by Kimber Bailey Scott
You are My Friends (tune: row row row your boat) – inserting each child’s name.
___________ is Jesus’s friend; ___________ is Jesus’s friend.
The Bible tells us Jesus said, “You are all my friends.
Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he.
(pretend to climb) He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see. (cup a hand over your eye and pretend you’re looking far away)
And as the Lord came walking by, He looked up in the tree.
And He said, (shake finger) “Zacchaesus, you come down for I’m going to your house today.”
For I’m going to your house today.
Jesus is a Friend
Jesus is a friend to children – the ones still very small. (use hand to indicate knee high children)
The baby in the cradle, (fold arms to form cradle and rock)
The ones so big and tall. (hands high over head)
(Speak in a loud voice and with expression) Oh, what a day! Everyone in Jericho was talking about Jesus coming to town! All the people wanted to see Jesus, so they ran out to the road to get a food look as He passed by. (place hands above eyes, as if looking for Jesus. Encourage children to make motions with you)
Zacchaeus ran out to the road too but he could not get a good look at Jesus. He was too short to see over the crowd. (squint as if trying to see; then shake head sadly) But Zacchaeus was smart. (tap head with index finger) He knew which way Jesus would be going. (point down the road)
Zacchaeus ran ahead of the people and climbed (pretend to climb) up into a big sycamore tree. When Jesus got there He looked up at Zacchaeus and smiled. (smile and look up) Jesus said, (shake finger) " “Zachhaeus, you come down for I’m going to your house today.”
Zacchaeus came down quickly. He was very happy that Jesus was coming to his home. Jesus was his friend!
Allow the children to tell you what happened. Help them when needed.
Open your Bible to John 15:14. The Bible says, “You are my friends.“ Can you say those words with me? Say them louder. Say them softer. Give each one a Bible (or share) & ask each to say, “You are my friends.”
Optional: give them a sticker when they say the memory verse.
Use the blocks to build a house for Zacchaeus and a road on which Jesus can walk. Use the stepstool as the tree, letting children take turns “climbing up” while holding on to an adult’s hand. Act out the story. ____, you be Zacchaeus and climb up in the tree. ____ can be your friend Jesus. When Jesus asks you to come down, come quickly and show us how happy you feel to be Jesus’ friend. I am glad Jesus wants to be my friend too and that He is with me wherever I am. Take turns with all the children acting out the story.
Gather as many nature items from trees as possible. Arrange these attractively so the children will be drawn to them. Have the pictures of trees displayed on the wall at the children’s eye level or laid on a table where they can handle the pictures and look at them. Make sure that no tree item is dangerous for the children to handle.
As a child picks up an item, give a brief explanation of what part of a tree it is. That is an acorn. It is a seed from a large oak tree. If an acorn is planted in the ground, a tree will grow from it. Our Bible story has a tree in it. A man named Zacchaeus climbed up a tree to get a better look at Jesus. Zacchaeus became a friend of Jesus. Thank You, Jesus, for being my friend. Jesus is your friend too, ____. Would you like to thank Him for being your friend? Encourage and help each child to thank Jesus for being his/her friend, but don’t force anyone who’s shy or frightened.
Draw happy faces on paper plates, one for each child and teacher. Hold up a happy face. Can you make a face like this? Let me see you smile. Great! That is how Zacchaeus, the man in our Bible story, must have looked. He felt very happy when Jesus became his friend. How do we feel knowing that Jesus is our friend? Yes, we are happy too! Show me your smile.
Let’s play a game. You will put your head down and close your eyes. You will feel just like Zacchaeus felt in our Bible story when he couldn’t see over people’s heads. I will hide these happy faces and then you can find them. Now everyone hide your eyes. Hid the happy faces. Then say, Ok friends of Jesus, let’s see if you can find the happy faces. Encourage children who find many to share with those who have few. Play it as many times as they have interest.
Nature items from trees: pinecones, acorns, tree branch, leaves, twigs, etc.
Pictures of trees
Large play mat squares - optional