Rotation.org Writing Team
Jesus and Zaccheus
This lesson set summary and the Jesus and Zaccheus Bible Background are open to everyone. The lesson plans themselves were written for our amazing Supporting Members who make this site and our work possible. An annual membership for $45 gets you access to this set and every other lesson set written by our Team, plus many other site features. Join today.
Scripture for the Lesson Set
Key/Memory Verse: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:9-10, NRSV)
To know and be able to retell the story, and to know you are accepted by Jesus and be able to share that good news with others.
Luke 19's story of Zaccheus—the Jericho tax collector climbing a tree to see Jesus—is one of the most beloved and kid-friendly stories in the New Testament. The image of the little man clinging to a branch above the crowd is both a comical and profound metaphor about looking for salvation and finding it in the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ.
It's also a story with many surprises, such as the "Sycamore" tree actually being a fig tree! Read the Bible Background for more surprising and teachable insights.
Lessons in the Set
Those using the Workshop Rotation Model will likely select four or five of the following lessons to teach over a four to five-week period. We recommend that traditional Sunday Schools pick at least two of the following lessons so that this important story and its life application can really sink in. (See a video about the Rotation Model.)
Students create a "hidden Good News" drawing that can only be seen with a special "decoder." They are encouraged to share this surprising message of Jesus' acceptance that gets "above the crowd's opinion." Included are detailed instructions and options for different types of "decoder lenses" and drawing tools, along with an innovative "decoder nametag" activity.
Students will play two games to learn about and reflect on the unconditional love of Jesus that Zaccheus' story illustrates and consider ways to display that love to others.
The outline of this lesson uses a unique "3-D" learning progression: Discover the love of Jesus, Develop a passion for the Word, and Display His love to others.
Using the fun and unique "Lay Flat" Drama method pioneered here at Rotation.org, students will re-enact and record the story of Zaccheus and Jesus, then "finish" the story by adding their own ending of how bringing Jesus "home" changes your life. Actors don't need a script and the technique works well with any age group.
Students will learn the story of Zaccheus climbing the sycamore-fig tree to see Jesus, by using a guided and illustrated Bible study. They will learn how they are accepted by God just like Zaccheus was, and after examining figs up close, and tasting them, they'll learn that, just like figs, they too are packed with the potential to love, serve, and spread the message of our loving God. To remember the story and its life application, they'll custom blend their own "Zaccheus Smoothie" and have the option to take home the lesson to share it with others.
Using the free interactive story of Zaccheus found in Awesome Bible Stories software (a free download for our Supporting Members), students will learn the story, explore its meaning, play a memory game, and see how they "measure up" to the life and loving acceptance Jesus calls us to.
This lesson uses two specially selected free online videos to teach the story and explore its life application. This lesson is one of three in this lesson set that uses a special set of Zaccheus Story Illustration Cards created by the Writing Team. The printable cards are used for story memory games and illustrating teacher talking points (which are also included in the lessons and with the cards).
The Zaccheus Writing Team
The Writing Team is one of the most unique things about Rotation.org. Since 2004, we've been gathering volunteer writers to brainstorm and generate creative lesson plans for those using the Workshop Rotation Model and traditional Sunday Schools. In 2015 we started rewriting all the existing sets, and in 2018 we began writing new sets. Working together online and over Zoom, our team of teachers, Christian educators, and pastors work with our Lead Writer and a volunteer Editor to produce terrific lessons, introduce new teaching methods and materials, and achieve a level of quality you simply can't find anywhere else. (And, we have great fun!)
Our Zaccheus Team consisted of three Presbyterians, two Methodists, one Lutheran, one Baptist, one Church of Christ. and one Episcopalian -- coming together from north and south, east coast and west coast, and even Canada! Our writers were Robin, Sharon, Dawn, Debbie, and Neil. Beth, Amy, and Wendy were brainstormers. Neil shepherded the writers and did the final content edit. Carol served as brainstormer and Proof Editor.
Access to the Team's work requires a Supporting Membership which costs $45 a year. This is the major way in which we fund our non-profit ministry.
Writing Team lessons are broadly graded and have age and class size adaptations. In addition, there are At-Home options. The theological starting point for the Team is mainline. (If desired, churches can adapt each lesson to their needs.)
New volunteer writers are always welcome, and training is provided. Contact Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org