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Zaccheaus Makes A Change Bible Lesson

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In A Nutshell

The story of Zaccheaus the tax collector is about change. It is about how a person, no matter what they have done in their life, can always change for the better. Jesus recognizes that we have the capacity to change for the good, and he is waiting for us to make that change so that we can be with him. This Bible lesson about Zaccheaus teaches children that just like Zaccheaus, they too might have to make some changes in their life, but the end result is an eternity of glory with God.

Ages:

Tweens, Teens

Estimated Time

20 - 40 minutes depending on how long you play the Make A Change game.

Scripture

Luke 19:1-10

What You Will Need

  • Make A Change game. See related activities.

Warm Up Activity

Make A Change game.

Bible Lesson

Today’s lesson comes from the New Testament book of Luke. There was once a man name Zaccheaus. Nobody liked Zaccheaus because he was a tax collector. He got rich by taking money from other people and giving it to the Romans. People didn’t like the Romans either. They had come and made the people do things they didn’t want to do, like pay taxes.

Most of the tax collectors were very greedy and took more than they were required. The more they took, the more they got to keep. So Zaccheaus was a very rich man, but he didn’t have many friends. He also wasn’t very tall. In fact, he was rather small.

Zaccheaus lived in the town of Jericho. You may remember a story about Jericho from the Old Testament where Joshua and his army brought the walls down by blowing their trumpets. This is the same town but many, many years later after it had been rebuilt.

One day the people of Jericho were very excited. They had heard that Jesus was coming to their city. They had heard about his wonderful teachings and the miracles he had performed. Everyone was excited to see him. Everyone including Zaccheaus.

When the day of Jesus’ arrival came, the people filled the streets. Everyone wanted a chance to see and hear Jesus. Zaccheaus left his home and went out into the town to see him too. But remember, Zaccheaus was not very tall. A lot of people had come to see Jesus. A lot of tall people. From the back of the crowd everyone towered over him, and Zaccheaus could not see anything. He tried to push his way to the front of the crowd, but no one would let him pass. He tried jumping up and down. He found an old water jar. He turned it upside down and climbed on top of it. But nothing he tried got him tall enough to see Jesus.

Then he had an idea. Up ahead, in the direction Jesus was walking, were some trees. Jesus would be walking by an old Sycamore tree whose ancient branches bowed over the road. Zaccheaus hurried ahead. It took him several tries, but he was finally able to climb the tree and find a place to sit and wait for Jesus.

It didn’t take long for Jesus and the crowd to reach the tree, but instead of walking on by, Jesus did an amazing thing. He look up into the tree straight at Zaccheaus. Then he did something even more amazing. He said, “Zaccheaus, come down from that tree. I must stay at your house today.”

Zaccheaus was so surprised that Jesus knew his name that he almost fell out the tree. And Jesus wanted to stay at his house? Trying hard to contain his excitement, Zaccheaus slid down from the tree and started walking with Jesus toward his house.

The rest of the town’s people were not happy. “Why would Jesus want to go with a greedy sinner like Zaccheaus?” said one person.

“He cheats and steals from us,” said another.

“He is not good enough for a man like Jesus to be with,” said another.

Zaccheaus heard what they were saying, and I am sure that Jesus did too. He thought about their words and realized that they were right. He needed to make some changes to be worthy of the wonderful gift Jesus was offering. Zaccheaus turned around to speak to Jesus. “Lord,” he said. “Right now, I will give half of everything I own to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times that amount.”

This made Jesus very happy. Jesus smiled down at Zaccheaus and said. “Today salvation has come to the house of Zaccheaus. You were a sinner and lost, but now you have been found and saved. That is why I have come, to seek and to save the lost.”

Discussion

  • Why did Jesus say he had come? (To seek and save the lost).
  • Why did Jesus seek out Zaccheaus? (Because he was a sinner and was lost).
  • What did Zaccheaus do when he met Jesus? (He wanted to walk with the Lord. To do this he knew he had to change).
  • How was Zaccheaus rewarded for the changes he made? (he received the ultimate gift of God’s salvation).
  • Is Jesus still looking for those that are lost? (Yes).
  • How does he look for us if he no longer walks on earth? (Jesus went to heaven but he remains with us in spirit, through the Holy Spirit. He couldn’t come to each of us individually while walking on earth, but he can come to each of us in spirit. He wants us to invite him to our house and into our heart so that we can receive the salvation he offers. He wants to to make changes in our lives so we can receive his wonderful gift).

Prayer

I want each of you to take a few moments and think of some changes you might need to make in your life. Then each of us will say a silent prayer and talk to God about the changes we need to make.

About Jeff and Becky


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