Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jesus Changed Zacchaeus' Heart

Zacchaeus is a real-life example of the power that Jesus has to change our hearts.  The goal in this lesson is for the children to feel the darkness and ugliness of sin, and then experience the joy and miracle of forgiveness when Zacchaeus meets Jesus!

Bible Truth: Jesus has the power to forgives my sin.
Bible Story: Jesus changes Zacchaeus' heart.
Bible Study: Luke 19:1-10; I Corinthians 5:7



To tell the story of Zacchaeus "hands-on" style gather up these items:
  • children's picture Bible, or flannel graph scenery and characters
  • a small bag or coin pouch
  • loose change
  • a cut-out of a black heart and a white heart
Peak your class's interest in your lesson by shaking the bag, and letting them guess what is inside.  They will probably easily guess that you have money in your bag!  Pass out a coin for each child to hold throughout the lesson.  (Remind them that they should never put coins in their mouths!) Read the story of Zacchaeus from a children's picture Bible, or tell it in your own words with visuals, such as flannel graph.

Introduce Zacchaeus as a short man, who was a tax collector.  His job was to collect money that people had to pay to the king.  But Zacchaeus took more money from people than he was supposed to. If someone was supposed to pay one coin to the king, Zaccahaeus made them pay two coins, and he would keep one of the coins for himself.  That is called stealing.  Zacchaeus was rich and had lots of money, but nobody wanted to be his friend because he stole money from them.  He had a dark sinful heart.

Hold up the dark heart as you describe Zacchaeus' dark and sinful heart.

Go on to tell the rest of the story of Zacchaeus meeting Jesus, as you show pictures from the children's Bible or manipulate flannel graph characters.

At the conclusion of the story, talk about how amazing it is that Jesus changed Zacchaeus' heart!  He used to be a man that stole people's money, but now he gives his money away to people!  Jesus did a miracle! Only Jesus has the power to take a dirty, sinful heart and give us a new clean heart! Zacchaeus repented, he turned away from his sin, and followed Jesus!

Hold up the white heart as you describe how Jesus changed Zacchaeus' heart.

Lead the class in a prayer, asking Jesus to forgive their sin, and change their hearts so they can follow Jesus like Zacchaeus.  After you pray, collect the coins from the children.  Tell them that they are giving the money back just like Zacchaeus did after he repented.



  • Zacchaeus (was a wee little man) is a Sunday School classic, and the perfect song to reinforce the story they just heard.  Be sure to do some actions with the song!

  • The Repent Song is the same song we learned along with the story of John the Baptist, so it's great review and repetition.  Follow the link for the lyrics and actions.

  • The Bath Song is a great song about how Jesus washes away our sin with "super soap."  The "call back" format makes it really easy to sing along!


color & paste

Here is a coloring sheet from Sermons 4 Kids of Jesus talking to Zacchaeus in the tree.  Cut pieces of green paper, or green tissue paper into leaves for the children to glue onto the tree.

zacchaeus meets Jesus

A good craft is one that helps children retell the story that they learned.  This craft does exactly that!  You will need:
  • this print out in (black & white) or (color)
  • card stock
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • yarn
  • green tissue paper
  • glue
  • clear tape
  • crayons (optional)
To prepare, print the print out page onto card stock.  Cut on the dotted line, and cut out Zacchaeus.  Punch a hole at the top and bottom of the tree.  Cut out approximately 1" x 1" squares of green tissue paper. Cut yarn into 16" lengths.

In class, provide glue for the children to attach the squares of tissue paper to the tree as leaves.  Lace the yarn throught the holes and tie it behind the tree.  If using the black and white version, provide crayons for the children to color Jesus and Zacchaeus.  

Tip: Tie the yarn near the top of the page, and attach Zacchaeus to the bottom of  the page.
It is easier for the kids, if you let them glue on the leaves before you add the yarn.

Use clear tape to attach Zacchaeus to the yarn.  

Tip: Set the clear tape under the yarn, sticky side up, and then press Zacchaeus onto the tape.

Move Zacchaeus up and down the tree to retell the story!

up and down the tree

For this craft you will need:
  • this tree pattern
  • this Zacchaeus pattern
  • green construction paper
  • jumbo craft sticks
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • crayons
  • glue
  • tape
To prepare, cut out the top, leaf portion of the tree pattern, and use it to trace onto green construction paper. Cut out tree and Zacchaeus figures.  Punch a hole near the top of the trees.  Cut yarn into approximately 7" lengths.

In class, provide crayons for the children to color Zacchaeus, and the jumbo craft stick.  Help them attach the tree to the craft stick with glue.  Tape Zacchaeus to the yarn, thread the yarn through the hole in the tree, and tie the yarn off in the back to move Zacchaeus up and down the tree.

Find more ideas and for teaching your child at home about Zacchaeus and his encounter with Jesus, here!


  1. Thanks for sharing, I am toddler teacher and you have nice ideas. God bless you!

    Noemi Robles

  2. Que lindas ideas!!!,me encanta!!!

  3. Awesome Resource.... thank you.

  4. Thank you. Very cute idea. My son and I just did this for bible study this morning.

  5. Thank you very much, I will teach this at the summer camp. :)

  6. Thank you for sharing! This resource is a blessing!

  7. I have a very difficult preschool age Sunday School class, including twins that punch kiddos and cry manipulatively. This is a PERFECT activity for them. They hate to sit and listen to stories, even with cute flannel boards. This ACTION story will be a hit. Thank you, and God bless

  8. Thats for sharing :)

  9. Thanks for sharing these, I am new to teaching and these look very doable!

  10. Thanks for sharing! Super easy to prep & engaging!