Kids Inspiration--Zaccheus

Note: From time to time I'll be posting a RefreshMoments-type devotion intended to be shared with children. It includes a recipe or craft-type object lesson, a scripture passage and a short devotion to help communicate something about God.


"And He entered and was passing through Jericho. And behold, there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; and he was a chief tax-gatherer, and he was rich. And he was trying to see who Jesus was, and he was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. And he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way.

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."

And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly. And when they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."

And Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."

And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." LUKE 19:1-10

Have you ever been to a parade? Isn't it hard to see when everyone in front is taller than you?

That's what happened to Zaccheus when Jesus came to town. Jesus was so well known that crowds gathered just to see him walk by. Zaccheus (we'll call him Zac for short), wanted to see Jesus, but it was like a parade when he got there, and Zac was too short to see much.

It was pretty smart of Zac to climb that tree, wasn't it? It was a good thing that he did too, since Jesus was looking for him.

Some people got mad that Jesus wanted to go home with Zac—he wasn't a very nice man. In those days, being a tax collector usually meant that the person took things that belonged to other people and kept them for himself. The crowd didn't see why Jesus would pick Zac to have supper with instead of a good person. The people didn't understand that Jesus is so good; He makes even very bad people want to be good too.

Jesus knew Zac's heart and that he wanted to change; that's why He told the people that He came to save the lost people--the bad people like Zac. And after meeting Jesus, he did change!

Zac went from being someone who took more than he deserved, to giving away half of all he had! Can you imagine giving half of all your clothes, toys and allowance to the poor? And Zac was even going to give back a dollar for every quarter that he took from someone that he shouldn't have.

Jesus still helps people change. He loves good people, but He loves bad people too. In fact, the Bible tells us that we're all bad sometimes, and we all need Jesus to forgive us and help us live like we should.

Think about it: How would it make you feel if Jesus came to visit the mean kid down the street? How do you treat people who don't behave nicely? Are you willing to share good things with them? Is there someone that you could tell about Jesus and how He wants to help them?

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

I'm thinking that "Shortcake" is a nickname kids might have called Zac. This springtime favorite can be a reminder that Jesus didn't just come for good people, but for people who aren't always good too.


Berry topping:
1 or 2 baskets of strawberries

Slice berries, place in bowl, sprinkle with two tablespoons of sugar. Stir gently to coat the berries with sugar. Set aside so they'll get juicy while you make the biscuits.

Your favorite biscuit recipe with a couple tablespoons of sugar added.
Or try one of these recipes:

My simple scones

Bake the shortcakes according to recipe. Cool on wire rack. Slice and put on plate. Cover bottom half with berries, cover with top half of shortcake, add more berries.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

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