COME AS YOU ARE, BUT DON’T STAY THE SAME
This week we learned about how Jesus called Matthew, who was a tax collector, to be His follower. Remember from last week’s lesson why people didn’t like tax collectors back then? They weren’t very honest and would sometimes steal from the people they collected taxes from. Jesus called Matthew to leave his old life and follow Him instead, and Matthew did it! He left his old life behind and followed Jesus for the rest of his life. He even wrote one of the books of the Bible! Believe it or not, there is another story in the Bible of a tax collector that Jesus called to follow Him too. His name is Zacchaeus (Zack-ee-us).
JESUS CALLS ZACCHAEUS
Zacchaeus was a short man who was having trouble seeing Jesus in a large crowd. He decided to climb up into a tree to be able see him, and when he did, Jesus called out to him and said “I’m coming to your house today.” This was a HUGE deal in the time because having a meal with someone else had a lot of meaning then. People saw this and were disgusted that Jesus would choose a tax collector to have dinner with (just like with Matthew). The cool part is that Zacchaeus ended up choosing to give half of his possessions to the poor and give back four times the amount of money to anyone he had ever stolen from!
Jesus was questioned multiple times by the religious people when he would spend time with people like Matthew and Zacchaeus. In answer, He said that he came to “seek and save the lost” and that “healthy people don’t need a doctor, sick people do.” Jesus went to the people that needed Him the most, and He always told them to follow Him or to turn away from their old ways. Just like a doctor, Jesus wants to help us be better. You may or may not have physical sickness, but all of us have a spiritual sickness called “sin.” Sin is anything we do that’s wrong and goes against God’s way of doing things. When we truly follow Jesus, it means that we try our best to live the way He did. None of us can be perfect and sinless like Jesus was, but we CAN choose everyday to be as loving and good as we can, with His help. When we make mistakes, we don’t have to be afraid to bring them to God, but we shouldn’t choose to do things that are wrong on purpose because that hurts God’s heart. We can choose to be like Matthew and Zacchaeus and do our best to act more and more like Jesus everyday!
Discuss the following questions with your child…
1. Have you ever done anything that’s wrong?
2. How do you think having a relationship with Jesus should change the way we act and think?
3. What are some areas in your life that don’t match up with how Jesus acted and told us to act?