Zacchaeus Meets Jesus Bible Story & Lesson

BIBLE STORY: The Short Man In A Tree (Luke 19:1-10)

Preparation: Have the children stand an arm’s length from each other, if possible. Explain they are to move about in their own personal space and make any motions which fit the action of the story as they listen to it being told.

Story: Zacchaeus was sitting at his tax collector’s table counting money when he heard people around him say, “Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming here to Jericho.”

Zacchaeus pushed back his chair and jumped up! He wanted to see Jesus.

He started running in the direction the people were pointing. He ran and ran and ran until he came to a crowd of people. Zacchaeus was a short man and he could not see over the heads of the people in front of him.

So he stood on his tiptoes. He still could not see.

He stretched his neck up as high as he could while standing on his tiptoes. He still could not see Jesus.

Zacchaeus shrugged his shoulders and thought to himself: “What am I going to do? The people in front of me are bigger and taller than I am and I REALLY, REALLY want to see Jesus.”

Then -- over the heads of the people he saw a sycamore-fig tree. He didn’t take his eyes off that tree as he made his way around the crowd. He climbed up on a branch, sat down and waited for Jesus to come by.

When Jesus arrived at the tree, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down. I want to be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus’ eyes got big! Jesus was talking to HIM!

Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree. He skinned his knee getting down but he didn’t care. He was so happy Jesus wanted to go to his home! Zacchaeus could not stop smiling.

Zacchaeus’ life changed that day. Before he met Jesus, Zacchaeus was one of the biggest sinners in town. He took more money from the people than he should have. He ended up being rich because he cheated others.

Zacchaeus looked at Jesus and said: “I will give half of my wealth to the poor. I will also give back four times as much to those I have cheated.”

Jesus smiled at Zacchaeus and said, “You have been saved today. I have come to seek and save people who are lost.”

SONG: “Zacchaeus” (ABC’s of Praise album by Mary Rice Hopkins)

BIBLE VERSE: “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10, NLT). Explain that “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for Himself.


Explain that you are the leader and everyone is to follow what you do. Walk to a corner of the room and say the verse together. Walk to another area of the room, sit on the floor and quote the verse together. If possible, go out in the hallway and other areas. At each new location, say the verse. Continue as time allows.

MAKE ‘N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Zacchaeus In Sycamore Tree

Materials Needed for Each Child: Two pieces white cover stock paper, scissors, crayons, washable markers.

Activity: The children fold one sheet of the paper in half the long way, cut out a tree, and then color it. On the other sheet of paper they can draw and cut out Zacchaeus. He will need a slit between his legs so he will be able to sit in the tree. Encourage the boys and girls to take their project home and re-tell the Bible story to their families.

SNACK: Sycamore Tree

Needed for Each Child: Graham crackers broken into 1“ x 2 ½” pieces , white icing, green fruit loops, plastic knife, one sheet construction paper.

Activity: The children create trees from the graham crackers on a piece of construction paper. Icing is spread on the crackers and then green fruit loops placed to make leaves.

Christmas Joy - New Song by Mary Rice Hopkins

"Mary Rice Hopkins & Puppets with A Heart" are featured weekly on TBN's "Smile of a Child." The program schedule on Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. (PST), 9:30 a.m. (MT), 10:30 a.m. (CT), and 11:30 a.m. (EST).

The complete segment of CHRISTMAS JOY can be found on YouTube.

The First Christmas Day - Children's Lesson

BIBLE STORY: A Special Baby Is Born

Preparation: Make a sheep stick puppet. Pattern.
Story (Told by the sheep puppet): I was all tucked in for a good night’s sleep on the fields outside Bethlehem. The sky was really dark but I wasn’t afraid because our shepherds were watching over us. It was quite -- really, really quiet.

I was just about asleep, when I heard one of the shepherds say: “Do you see what I see?”

Another shepherd said, “Yes, and I’m scared.”

By now I was wide awake. So were my mommy and daddy and aunts and uncles and cousins. We were all looking up at the light in the sky!

An angel said: “Do not be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight.”

I was thinking, “You woke me up to say a baby has been born?”

The angel continued talking: “This is a very SPECIAL baby -- a Savior. His name is Jesus.”

And now the shepherds were talking: “A Savior? Can this be true?”

The angel said to the shepherds: “It's true. Baby Jesus is in Bethlehem. He's in a stable - all wrapped up in strips of cloth -- tucked in -- lying in a manger.”

And then suddenly the sky was FULL of angels! Angels everywhere! I looked up at my mommy and said: “Do you hear what I hear? The angels are all praising God!”

They were saying: "Glory to God in the highest.” Would you boys and girls say that with me: “Glory to God in the highest.” Let’s say it together again: “Glory to God in the highest.”

The shepherds fell on their knees to the ground in worship.

Then the angels in the sky left. The light disappeared. It was dark again. And quiet.
Then one of the shepherds said: “I wonder if what we just heard is true?”

Another responded: “It MUST be true! An angel told us! There's only one way to be sure. We must go to Bethlehem and find out.”

I scampered along with the shepherds as they hurriedly walked to Bethlehem and sure enough -- just as the angel had said -- there was Mary and Joseph. I quietly walked over to the manger and peeked in. And there was baby Jesus all wrapped up warm and sleeping.

After seeing baby Jesus, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about the Child. Then we all went back to our hillside. The shepherds were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him.

SONG: “The First Christmas Day” (by Mary Rice Hopkins - Mary Christmas album)

BIBLE VERSE: “A Savior has been born.” (Luke 2:11, NIV)


The teacher quotes the scripture and reference and tags a child who then repeats the verse with the teacher. The tagged pupil tags someone else and all three say the verse. Continue until all have been tagged.

MAKE ‘N TAKE CREATIVE ACTIVITY: Sheep Stick Puppet (See Picture)

Materials Needed for Each Child: Sheep pattern found at:; white cover paper; cotton balls; crayons; masking tape or glue; scissors; tongue depressor.

Activity: The children cut out the sheep pattern, glue on cotton balls and color as desired. The tongue depressor can be attached to the back side with masking tape or glue. Encourage the boys and girls to tell the Bible story to their families using their puppets.


Allow children to re-create the Bible story using Play-Doh. They can make sheep, a star, the manger with Baby Jesus, sheep, etc. Homemade Play-Doh recipes can be found at:

SNACK: Sheep Sugar Cookies

Needed for Each Child: A sheep-shaped sugar cookie; white icing, white miniature marshmallows, one M & M candy; plastic spoon

Activity: The children spread icing on the sheep with the back of a plastic spoon and then add marshmallows for the wool and an M & M candy for the eye.