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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6 KJV

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    Sunday, October 20, 2013

    The bible story of Zacchaeus can help teach kids that no matter what they've done in their lives or will do, Jesus loves them and will forgive them. Kids should always be taught God is a forgiving God and if they truly are sorry for what they've done, God will forgive them. They will also understand the importance of loving others and sharing God's word.

    They can always start new and fresh without having to worry if God still loves them - He does.

    Zacchaeus Tree - Jericho
    Photo Courtesy of Tango7174, Wikikmedia


    One day, Jesus was going to the city of Jericho. A crowd of people were gathered around to see Jesus as he walked by. Behind the crowd, a man was trying to see Jesus but couldn't.

    Ask the kids, "Why do you think he couldn't see?"

    Wait for answers.

    The bible tells us he was little of stature. This meant that he wasn't very tall at all. His name was Zacchaeus.

    Zacchaeus was a tax collector. A tax collector's job was to collect money the people owed the government, but Zacchaeus always took more money than he was suppose to take.

    Guess what he did with the extra money.

    He put it in his own pocket! He became very rich, but he was lonely. You see, all the people knew Zacchaeus took more money than he was suppose to, so no one liked him.

    He may have been rich, but he had no friends.

    Even if Zacchaeus would have tried to make his way to the front of the crowd to see Jesus, no one would have let him through because they didn't like him.

    So, Zacchaeus came up with a plan.

    The Sycamore Tree

    Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so badly he decided to run ahead of the crowd to find a spot so he could see. As he ran up the road, he saw a sycamore tree.

    Ask, "What do you think he did when he came to the sycamore tree?"

    Wait for answers.

    He climbed right up into the tree!

    Now, he would be able to see Jesus. He may have been shorter than the others in the crowd, but he would be able to see Jesus better than most.

    While he sat in the tree, Jesus came walking by. But, instead of walking past Zacchaeus sitting in the tree, he walked right up to him.

    Jesus looked right up in the tree and said, "Zacchaeus, come down because I am going to your house." (Luke 19:5 KJV)

    How did Jesus know his name? Did you know Jesus knows everyone's name?

    Point to the kids and say, "Jesus knows _________ name and he knows _________ name." Fill in the blanks with the kids in your class.

    Zacchaeus quickly came down out of the tree. The bible tells us that when the people in the crowd saw Jesus talking to Zacchaeus and then going to his house, they began to talk amongst themselves.

    They couldn't understand why Jesus would want to go to Zacchaeus's house. He was a cheat and a liar. He took their money and was rich because he stole from them. How could Jesus want to spend time with him?

    What We Learn

    Think about this for a minute - why would Jesus want to spend time with a cheater and a liar? Why not spend time with someone who already believes in him and loves him?

    Jesus knew that Zacchaeus needed him. He knew that Zacchaeus needed to know about God. No one in town liked Zacchaeus. How would he ever know how much God loved him and how to get to heaven if no one told him?

    You see, because Jesus took the time to talk to Zacchaeus, the bible tells us that salvation came to his house (Luke 19:9 KJV).

    Talk to the kids about the following:

    If you have Jesus in your heart, one day when you get to heaven, you'll see Zacchaeus there.

    Maybe you have kids in your class at school that no one likes or you have people in your family that you'd rather not be around. Instead of not talking to them, try telling them about Jesus or being a friend.

    Not everyone will want to hear about Jesus, but some will. How will you ever know if you don't try?

    You can pray for that person and ask God to help them too. Remember, God can do anything and you can ask him for anything.

    After Zacchaeus was saved, he knew he had done all the people wrong. He decided to give half of what he owned to the poor and anyone who he took money from, he game them 4 times as much back.

    Bible Verse for this Lesson

    Romans 13:8 KJV
    ...for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    Even though Zacchaeus didn't always do what was right, Jesus loved him. Do you think that after Zacchaeus was saved, he never did anything wrong again?


    We all make mistakes, but God loves us no matter what.

    When we make a mistake, we need only to ask God to forgive us just as Zacchaeus did.


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