23rd Mar – GAP Programme “Encounters with Jesus”

Encounters with Jesus – Son of Abraham – Zacchaeus


First the story – it comes from Luke 19: 1 – 10. This is the child-friendly gist of it. Maybe tell it a couple of times in different ways and discuss the man and how he felt. Use a toy man and a plant or tree as visual aids?

Zacchaeus was a sad man. No one liked him because he worked as a tax collector, and he also stole from people to make himself richer.
Zacchaeus was sad. He wanted to be different, but he didn’t know how.
When Zacchaeus heard that Jesus was coming, he decided to go and see him. But because he was short, he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to see anything. Zaccheus ran ahead and hid in the branches up a sycamore tree. When Jesus came along, he stopped and looked up. He saw Zaccheus. “Come on down, Zaccheus!” called Jesus, “I am having dinner at your house today!”
 Zacchaeus fell out of the tree. He was so happy and excited!
 But the people were cross. “Zacchaeus is a sinner,” they grumbled, “How come Jesus is staying with him?”
 But Zaccheus wanted to change and Jesus was helping him. So he cried out, “I am going to give half of my food to the poor! And I am going to pay back everything I stole!”
 Jesus clapped Zaccheus on the back. “Today you have joined my kingdom,” he said.

So today is about choices – Money or Jesus? – like last week’s story. What do we each choose?


  1. Play with toys and games that enable counting – e.g. abacus, incy wincy spider, snakes and ladders where have dice and squares to count on from, Let’s pretend shop
  2. Go climbing/ scrambling about in the big outside. National trust grounds are open to all and free just now.
  3. Sharing and Counting
    Get a bowl of objects – Duplo or wooden bricks or whatever – and try putting them into 2 piles – one for you, one for me. Then count them. Is it fair?

    Or do the same thing with stickers onto a piece of paper with a line down the middle.
  4. Make money!
    • Coin rubbings – thin paper and crayons of some sort. Rub coins lightly so the patterns are revealed. Cut them out and put the paper coins in a bag or pot or purse.
    • Make Playdough or plasticine coins and put them in a bag or pot or purse.
  5. Zacchaeus up the tree craft
    Draw your own or Print this tree – below is a link to download the file so you can print it out.
    Colour or stick on green tissue foliage.
    Draw/or print Zac up the tree and Jesus under it.

Click on this link to open the image and then right click to save it and then you can print it.


Yes we can still sing. Let’s choose to sing today:

  • Old MacDonald has a . . you choose
  • Wind the bobbin
  • Row row
  • Zoom, Zoom Zoom.
  • The Wiggle Song
YouTube player
The wiggle Song!
  • Zaccheus has his own song:
YouTube player
Zacchaeus song

Zaccheus was a very little man, and a very little man was he
He climbed into a sycamore tree, for the saviour he wanted to see.
And when the saviour passed that way he looked into the tree
And said, “Now Zaccheus you come down!
For I’m coming to your house for tea.
I’m coming to your house for tea!”

You can do simple actions – indicate small with your hand, pretend to climb, look with hand shading eyes, and pointing finger when Jesus talks.

Questions and Points to ponder

Do you know someone who doesn’t like sharing – someone who always wants everything for themselves? Lots of those in the supermarkets just now! People who are selfish are often very sad inside.

Zacchaeus must have been a lonely person. No one seemed to have liked him. But Jesus was his friend and made sure everyone knew that. When Zacchaeus found out how much he mattered to Jesus he was very, very happy and his life was changed for ever. Tradition names him as the first Bishop of Caesarea.

Do you know adults who climb trees? It might look funny, to see an adult climbing a tree. But that’s what Zaccheus did, in his rich, long clothes. And then he waited, very excited, because Jesus was coming. Are you prepared to look stupid for Jesus?

Do we each really know how much Jesus cares for us? If we do we must be happy and positive and outward facing even in these really difficult times. Is there more we could do to pass on that love Jesus has for each of us to the people around us?

Show the children how to make a heart shape with their first finger and thumb. Hold the hands like that while you pray, “Jesus, help our hearts to be like Zaccheus’s, so that they change when we meet you. Amen.”


Please send specific and general prayer requests to Ruth on ruth_norris@yahoo.com or by What’s App. In the meantime, try these ones from Urban Saints for this week:

  • Pray for the young people who will be unsettled by these extraordinary circumstances and that we can still find ways to inspire hope in young people.
  • Pray for everyone’s health and safety.
  • Ask the Lord to send the coronavirus away swiftly.
  • Pray against people’s fears and panic, and that we will be strong because of our confidence in Jesus.
  • Pray for protection upon all as they seek creative ways to continue
  • Pray for wisdom as we explore online and other methods of inspiring and supporting each other safely.
  • Pray for encouragement and determination as we seek to maintain our prayer life over the next few weeks and months.

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23rd Mar – GAP Programme “Encounters with Jesus”