- Tell the story of Zacchaeus meeting Jesus (based on Luke 19:1-10)
- Last week, we heard how Jesus met and healed someone on the road to Jericho. Who can remember who it was? Bartimaeus the blind beggar.
- Today, we will learn about how Jesus met another person in Jericho. He wasn’t blind. He wasn’t poor. In fact, he was very rich. But he wasn’t well liked and he was short. His name was Zacchaeus, and he was a chief tax collector.
- We’ve learned last time who a tax collector is —Tax collectors were Jews who helped the Roman government to collect taxes from their own people. Jews hated the Romans. So they also hated the tax collectors who worked for the Roman government. The tax collectors also often collected extra money for themselves. So if they were supposed to collect 100 dollars, they would collect 150 dollars instead and keep 50 dollars for themselves.
- So Zacchaeus was not popular among the Jews because they saw him as a traitor and a cheat. And for all the money he had, he felt that there was something missing in his life. He wasn’t a happy man.
- One day, he heard that Jesus was passing through. He must have heard good things about Jesus. He knew that Jesus was friends with many tax collectors. There was something different about Him — He was not like all the other teachers of the law or Pharisees. If only he could just see Him … But Zacchaeus was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead, and he climbed a sycamore tree, to catch a glimpse of Jesus.
b. JESUS CALLS:
- When Jesus reached the spot:
- He looked up and saw Zacchaeus — He had come for him
- He called him by name — He knew him already!
- He invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house
- What’s the result of Zacchaeus warmly welcoming Jesus into his house? What effect did it have on him?
- Zacchaeus stood up and told Jesus, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
- Last time we learnt about the rich young ruler who thought he could earn eternal life by obeying all the laws himself — when Jesus told him that his wealth was his idol, he could not accept it and went away sadly.
- But for Zacchaeus, a tax collector who knew how unrighteous he was — he knew there was no way he could earn salvation on his own. But when Jesus came into his house and touched his heart, he was transformed. He could give up his money willingly and generously.
d. JESUS SAVES:
- The people around were not so happy. “Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” They thought that Zacchaeus was not worthy to have Jesus in his house and wondered why Jesus would “waste” His time with a sinner.
- Jesus told them, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
- Jesus came to save the lost. Those who thought they were good enough didn’t want to be saved, so He came to those who knew they were not good enough.
- And because Zacchaeus received Jesus into his house and heart, he was saved and had eternal life.
e. JESUS DOES THE SAME TODAY
- Today Jesus also does the same:
- He looks for us — while we were lost sinners
- He calls us by name — He knows us before we were born
- He invites Himself to our hearts
- We can all be like Zacchaeus and welcome Jesus happily.
- And we can let Jesus transform our lives and give us eternal life in Him!
- Memory verse: Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
4. Activity Suggestion
- Song: Zacchaeus was a wee little man
- Worksheets: Crossword puzzles
- Get kids into groups and share: Jesus looked for them and calls them by name. Have they accepted Him into their hearts? Pray for them.