Thanks for joining us again as we do Children’s Worship from home! Today we are reminded that as Gods’ children we’re a part of a bigger family: God’s family! God wants everyone to be part of His family. When we choose to trust and obey Jesus, we become part of God’s family. Today, we’ll hear the story (from the Sissons!) of how Jesus called Zacchaeus to be a part of his family!
Please let us know about how your family is enjoying Children’s Worship! Take some pictures of your family participating in Children’s Worship or share a story. You can post to the Gold Avenue Church Facebook page or send by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Activity One: Watch the video(s)
Activity Two: Discuss the story using provided questions as prompts
Activity Three: Respond to the story by doing the activity(s). Pray together.
Activity Four: Bless your children
Offers perspective and context to the lesson’s Bible passage
In Luke 19, a tax collector and notorious sinner named Zacchaeus fought the crowds to see Jesus. He found something so compelling about Christ that he sprinted ahead of the crowd, climbed a tree, and watched as Jesus passed. Some scholars have surmised that first-century men found it improper to run. Such an activity was considered highly inappropriate and even scandalous, since it was viewed as childlike. One might conclude that climbing trees would also be socially unacceptable. Zacchaeus broke these social parameters to see Jesus. There was no guarantee Zacchaeus would have any interaction with Jesus or that he’d witness something miraculous. Yet he was willing to potentially humiliate himself to get a brief glimpse of Jesus. That sort of faith caught Jesus’ eye.
Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). In Christianity, to be “saved” is usually used in reference to our salvation—a life where we are freed from the penalty of sin and given a new life with Christ now, as well as after death. However, it’s interesting to note the depth behind this passage. The word “save” in verse 10 is the Greek word sõzõ . This word can mean to rescue someone from danger, destruction, or even illness. Jesus came to find those who were broken inside and make them well.
Zacchaeus was on a path toward destruction, and the crowd was displeased that Jesus chose to stay with someone with such a miserable reputation. Tax collectors were known as notoriously greedy, corrupt thieves. They often collected fines above what the government required, pocketing the profits for themselves. Others viewed him as a traitor to his nation, which kept him from being in community with them. Therefore, Zacchaeus’s love for material things probably consumed his life. Yet, when Jesus showed Zacchaeus God’s true, unconditional love, his whole life was changed. The power of God’s love healed his very soul.
Activity 1: STORY
Watch the video about Zacchaeus:
Activity 2: DISCUSSION
Today we heard in The Big God Story about Zacchaeus and how much he wanted to see Jesus. Jesus saw into his heart and provided the way for him to be part of God’s family.
I wonder … What would it be like to have Jesus come to my house?
I wonder … Was it easy for Zacchaeus to give his things away?
I wonder … Who can be part of God’s family?
Activity 3: RESPONSE ACTIVITY
God wants everyone to be part of His family. God loves us so much, and He wants us to be with Him forever. Isn’t that exciting? We can be part of God’s family! Let’s take a minute to praise God for wanting us to be part of His family.
What would you like to tell God as we praise Him? You can say whatever you feel like. God just wants to hear what’s on your heart, because you’re His child. I’ll start. “Dear God, I praise You for (insert personal response).” Encourage children to respond with their own words. You can also work on this “Zacchaeus in a Tree” project while you talk.
(Optional) Reverse Musical Chairs
This game will serve as a fun illustration that God wants everyone to be part of His family—not just a select few.
- Upbeat worship music
Place two chairs in the center of the room. Have others ready to add.
Encourage children to form a circle around the two chairs. Let’s play a game that’s like Musical Chairs, but with a twist! Instead of taking chairs away, we’re going to add chairs, because there’s always room for someone else in God’s big family.
Cue the music to play and have children walk in a circle around the two chairs. When the music stops, two people will sit in the chairs. Each round, add another chair until all children have a seat—with a chair to spare. When everyone has a seat (plus one), talk with children about the experience. Wow! At first there weren’t enough chairs for everyone. If you didn’t get a chair at first, how did you feel? As we added chairs and you got a seat, how did that feel? Now that we all have a chair, whom do you think the extra chair is for?
Activity 4: CLOSING BLESSING
Jesus loves you so much, and just like Zacchaeus, Jesus wants to spend time with you. Do you remember what He said to Zacchaeus? Jesus told Zacchaeus to get down from the tree, because He wanted to go to Zacchaeus’s house. Now, we aren’t actually up in trees, but Jesus’s invitation is still the same: Come spend time with Him … come join the family of God.
(Child’s name), Jesus loves you, He wants to spend time with you, and He wants you to be part of His family.
As you leave here, may you know how truly wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and may you share that love with others.