Gather the children up front. Ask them if they have ever had to climb up on something in order to see. Take responses, share when you have had to use a ladder or other device to help you see or do something. Bring in a step stool or ladder for an added illustration. You could mention here as well that a great place for kids in worship is to sit up front so they can see and be engaged in what is going on!
Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he
He climbed up in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see
And as the savior passed that way he looked up in the tree
and he said, “Zacchaeus you come down, for I am going to your house today…
For I am going to your house today.”
(you can also read the story from the children’s bible and skip the song)
Now Zacchaeus must have really wanted to see Jesus! He was trying to look over the crowds and be able to see Jesus for himself, not just hear that others had seen him. And then, not only did he see Jesus, but Jesus saw him! And Jesus not only saw him in the tree, but knew who he was and knew that he had not been an honest man-he had taken tax money from people that wasn’t his. But Jesus did not say anything other than I am going to your house. Why would Jesus do that, pick a man who he knew had done wrong things? (take answers)
This story is about Jesus and how Jesus welcomes and loves and forgives all the things that he can see. The other people, they felt jealous and even angry that Jesus had picked someone they did not like. But Jesus love is so big and wide it includes everyone. And Jesus knows that we all do wrong things at times and wants to show us grace that we be included too, just like Zacchaeus.
What are ways that you try to see Jesus? (take answers) However and whenever we see Jesus, Jesus sees us back and loves us just as we are.
Make a tree that can stand on the table or one that is bigger. You can just draw on paper or do one that is 3D. Write “Jesus sees you and Loves you” on the tree. Then have people either write their name, or color in a Zacchaeus with their name, or color on plain cut out person, or have a camera and take their photo and print it. Whichever method you choose, place your ‘people’ on the tree.