In the Bible, Zacchaeus climbs a tree to try to see Jesus passing by. Though Zacchaeus is a tax collector, Jesus stops and calls him by his name. Jesus tells Zacchaeus that he wants to go to his house for dinner. This Bible story shows Zacchaeus that Jesus knows him by name and has plans for him. Craft projects can teach children that Jesus also knows their names and has plans for them as well.
Zacchaeus in the Tree
Children find it easy to relate to Zacchaeus sitting on the tree branch. Make a craft that features Zacchaeus in the tree. Glue tree bark, brown paper or even pretzel sticks to a white page to make a tree trunk and branches. Add crumpled green tissue paper for leaves. Cut out a small paper Zacchaeus and glue him in the tree. Write “God had plans for Zacchaeus. He has plans for me, too.” across the top of the page.
Make money bags to fill with chocolate coins, paper coins or a few pennies. Bags can be made by cutting circles of fabric and tying up the edges or by folding a paper plate in half and stapling up the sides. Remind the children that when Zacchaeus realized God had plans for him, he gave away his money and no longer cheated anyone. Write “God has plans for me” on a paper tag and attach it to the money bag.
God Knows My Name
Explain to the children that just as Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name without an introduction, he knows their names, too. Have each child write “God knows my name” across the top of a piece of construction paper. Then have them write their names in large glue letters across the page. Make their names special by shaking glitter, sequins or paper confetti over the glue.
Explain to the children that Jesus wants to be welcome at their homes, just like he wanted to go to Zacchaeus’ house. Have the children draw and cut out a house. Remind them that God has plans for them and for everyone in their families. Have them write “God has plans for the people at my house” on the house. Have each child write his address on the back of his paper house.