Leader Notes If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17
Lesson Focus: It is by grace, through faith, that we have been saved. Our salvation cannot be earned. It is underserved by us and yet graciously bestowed upon us by God who loves us so much He sent His only Son to the cross. None of us is better or sins less than another. So then, having received God’s grace, how should we act? Can we go on sinning because we have already received His grace? No, we are to model God’s saving grace to others. When we work to bring glory to God, we are acting in response to His love for us. His love and mercy for us is so great, we can’t help but to be compelled to respond in the way we live our lives. Anything we do is not for our own credit. It is for God’s glory. (Example of Zacchaeus’ response to Jesus. Upon Jesus’ extended grace, Zacchaeus immediately gave half of his possessions to the poor and paid back those he cheated 4 times the amount. Zacchaeus’ actions were not to earn him favor. They were in response to the love Jesus showed.)
Bible Story Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10
Open your Bible so children can see you “reading” God’s Word. Show them your Bible and the words to they know what you’re saying is coming from God’s Word. Use Tell the Story idea below.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17
Jesus entered Jericho. The people of Jericho heard that He was coming and began to line the streets. There was a man named Zacchaeus who lived in Jericho. “He was a chief tax collector and was very rich.” (Luke 19:2b NIrV) Zacchaeus wasn’t just any other tax collector; he was in charge of many other tax collectors.
Zacchaeus had also heard that Jesus was coming and he wanted to see Jesus. Who knows, maybe Zacchaeus had heard Jesus’ parable about the tax collector and the religious leader (Luke 18:9-14). He might have even heard about the tax collector, Matthew, who was now one of the twelve who traveled around with Jesus.
There was a problem, though. Zacchaeus was a short man. He couldn’t see above the crowd that lined the streets. To make that even more difficult, tax collectors were not well liked. The religious leader even said that tax collectors had no part with the people of God,¹ so no one offered to let Zacchaeus come stand in front of them. That didn’t stop Zacchaeus, though. Zacchaeus had an idea. His idea wasn’t very dignified, but Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree. How many men do you know are as important as Zacchaeus who would run past a crowd and climb a tree? Amazing!
The tree that Zacchaeus climbed was good for climbing. It had short trunks and a lot of branches. Zacchaeus would have climbed it quickly; he sat there to wait for Jesus to pass by.
“When Jesus got there, he looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry down! I want to stay with you today.’” (Luke 19:5 CEV) Does it surprise you that, in the large crowd, Jesus knew where Zacchaeus was? Did you notice that Jesus knew his name?
Zacchaeus didn’t make excuses. He “came down at once and welcomed [Jesus] gladly.” (Luke 19:6 NIrV) The crowd saw what happened and they began to grumble and complain. They were shocked that Jesus would choose to “be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” (Luke 19:7b NIrV) But Zacchaeus trusted the Lord. He was willing to do what the rich young ruler wouldn’t do. Because his heart had been changed by God, Zacchaeus offered to give half of what he owned to the poor. With the other half, he was willing to pay back anyone he had cheated. He promised to give them back four times the amount he had taken. This was more than the law would make him pay, but he offered to pay it anyway.² Zacchaeus wasn’t simply having Jesus in his home and saying he believed in Him. Zacchaeus was acting on what he believed. And so, “Jesus said to Zacchaeus, ’Today salvation has come to your house. . . The Son of Man came to look for the lost and save them.’” Luke 19:9a, 10 NIrV)
Bible Challenge Read this passage from your Bible. Ask students to locate it in a Bible too. Help them learn this verse.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Memory Verse Poster
Create a memory verse poster by writing the words on the board. Ask students to copy the words and to create a memory verse poster.
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17
Send the posters home or hang them up in your room!
Activity Ideas Tasting Activity Bring fig cookies for a snack today. Explain that the Sycamore tree is also called a mulberry-fig tree with fig-like fruit.
Re-enact the lesson
Sing! Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man Zacchaeus was a wee little man. A wee little man was he. He climbed up in the sycamore tree, the Savior for to see. And when the Savior passed that way, he looked up in the tree, And he said, “Zacchaeus, you come down from there; For I’m going to your house today, for I’m going to your house today.” And Zacchaeus came down from that tree, and he said, “What a better man I’ll be. I’ll give my money to the poor. What a better man I’ll be. What a better man I’ll be.”
Pray Dear Lord Jesus, You died for my sin. You washed me clean. Give me a heart that joyfully serves others in Your name. May all that I do, Jesus, bring glory to You. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Blessing:May God, who is all around you, Beginning at the bottom of the circle, slowly pour his love upon you.make a large circle with your hands. Finish by bringing your hands down and wiggling the fingers to resemble rain.) And Jesus, his life a sacrifice,Slowly make a large sign of the cross. Then walk right there beside you.move your hands out to the sides. And may God’s Holy Spirit, Cross your hands over the heart. the one who lives inside you, keep you strong, Move to a “strong man” position. Then comfort, lead and guide you!cross your arms with the hands on corresponding upper arms to communicate comfort. Bring one hand forward with “lead” and the other with “guide” to complete the blessing.)