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This topic is collecting Drama, Newsroom, Puppets, Storytelling Workshop lesson plans and ideas pertaining to Zaccheus.  Luke 19: 1-10

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Be sure to see our Writing Team's set of six creative Zaccheus lessons!

A Zaccheus Drama Workshop Lesson

from St. Paul Lutheran Mason City, Iowa
with additional improvements from the team!

Scripture Reference: Luke 19: 1-10

This lesson re-enacts the story using a fun script that expresses for children more of the meaning and Zaccheus' joy in the story. Adapt the script with your great ideas and actions.

Leader Preparation:

  • Either use a real tree at your church (as the writer of this lesson originally did) or use a step ladder wrapped in butcher  paper to be the trunk (with cutouts for the steps) and draw the branches and crown of the tree on paper hanging behind the ladder.
  • Read the scripture ahead of time and print copies of the script.

Lesson Plan


Greet your students and introduce yourself. Explain what they'll be doing and learning today.

There are several ways you can do this drama:

1. Assign roles and handout scripts.

2. Assign all the spoken parts to "narrators" and have the "actors" do the action and REPEAT what the narrator says (fun).  Doing it this way you can repeat the script/drama more than once (which is good) so that students can take turns becoming the actors and readers. It also makes this lesson work with non-readers or shy students.

“Zacchaeus, You Come Down!”

Narrator 1: Here is Zacchaeus. (Enter Zach) He works for the Romans as a tax collector and everyone thinks he's a cheat and a bad man. He’s also short. (Zach squats down to be short)

Narrator 2: Here is Jesus. (Enter Jesus surrounded by a crowd). He is gaining in popularity because people think he might be the Messiah, the one to throw the Romans out of Israel. They have seen and heard that he does miracles. Is he the one?

Zacchaeus: I can’t see! I can’t see! (Jump up and down to see) I want to meet the Messiah too!

I’m going to climb this tree so I can see Jesus. (Climbs tree)

Jesus: Zacchaeus!

Zaccheus:  Me?

Jesus: Yes you!  Why don't you come down out of that tree. I want to go spend some time at your house today (Zach climbs down)

Narrator 1: Zacchaeus climbed down very excited. And when he got down he very excitedly greeted Jesus. Some might call it "joy"!

Narrator 2: But then the crowd started to grumble. How can Jesus be the Messiah and yet want to hang out with SINNERS like Zaccheus? Sounds like a fraud to me!   

Zacchaeus: Seeing that the crowd was turning on Jesus, Zaccheus said to Jesus in front of everyone, "I give half of my money to the poor and if I have cheated ANYONE, I will repay them four times as much!"

Narrator 1: The crowd grew silent and looked at each other in disbelief. Did they really hear what they just heard? And what would Jesus say now?

Jesus: Listen everybody!  TODAY salvation and healing has come to this man's house, and I declare that HE TOO is a son of Abraham. He is just as much a part of God's family as any of YOU!

Narrator 2: The crowd sucked in their breath in amazement!  and said, "Zaccheus the sinner is one of us? How can this be?"

Jesus: Because everyone sins, and I have come to save the sinners and the lost. Every single one (he said as he pointed to everyone in the crowd).

Narrator: So Jesus and Zaccheus started walking to Zach's home, but along the way they started to talk.

Zaccheus:  Now what Jesus? How do you think my life should change? How will it be different? Will the people of Jericho still think I'm a crook? How can I show them I've changed?

Jesus: THOSE are very good questions!  But why don't you start with something simple like this:  treat others as I have treated you. Love and accept people even though they are sinners.

Zaccheus: Awesome!  (Zaccheus turned a joyful cartwheel and somersault, then Jesus did the same.)


Let's each try our favorite somersault or cartwheel or jump for joy and see who does a great job of expressing Zaccheus' JOY, as the scripture says, upon being greeted and accepted by Jesus.

Does your faith every feel "excited" and "joyful" like Zaccheus' did according to the scripture?

Do you feel excited and joyful when you come here to learn more about him? How could you be more excited?

How can you share and show to others that joy of knowing you and they are loved by God?


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

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Puppet Idea

Member Linnea Posted

We used a bluegrass song called "Zaccheus" recorded by Michael Stanley and had the puppets "sing" the song. You use 4 puppets (we have the big mouth puppets with crazy hair--it was so perfect.) One puppet is the lead. The other puppets can dance to the music and come in on the 4 part harmony chorus. The kids wanted to do it over and over. We taped them so they could watch themselves. I bought the song for 99 cents off the music match website. 

Moderator: couldn't find the song 'Linnea' mentions above, but did find this song  on YouTube "Zacchaeus"  by Jim Lauderdale · Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys from the album Lost In The Lonesome Pines. Same song-maybe?

Newsroom Drama/Video

Posted by Neil MacQueen

Create a "Man on the Street" news show. Have kids come up with comments from people in the crowd. Interview Zaccheus up in the tree. Go to the dinner with Jesus. VIDEOTAPE IT LIKE A NEWS PROGRAM.

Another option:
Have EACH student get the opportunity to climb the sycamore tree and be videotaped about what's going through their (Z's) mind up there. Have one Zac. headress which you pass around to students as they take on the role.

Storytelling Idea

JoOehrlein (Guest) posted

Pass out "money" to all the kids and give Zaccheus a tax bill of what the area owes to Rome. Show how he takes more than is needed and how he gets richer as the others get poorer. You could have a banker/guards following him around to carry all his money he collects and to keep a running total. When he gets "home", show how he sends some to Rome and keeps the rest to spend on things (food, servants, etc.) while the people he took money from don't have any money.

Stop and discuss the following questions:

  1. What do the people think of Zaccheus in the beginning?
  2. Is there anyone (or any group) today that people dislike as much as the Jewish people disliked the tax collectors?
  3. Would you rather have been Zaccheus or the people he took money from? Why?
  4. What do you think Zaccheus thought about the people he took money from?

Fast forward to after the meeting with Jesus and show him going back to the people he took money from and repaying them.

Now discuss the following:

  1. What do you think the people thought when Zaccheus repaid them? Were they excited to get the money? Still resentful that it was taken to begin with? Distrustful because it might be a trick?
  2. What do we think today when someone experiences a sudden turnaround or conversion? Do we believe them?
  3. Do you think Zaccheus's turnaround influenced the people around him? Or did they just think he was crazy? Think about this from the perspective of both the people he collected from and the government officials he reported to.
  4. After his turnaround, who would you rather be, Zaccheus or the people he gave money to? Why?
  5. Do you think Zaccheus missed the money he gave back? What kind of changes would that make in his life?
  6. What are things in our lives that we need to turnaround? What are things that might cause problems for us as we try to "be better".

Storytelling Idea

Barb G posted

Zacchaeus was our story last month, and we focused on repentance and a changed heart.

An interview with someone playing the part of Zacchaeus allows the children to hear the story from Zacchaeus's perspective (and how special he felt to be noticed by Jesus).

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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