big sinner named
Zacchaeus.

CONNECT
Materials: Print out 10-15 trees on bond paper and scatter them around the room.

Before we go to our lesson, let’s play a game of “Musical Trees”! The game is basically
musical chairs. But instead of chairs, we will have trees! We scattered some trees all over
the room. When the music stops, you need to climb one tree. No pushing and rough play,
okay? Those who were not able to climb trees will be out of the game. I will remove 1-2
trees per round. The last 3 kids with trees will win 500 KC Bucks each!

That game was a bit childish but still a lot of fun! Our lesson today is about a man who
climbed a tree just so he could see Jesus. But first, let’s watch this video…

VIDEO: Jesus and Zacchaeus

Now, let’s take a look at the Scriptures . . .

WORD

Luke 19:1-10 NLT 1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There
was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he
had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over
the crowd.4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus
was going to pass that way.
5
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!”
he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

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JESUS AND ZACCHAEUS

6
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and
joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,”
they grumbled.
8
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the
poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as
much!”
9
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown
himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those
who are lost.”
Zacchaeus had been content to just catch a glimpse of Jesus. But Jesus would have none
of that. He wanted a relationship with Zacchaeus, a notorious crook. The prospect of this
brought great change in Zacchaeus’ heart. Let’s take a look at the changes…

1. Knowing Jesus produces joy.

Luke 19:5-6 NLT 5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by
name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and
joy.

Zacchaeus probably thought that someone like him, a dishonest man, did not deserve to
meet Jesus. Imagine Zacchaeus’ happiness when Jesus went straight to his tree and
called him by name! Not only that, Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house! Jesus
wanted to be his friend!

There is a game show called Killer Karaoke where the contestants need to keep on singing
no matter what. Sometimes the singers need to sing surrounded by scary animals like
snakes! In the video we are going to watch, it is the final stage where the contestants
have to keep on singing despite being spun around on a giant turntable. Let’s watch it.

ILLUSTRATION: Killer Karaoke https://youtu.be/_OXTPWR6HGU (stop on 2:44)

What a funny game! Please do not try it at home. No matter what happened, the
contestants kept on singing. It’s much like our point today. When we have Jesus in our
lives, joy will be our constant companion. (Knowing Jesus produces joy. Phil. 4:4) Of
course, your life will not be a bed of roses. But because you know that the God of the
universe Himself loves you and initiated the process so you can be reconciled to Him and
spend eternity with Him, there is always a sense of joy. There is joy knowing that
whatever happens, God is with you.

Whenever you feel sad about your situation or about someone, don’t dwell on it. Set your
thoughts on Jesus. Remind yourself of the truth that He is with you. He sees what you are
going through and He is on your side. Preach the gospel to yourself. You don’t deserve
Jesus in your life but He is actually the one who wants to be in it. Let that knowledge lift
your spirits and feel the joy that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit inside of you.

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2. Knowing Jesus produces true repentance.

Luke 19:8 NLT Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my
wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back
four times as much!”
Repentance and faith always go together (Mark 1:15). Being sorry for our sins is a sign of
true faith. Because Zacchaeus already had Jesus in his life, he repented of his sins. He
displayed sincere repentance when he offered to pay back those he had cheated. That’s
what is called restitution, making right something that you did wrong.

ILLUSTRATION: Reverse stacking cups (materials: 20 paper cups)


*Stack the cups in two pyramid-towers of 10 cups each before the kids play the game.

Let’s play a game. I need five representatives from the boys and five from the girls. This
will be a relay. You need to line up. The first players in each team will run to the front
where you will tear down the pyramid-tower. After tearing it down, stack it up in the same
formation, go back to your team, and tag the next person in the line, whose turn it will be
to unstack and then stack the cups. So on and so forth. Members of the first team to
finish will win 500 KC Bucks each. The non-winners will receive 200 KC Bucks each.

That was a fun game! Restitution is something like that. You commit a sin or offend
someone, like when you destroyed the pyramid. Then you repent and show evidence by
restitution, righting the wrong, like building the pyramid back up again!

The Bible tells us to produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt. 3:8). This means that
whenever possible, show that you are sorry, and not just say it. For example, your mom
tells you to pack away your toys, but you didn’t. She ends up tripping on your toys and
spilling the food she was holding. The best thing to do is to apologize right away, clean up
the mess yourself, and pack away your toys.

POINT TO JESUS

Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus. But it was Jesus who actually sought him out. Jesus
even invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house! It is the same today for us. Jesus wants a
relationship with us. He willingly died and paid for our sins so we can be reconciled to God
and spend eternity with Him.

PT: Jesus is our God who heals and saves us.


PV: John 17:2 And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life
to everyone you give him.

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HUDDLE TIME

1. How do you feel knowing that Jesus is with you?

2. When you commit a sin, what do you think you should do? (Direct them to the
conclusion that they can confess and repent to God and the person that they sinned
against. Then they can do restitution.)

TEACHER’S DEVOTIONAL

Zacchaeus badly wanted to catch even just a glimpse of Jesus that he threw away decorum
and climbed a tree. Then and even now, it is unseemly for a rich, important official to be
indulging in childhood or peasant pursuits like tree climbing. But Zacchaeus forgot about
his dignity in his desire to see Jesus. There was a hole in his heart that his riches could not
fill.

But wonder of all wonders, Jesus went straight to Zacchaeus’ tree and called out to him.
Not only that, the savior invited Himself to the sinner’s house!

Many times, we feel that we are pursuing God. We strain our necks to see over the crowd,
even climb trees, just to be close to Him. But it is actually God who is inviting Himself into
our lives. He wants to be close to us! He doesn’t want to be worshiped only from afar. The
creator of the universe, the eternal and timeless God wants a relationship with us. When
we understand this, pursuing and serving God are no longer struggles. The pressure is off;
there is gratitude and joy in our hearts as we draw closer to Him.

Find a partner. Encourage and pray for one another.

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