Sunday School Chronicles: Zacchaeus the Zucchini
I teach a group of fifth-graders on Sundays. Every week, we have conversations about the Bible and faith. Each Sunday School Chronicle invites you into our classroom for a good laugh—and a lesson.
Zacchaeus the Zucchini
Me: So we’re learning about this dude named Zacchaeus.
Student 3: Zucchini?
Me: Zacchaeus. He’s a Jewish tax collector. How do you think his fellow Jews felt about him?
Students: Boo! Traitor! That’s messed up!
Me: Yup! Not only is Zacchaeus dirty but he’s working for The Man! Let’s say I put a 5th grade tax on y’all. I pick Student 4 and make her charge everyone $1 to get in. I take 75c and let her keep 25c. She does that every Sunday for a year.
Student 4: Wow. I could make money. That sounds good.
Me: How would y’all feel about her?
Students: She betrayed us! Traitor!
Me: Yes! This is how folks feel about Zacchaeus! Oh yeah! Zacchaeus also happens to be short. He’s a short traitor. So of course, the Jewish people talked crazy about him. You can’t be a tax collector and short! Pick a struggle! So, Jesus comes strolling through Jericho. Zacchaeus climbs up a tree to get a good look at Jesus. Jesus makes it to the tree, looks up like, “Yo Zacchaeus! Jump down. We’re having a sleepover!”
Student 2: A Jesus sleepover?
Me: Yes. A Jesus sleepover! The people are super salty because Jesus is doing a sinner sleepover. So, Zacchaeus says, “You know what. I’m not about that tax collecting life. If I overcharged you, I’ll pay you back fourfold and I’m giving to the poor.” Jesus was pretty pumped. He came for people like Zacchaeus. He came to save the lost.
Student 5: The lost?
Me: You know when you have a handful of M&Ms in your hand and you lose one? What do you do?
Students: Look for it.
Me: But why? You’ve got a whole handful.
Students: What???? It’s important.
Me: Yes! Because that lone M&M is important. Yes, you’ve got others but the one that got away is worth finding. Even if it’s dirty. And when you can’t find it, you still think about what you lost. That’s how Jesus is with us. He’s coming after you.
Zacchaeus is proof that when Jesus comes into your life, things can be made right. Everyone is important to Jesus. Remember that Jesus loves us so much that He came to save the lost, just like Zacchaeus. Think of one person in your life who reminds you of Zacchaeus. What is one way you can love on this week