The Short Man In A Tree - Zacchaeus Meets Jesus

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:  "Come Meet Jesus" from Come Meet Jesus album by Mary Rice Hopkins.

Make 'N Take Creative Activity Materials Needed for Each Child: Two pieces white cover stock paper, scissors, crayons, washable markers.

Make 'N Take 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.