Faith Quest

 

Zacchaeus

 

GOOD NEWS

 

 

Scripture:  Luke 19: 1-10

 

Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not relay on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

 

Concepts:

Ø      God loves us no matter what mistakes we have made.

Ø      When we choose to follow Jesus, God changes our whole life

 

Objectives:        

Jesus was still on his journey to Jerusalem ministering to people along the way.  Zacchaeus is the last outcast that Jesus encounters before going to Jerusalem.  This story is about salvation. The salvation of Zacchaeus is more than the conversion of one’s soul, His salvation represents a story about how “salvation can have personal, domestic, social and economic dimensions” – the whole life is touched by Jesus (Craddock, 22).  Once we are saved we become different in many ways.

 

In the Good News Lesson we hope to:

  1. Provide the children with an understanding that Jesus is the hero here not Zacchaeus
  2. Demonstrate to the children that our life being saved is an urgent need, one that we do not want to put off
  3. To assist in explaining to the students how Jesus loves everyone, even people of authority that might follow societies rules but not the Word of God
  4. Allow time for the students to discover what they would have done to “see” Jesus and do what is right

 

Procedure:                  

Welcome and Introductions:

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself.  (Or if you are going to “be” Zacchaeus, have the Shepherd get the children in place – read the scripture and introduce you.)

 

2.      Explain the purpose of this workshop. This would be the Shepherd or the Good News Teacher – depending on who is “not” going to be Zacchaeus.

 

Today we are going to discuss the life of a Roman tax collector and how his life changed when he met Jesus.  We will once again discover that God loves us no matter what mistakes we make or have made.  We are going to find out how our love for Jesus causes us to make changes in the way we do things.  We are going to pretend to be reporters, interviewing Zacchaeus. 

After we recite our memory verse and read the scripture lesson, we are going to be reporters interviewing a historical figure from the Bible. 

 

 

Scripture/Bible Story:

1.      Have the Children to stand and say the memory verse.  (You may want to have the verse on poster board.)

2.      Ask them to bow their heads for prayer.

3.      Have them sit and open their Bibles to the Scripture.  Ask who would like to read, or have them to each read a verse.  At the end – you might want to provide a sticker to the children who brought their own Bibles.   

 

Application:

1.      As the teacher of this lesson you need to decide which of the following are best/easiest for you to conduct the interview with Zacchaeus.  Here are the choices I can think of to allow for an interview:

a.       You play the role of Zacchaeus and have the Shepherd introduce the lesson.  This means getting in touch with the Shepherds prior to the lesson each Sunday.

b.      You play the role of Zacchaeus, and do everything yourself.  Right before the interview is to take place, leave the room and come back “dressed” as a Roman Tax Collector.

c.       Find a youth and/or male adult to play Zacchaeus for you:  I suggest a student from the High School class, or an adult who has worked with children who is rather short. 

d.      Have the students work in small groups and interview each other. (See item #4)

 

2.      After the students have read the scripture, spend a brief time explaining the story and going over important words.  Here are some words to review with them:

a.       Tax collector – during the Roman Time Period, men were hired by the Government to collect the taxes from all citizens and men working in the Roman Empire.  If the tax collector could get more than the person owed the government, the tax collector was able to keep the extra money.  This is why tax collectors were not liked by many people – they were considered greedy and dishonest. 

b.      Zacchaeus’ name means innocent or clean.

c.       Sycamore trees were large evergreen trees, easy to climb and produced an inferior fig.

d.      A Roman official, as the tax collector was – he would have been looked down upon for climbing a tree.  Climbing a tree is not something an adult man would have done. 

e.       Restitution – means to repent and to repay back to others

f.        Salvation – when one believes in Christ/God they are saved.  To repent and ask forgiveness and to become a child of God is what we all want to do. Salvation comes to all who believe in Jesus Christ. 

 

3.      For the younger students (if you are having Zacchaeus visit your group) I suggest using the following questions.  You may have to assist a few in reading their question for the interview.  The Shepherd may know who can read and who can’t, so ask them to pass out the questions. 

 

Ø      Zacchaeus why were you a tax collector for Roman? 

Ø      Zacchaeus, did you take extra money from people and use it for your own family? 

Ø      What did the people say to you when they saw you climb up the tree to see Jesus walking down the street?  Did they laugh at you?

Ø      Did you have many friends as a tax collector before you met Jesus?

Ø      When you brought Jesus home for dinner did your wife get upset that you brought home a stranger and did not ask her?

Ø       Was your wife glad to meet Jesus as you were? 

Ø      How did you find out about who Jesus was? 

Ø      Were you afraid to talk to Him? 

Ø      Did people follow you and Jesus home to your house?  Were the town people jealous that Jesus was spending time with you, a tax collector without many friends?

Ø      What did Jesus tell you at your home? 

Ø      How did it make you feel that Jesus selected your house to have dinner in? 

Ø      After He left your house and the town, what did you do?  What did you tell the people?

Ø      Did you really give your money away as the story tells us you did? 

 

*See questions and “possible” answers at the end of the lesson.

 

4.      If the group is older and they work well together, have them pair up and write up questions to ask Zacchaeus and other characters.  I would have a few questions on hand to make sure your “Zacchaeus” is prepared for the questions.  Or you could have the students to interview each other and noted characters in the lesson using the following to assist you.

 

Each pair and/or triad would “be” a character.  They would come up with questions and answers for their character. Please remind them to use their Bible to re-read the scripture.  After each group has their questions and answers, they would take turns interviewing their character in front of the group.  (I suggest having colored dots and give all the “characters” one color dot and the interviewers another color).  This will speed the process along on who will do what.

Small Groups: It is okay if more than one group has the same character, they will come up with a different perspective on the story and they will all learn something. If there is a “trouble” student, have them to be the anchor and prep them as the others work on their questions.  If possible, video tape the interviews and then play back at the end of the lesson.

 

Ø      Zacchaeus

Ø      Jesus

Ø      Zacchaeus’ wife

Ø      Grumbling town people

Ø      Some one who was cheated out of money by a tax collector

 

Tell the students in pairs/triads that they need to think about how they would have felt if they had been on the street the day Jesus walked down the street and asked Zacchaeus to come down from the tree.  What would they like to ask the character they have?  What are the answers based on what they have heard and read from the Bible.  They could include a question about what is it like to be unpopular and/or made fun of because you are short, or different.  Give them at least 10 minutes to create the questions.  Monitor the small groups and assist where needed in coming up with a question and/or an answer to one of their questions.

 

5.      The group interviews take place for the older students. 

 

Reflection Time:

Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.

Prompts for journal writing:  List a mistake Zacchaeus made. List a mistake you have made and have asked God to forgive you.  OR What is a change you have made in your life because you know Jesus loves you and you are to show His love to others?

 

Closing:

PrayerSuggestions for the closing prayer – Dear God, thank you for loving each one of us, no matter what we do.  Help us to love and accept each other. Help us to reach out and support others and help us to understand you love all people.  Amen

 

Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Close/lock the door and turn off the lights. The pillows from the Puppet room need to be placed back in the closet.  You might want to store your story props in the closet as well, since others use this room.

 

 

Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

2.      Prepare an opening prayer for your lesson.  

 

3.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

4.      Please read the scriptures.  Decide on how you want to approach the interview.  Plan accordingly.  If Zacchaeus is going to visit, help the “man” with the costume.  Maybe a sheet to wrap around their clothes, a pair of sandals.  A few pieces of gold jewelry to show off wealth. 

 

 

Suggested Supply List

Ø      Stickers for rewards if you so desire

Ø      Questions and answers

Ø      Costume for Zacchaeus

Ø      A microphone for the “interviews”

Ø      Video Camera and TV if you want to record the interviews

Ø      Questions and answers for younger children – and/or possible questions to provide older students for their “interview” teams.

 

 

Questions and Answers

 

Ø      Zacchaeus why were you a tax collector for Roman? 

o       It was a great and easy way to make money.  I can persuade folks to do just about anything.  I had fun taking money from the town people.  I also liked getting to go to Rome and meeting other government leaders.  I felt my job was important.

 

Ø      Zacchaeus, did you take extra money from people and use it for your own family? 

o       What do you mean extra money?  Caesar did not always pay us what he said he would! So if I could make a little extra on the side to buy food and clothes for my family, I saw nothing wrong with that.

 

Ø      What did the people say to you when they saw you climb up the tree to see Jesus walking down the street?  Did they laugh at you?

o       Many folks asked me why I was running toward the big tree!  I told them I had to see this great man named Jesus that was coming to our town.  I had heard he had performed miracles and I wanted to see what he looked like.  The only place I could see him was to climb the tree.  As I told you before, I do not care what others think of me.

 

Ø      Did you have many friends as a tax collector before you met Jesus?

o       Not too many friends.  The Roman soldiers were my friends and they helped to protect my family and me.  I lived in a neighborhood that was rather well off and we were nice to each other. After Jesus left and I told the folks that as a believer in the good news, that I would never take advantage of them again.  At first a few folks believed me, and then others began speaking to me when they found out I meant what I said.

 

Ø      When you brought Jesus home for dinner did your wife get upset that you brought home a stranger and did not ask her?

o       At first she looked at me like I was crazy, because we did not often share our food.  When I told her it was Jesus the man we had heard about she was fine.  She prepared the best meal ever! 

 

Ø       Was your wife glad to meet Jesus as you were? 

o       She was very glad to meet Jesus.  She told him she was glad He had stopped by our house and wanted to help us see the light and change our ways.

 

Ø      How did you find out about who Jesus was? 

o       A few times I had to travel to turn in my tax collections and I read town flyers about this man who healed the sick.  I heard the Roman Officials speak of a man who would not bow down and worship the government and this made me interested in him. 

 

Ø      Were you afraid to talk to Him? 

o       When Jesus told me to get down out of that tree, I was afraid at first because everyone heard him. Once I was on the ground and we walked and He began to tell me the good news about how to be saved, I was no longer afraid.  He was the nicest person I ever met.

 

Ø      Did people follow you and Jesus home to your house?  Were the town people jealous that Jesus was spending time with you, a tax collector without many friends?

o       Some folks called out unkind names as we walked away.  A few hung out by our front door hoping to see him before He left.  I think a few folks were jealous, because there were religious people in the town that believed in Him when at first I did not.

 

Ø      What did Jesus tell you at your home? 

o       He said that I was a son of Abraham.  He came to seek and save the lost.  He said I was lost and that I needed to believe so I would have eternal life.  He was kind and wise.  I believed what he told my family and me.

 

Ø      How did it make you feel that Jesus selected your house to have dinner in? 

o       I was proud.  I also felt a little guilty.  I knew He knew that I was a Roman Tax collector and that many folks did not care for us.

 

 

Ø      After He left your house and the town, what did you do?  What did you tell the people?

o       I went to several homes and gave money back to them.  I had over charged them on their taxes.  It made me feel honest and pure.  I told the people I would never cheat them again, that they could trust me. Of course many did not believe me at first.  Being a role model for what you say you believe is sometimes the best message. 

 

Ø      Did you really give your money away as the story tells us you did? 

o       I gave some back to people that I had over charged.  I did what I told Jesus I would do.

 

Other questions?

 

References

 

Lori Houck’s Bible Study Lessons

Amy Crane Workshop Rotation online (www.rotation.org)

Craddock, Fred. “Luke.” Interpretation.  James Luther Mays, et al. editors. (Louisville, John Knox Press, 1990).