Here at Fillmore Kids we’re in the second week of a four-week series called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” based on a set of lessons from Ministry-to-Children.com. Each week we learn about a time where Jesus shared a meal with someone. Last week we explored the story of Jesus and the Wedding at Cana and this week we covered the story of Zacchaeus.
Goal: Today we will learn the importance of the values of acceptance, inclusion, and love that Jesus promotes in his interactions with Zacchaeus.
Key Scripture: “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.” – Luke 19:5-6
Here’s What You Need
- Big book on the story of Zacchaeus
- Masking tape
- Butcher paper
- Plain paper
Introduction: Fill a shoebox with some treats and place the box in a location where it would be too high for the children to see into it. Point out the box and tell the children that there is something really cool inside of it, then ask if they would like to see its contents. Allow the children to stand and crane their necks, even jump to try to see what is inside, but do not allow them to touch the box. Discuss the following questions:
- How does it make you feel when you cannot see something you really would like to see?
- Can you think of a time when you haven’t been able to see something you really wanted to see?
Take the box and share the treats with the children. Explain that today we will be learning about a person who had a hard time seeing something he really wanted to see: Jesus!
Lesson: Read the story of Zacchaeus aloud from the big book. Afterwards, discuss the following questions:
- Why didn’t Zacchaeus didn’t have any friends?
- How was Zacchaeus finally able to see Jesus?
- How did Jesus include Zacchaeus and show him love?
Play the game “Zacchaeus, Come Down!” Place several pieces of masking tape on the floor throughout the room, one for each child. Have each child stand on a piece of masking tape and explain that they must keep their feet on the masking tape at all times. Blow up a balloon and explain that it represents Zacchaeus. Explain that the people of the town didn’t like Zacchaeus and didn’t want him to come down from the tree to spend time with Jesus. Tell the children that they are going to pretend that they are the townspeople and must try to keep the balloon (Zacchaeus) off the ground without stepping off of their piece of tape. If the group is large, add extra balloons into the mix.
Afterwards, talk about the importance of acceptance and inclusion, like what Jesus showed to Zacchaeus. Explain that no matter what we have done in the past, Jesus loves us and is willing to forgive us, so we need to be willing to show that same grace others.
Conclusion: Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.
What Would You Do?: Tape a length of butcher paper to the wall and provide crayons and markers. Have the children draw pictures on the butcher paper of what they would do with Jesus if he came to visit their house. Below are just a few of the responses from the kids. Can you tell I have a few sixth grade boys in our group? 😉
He Knows Your Name: Help the kids to make name plates featuring their name. Outline the bubble letters for them, then allow them to color them in and decorate them as they choose.
Zacchaeus, Come Down!: Allow the children to continue to play the “Zacchaeus, Come Down!” game with the balloons.
Last week I mentioned my new year’s resolution to have some sort of “show what you know” experience incorporated into each lesson. Last Sunday we added the first two plates to our “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” display and this Sunday we added another (I was a delinquent and didn’t remember to have the second group do theirs. Whoops!)