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# 48th week of our Journey –SYCAMORE TREES
This week’s destination: OUT ON A LIMB FOR JESUS

This week we learn about Zacchaeus, he was a wicked man but when he met Jesus, his life was changed. How extraordinary is this wonderful love of God. The God of the entire universe came among us as a man to show us both the love of the Father and how we are now invited and empowered, through His life, death and resurrection, to live in this world and prepare for the next. Let us learn to live our lives always looking for Jesus.

MATERIAL:
Photocopy the Bible Verse Card, colouring page, crayons. A tape measure to measure the children. Branches to make a tree. Cups and plates, bread and juice. Mat. Sikomò branch with fruit if in season.

AS KIDS ARRIVE PRIOR TO THE LESSON
Get the children to colour the Bible Verse Cards prior to the lesson.

1. GAMES: (10 minutes)
Who is the shortest?
How tall are you? I thought it might be fun to measure some of you and see how tall you are. (Take a few minutes to measure some of the children.) Well, some of you are rather tall and some of you are shorter than some of the others. Give a prize to the shortest child. I don't have to tell you about the problems of being short in a world full of tall people. You face that problem every day.

2. TEAM GAMES: (10 minutes)
Climbing the chair game

Place two rows of chairs spaced far enough apart for the children to run from one to the other, they have to stand up on the chair and then run to the other chair, repeat the exercise and then turn around and return. Each child gets one turn at the ‘Climbing the chair game’ The first team to finish is the winner If Sikomò is in season the winning team can have some fruit as a treat.

3. ACTIVE PRAISE CHORUS (10 minutes)
Zacchaeus was a wee, little man...

Zacchaeus was a wee, little man,
And a wee, little man was he.
He climbed up in a Sikomò tree,
For the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in the tree,
And he said, "Zacchaeus, you come down!"
For I'm going to your house today.
For I'm going to your house today.

4. INTIMATE WORSHIP (5 minutes)

5. TEACHING
a. Review (5 minutes)

Remember God is a God of the second chance.

Can anyone recall the story of Thomas Edison and the light bulb? (Get a child to volunteer)

In the Parable of the Fig tree who was Jesus really talking about? (Us and God)

Who was the owner of the vineyard? (God)

Who was the keeper of the vineyard? (Jesus)

Who does the tree represent? (God's children)

What does God expects us to produce? (Good fruit)

When He looks at our life, what kind of fruit does he expect? (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness etc)

b. Learn a Bible Verse (5minutes)
“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”
Luke 19:5b

Dramatise this, use the branches tied to a chair to make a ‘tree’. Dress up a boy like Zacchaeus, with a wrap, sash and turbine. Set the cups with juice and bread on the plates on a mat near the chair. Jesus dressed with a white wrap and blue sash.

c. Teach the Lesson (15 minutes)
(Use the five Bible Verse cards to teach the story)
Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. Are we wondering “if we see Him, what will He ask of us?” The invitation of this story is to climb that Sycamore Tree; to find the place that will make it possible for us to see Jesus

The ‘Good News’ is that no matter what has happened in our past, (remember Zaccheus was a tax collector, collecting taxes for Rome - Israel was under Roman occupation, tax collectors were hated by the Jews ) but Jesus walks into the dusty streets of Jericho and sought out Zaccheus just like He seeks us out today. Jesus had come to Jericho that day seeking to save the lost. He knew Zaccheus like He knows each one of us. The “crowds” around Zaccheus may have deemed him as unworthy of the encounter that was about to occur but God did not see him this way. Jesus saw Zaccheus’ heart and he drew him to Himself.

We can all find hope in this story because all of us have compromised in our lives. Perhaps in our school we have not witnessed to share our faith. Perhaps in our family by being disobedient or difficult or unhelpful. The “Good News” is that, no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus is walking pass own lives today. He comes for us. He loves us enough not to pass us by He notices us.

Let us learn some lessons from Zaccheus about life in a Sikomò tree.

Jesus already knew that Zaccheus was in Jericho. He knit him together in his mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16) and knew everything about him. In fact, the Lord came to Jericho especially for Zaccheus. He did not need to get the Lord’s attention and neither do we. Jesus comes into each one of our lives, searching for us, because He still comes to “…seek and save what was lost.”

However, we need to “position” ourselves for the meeting. Zaccheus climbed that Sikomò (Mulberry) tree to see Jesus; he positioned Himself for the encounter; the call, the vocation that was given to him by Jesus that wonderful day.

The Christian life is about God’s action and our response to what He is already done on the cross. Jesus reminds us “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Remember who does the choosing and who does the responding.

While others can help to bring us to Jesus, He calls our name –“ Zacchaeus” - and we must respond.

Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! The “crowds” in our lives rarely lead us to God.

Zaccheus was desperate to see Jesus. Do we really want to see Jesus or are we comfortable with keeping Him at a distance? Zaccheus looked foolish that day. Especially to a crowd that was so quick to judge him. In fact, looking foolish to the crowd is “part of the program”. Are we willing to do so?

Because Zacchaeus was sorry for what he had done and confessed his sin, Jesus forgave him and said, "Today salvation has come to this house. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Remember Zacchaeus was a wicked man! But when he met Jesus, his life was changed. It doesn't matter if you are short or tall, when you meet Jesus, He will change your life too.

6. APPLICATION / ENCOUNTERING GOD
Choose to live your life in the Sycamore tree
It created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! Imagine the thrill. For us, the Sycamore tree is a symbol of that place in our own lives which enables us to have a clear vision of Jesus. Zaccheus did not hesitate. With the same lack of caution which he had demonstrated in climbing the tree, he came down to stand in the presence of God Incarnate (Jesus). There he heard the call that would forever change his life. So may it be with all of us. When God calls we have only one choice, to respond.

CLOSING PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus into our world to seek and save the lost. We choose Him today we have heard the call that will forever change our life. Amen

SIKOMò (Sycamore/ Mulberry)TEACHING
Photocopy the ‘Sikomò Handout’ one for each family. Teaching about the nutritional and medicinal qualities of the fruit. A sapling, God willing will be supplied to each school, orphanage or church

NEXT WEEK: At last its Harvest time! We have learnt about some wonderful SuperFruits. Now we will harvest them.

CLICK to view Session #49.

 

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