Many of us remember learning the story about this “wee little man” as children. As kids, we were probably fascinated by the short Zacchaeus climbing up in a sycamore tree, but there is such an amazing truth demonstrated by Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus. As you do these activities with your kids this week, don’t miss the truth – Jesus came to seek and save us even when we were lost. Hallelujah!
This week your child learned that Jesus cares for us and loves us all, even though we are sinners. Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector. He was a man who cheated others out of their money, so many people did not like Zacchaeus. One day, Jesus was coming to his town and Zacchaeus wanted to see Him, but he was a short man. In order to see over the crowds, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree. When Jesus passed by, He called out to Zacchaeus and told him to come down and that He would be coming to his house. Zacchaeus admitted to Jesus all he had done wrong and offered to repay the money. Zacchaeus rejoiced because he was forgiven. (Luke 19:1-10)
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
Instead of just reading the story together on the couch or around the kitchen table, take your little one outside or to a park where he can climb a tree just like Zacchaeus. You can review the story with him or even act it out with you being Jesus and calling out to “Zacchaeus” to come down from the tree that you need to stay at his house. When finished acting out or reading the story, spread a blanket on the ground and have a snack while discussing the story using these questions:
What kind of person was Zacchaeus before he met Jesus?
Why do you think Jesus wanted to go to Zacchaeus’ house?
Does Jesus love us because we are good?
What difference did being loved by Jesus make in Zacchaeus’ life?
Does Jesus love you no matter what?
Do you love Jesus? What are some ways we can show Jesus that we love Him and are thankful that He loves us?
Grab a white or green paper plate and cut it in half. Help your child decorate the plate to make it look like the top of a tree. If you want, use a green ink pad and your child’s fingerprints as the leaves. For the trunk of the tree, color a wide craft stick brown and tape or glue it to the paper plate. Use a plastic spoon and draw a face in the center to be Zacchaeus. Your child can act out the story with by placing Zacchaeus in the tree and having him come when Jesus called him.
During snack time this week, let your children create a tree out of grapes & pretzel sticks. Cut many green grapes in half and get some thin pretzel sticks and even a long pretzel rod. On a plate, let your child make a tree using the grapes and pretzels, then add a teddy graham to the tree to be Zacchaeus and one on the ground to be Jesus.
Father thank you for helping us see this Truth today. Thank you for sending Jesus to seek and save the lost. Help us to give you more of our heart and to respond to this Truth in a way that honors and glorifies you.