Zacchaeus - an interactive story
by Captain Teresa Everett
Here is an interactive story that I wrote. I have added the participation of the listeners at the beginning of the story as an example. – Captain Teresa Everett
When the following are said in the story:
- 'Jesus' – shout and spell out 'J,E,S,U,S'
- 'Everyone in the crowd' – say 'Chatter, chatter, chatter'
- 'Zacchaeus' – say 'Hi Zac!' putting your hand up to gesture a high five
- 'Who was a wee little man' – say 'Weeeeeee' as you swing your arm around in the air
- 'Trees' – say 'Rustle, rustle, creek'
Before starting the story give every child one coin.
'Jesus is coming!' [J,E,S,U,S] everybody in the crowd shouted ['Chatter, chatter, chatter'].
'Jesus is coming to Jericho!' [J, E, S, U, S] and everyone ran to meet him. Well, almost everyone in the crowd ['Chatter, chatter, chatter']. For there was one wee little man ['Weeeeeee'] who didn't run to see Jesus ['J,E,S,U,S'] His name was Zacchaeus ['Hi Zac!'] It's not that Zacchaeus ['Hi Zac!'] didn't want to see Jesus ['J,E,S,U,S']; he really did. But not only was he a wee little man ['Weeeeeee'], he was also afraid of everyone in the crowd ['Chatter, chatter, chatter'].
You see, not many people liked him because he was a tax collector and collected money from them. He gave the tax money to the leaders of the city to pay for the armies that protected them. But mostly people didn't like him because he collected more money than he was supposed to and kept what was left for himself.
'Jesus is here!' ['J, E, S, U, S'] everyone in the crowd shouted ['Chatter, chatter, chatter'].
'He is here in Jericho!' Everyone in the crowd ['Chatter, chatter, chatter'] cheered as Jesus walked through the city gates. Well, almost everyone in the crowd cheered ['Chatter, chatter, chatter']. Zacchaeus ['Hi Zac!'] who was a wee little man ['Weeeeeee'] he didn't feel like cheering at all. He wanted to see Jesus ['J,E,S,U,S']. He really did want to see him, but how could he walk out there in front of all those people he'd cheated out of money? What would they do if they got hold of him?
Then Zacchaeus ['Hi Zac!'] who was a wee little man ['Weeeeeee'] had an idea. There were some trees ['Rustle, rustle, creek'] by the city gates tall leafy trees. If he could sneak behind everyone in the crowd and climb a tree he could see Jesus and not be seen himself. So off he went out of his house and through the empty streets. Because everyone in the crowd was watching Jesus, he easily slipped behind them and climbed up a tree.
'Come and eat at my house Jesus!' someone in the crowd shouted. It was a great honour to host someone as important as Jesus. Everyone in the crowd shouted at once. Well, almost everyone in the crowd. There was a wee little man who kept his mouth shut and tried hard not to rustle the leaves in the tree.
'Thank you very much,' said Jesus. 'You are very kind. But I have already decided where I want to eat.'
Then Jesus looked straight up into the tree and called, 'Zacchaeus! Come on down! I'm eating at your house today.'
Everyone in the crowd mumbled, 'Zacchaeus' house. Jesus is eating with Zacchaeus! He's the worst man in the city. There must be some mistake!'
Everyone in the crowd moaned and groaned. Well, almost everyone in the crowd moaned and groaned. Except one wee little man who was climbing down from a tree as shocked as the rest. Why would someone as good as Jesus eat with someone bad like him? But Zacchaeus was happier than he'd been for a very long time. And so with a smile across his face Zacchaeus led Jesus to his house.
Outside the door everyone in the crowd gathered around whispering, 'What are they doing in there? What are they saying to each other?'
Suddenly Zacchaeus threw open the door to his house with a bang and shouted at the top of his voice, 'Greetings, everyone. I have an announcement to make. I've been talking with my new friend Jesus, and realise that there are a few things I need to change. I've cheated some of you out of money. I admit that, and I want you to know that I'm sorry. So sorry, in fact, that I will pay you back four times more than I stole from you! [Give another four coins to each child] What's more, I intend selling half of everything that I own and give the money to the poor!'
Everyone in the crowd were shocked. Never in their whole lives had they seen such a change in anyone! The crowd stood there with their mouths wide open and nobody ... said ... a ... thing. Well, almost nobody. Jesus said to them 'Don't you see – God has sent me to share his love with everybody. Even those who have done bad things. That's what I have done, but now I love God too.'
Everyone in the crowd started to cheer. Jesus, Zacchaeus, the whole city of Jericho, and everyone cheered.