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Jesus comes to Jericho part 2 - Zacchaeus

A cheating tax collector meets Jesus.
Contributed by Lars-Goran Ronnberg
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese
About 2000 years ago there lived in the city of Jericho a man named Zacchaeus. Jericho is located In Israel and is one of the oldest cities in the world. – Slide 1
Zacchaeus was very rich and lived with his family in one of the largest and finest houses in Jericho. – Slide 2
Zacchaeus loved all his fine possessions and always wanted more and more expensive things. – Slide 3
Taxes were collected by the customs officers and the man in charge of the customs officers was Zacchaeus. – Slide 4
The taxes were charged by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. The Emperor had sent his soldiers and conquered many lands, including Israel. Of course, no one in these countries wanted to pay taxes to the Romans, so no one liked the customs officers who betrayed their own people to become rich themselves. – Slide 5
The Roman emperor was very happy receiving many precious objects and tax money from the people he ruled over. – Slide 6
Zacchaeus had been taxing people in Jericho, but he did not care how much it upset them. Sometimes he charged more tax than was right and took the extra money for himself. <br/>‘The tax is too high,’ complained one man. <br/>‘You must pay up, otherwise you will not be allowed to enter Jericho,’ Zacchaeus replied.  ‘But it's too much money,’ the man protested. – Slide 7
‘Get me a soldier,’ Zacchaeus ordered. ‘There is a man here who refuses to pay his taxes!’ – Slide 8
The man became very frightened when a Roman  soldier appeared and quickly put the money on the table. <br/>‘Here is the payment,’ he said. – Slide 9
Zacchaeus quickly collected the money and put the extra tax he had charged into a special box for himself. That’s how he became rich. – Slide 10
One day Jesus came to visit Jericho. On the way into the city, a poor, blind beggar named Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus. Jesus heard him and healed him.  Bartimaeus could now see! – Slide 11
Bartimaeus was so happy to be able to see and followed Jesus into the city praising God for what He had done. – Slide 12
Everyone in Jericho wanted to see Jesus including Zacchaeus. But Zacchaeus was very short and could not see over the large crowds surrounding Jesus. Even if he stood on tip-toe he could not see Jesus. – Slide 13
Zacchaeus did everything he could to see Jesus. ‘Hey! Let me through,’ he shouted as he prodded those in front of him. – Slide 14
‘No, we are not going to help a friend of the Romans who charges us taxes,’ came the reply! ‘We were here first!’ – Slide 15
Zacchaeus was very sad. He really wanted to see Jesus. – Slide 16
But then he had a very good idea! – Slide 17
‘I can run ahead and climb the big sycamore fig tree over there,’ he whispered to himself. ‘Jesus will walk past the tree and then I will see HIm!’ – Slide 18
Zacchaeus quickly ran ahead of the crowd to the big tree ... – Slide 19
… and started to climb it. – Slide 20
[This image is displayed in silence for about 2 seconds!] – Slide 21
[This image is displayed in silence for about 2 seconds!] – Slide 22
[This image is displayed in silence for about 2 seconds!] – Slide 23
Zacchaeus now had a very good view as he sat up in the tree. Oh how he longed for Jesus to come by so he could see Him. – Slide 24
Suddenly Jesus came into sight!  And Bartimaeus was there too, praising God! The poor and blind beggar could now see! Zacchaeus knew that Jesus had healed Bartimaeus. So Jesus must be the Son of God! – Slide 25
When Jesus came to the tree where Zacchaeus was sitting, He did not pass underneath but stopped, looked up, and shouted, ‘Zacchaeus! Zacchaeus!’ – Slide 26
What do you want from me Jesus,’ Zacchaeus asked.<br/>‘Today I want to come to your house, Zacchaeus!’ Jesus answered. <br/>‘Oh,’ Zacchaeus  exclaimed, ‘You want to come to my house? He started climbing down the tree. – Slide 27
[This image is displayed in silence for about 2 seconds!] – Slide 28
‘You are welcome to come to my home,’ Zacchaeus replied. ‘And so are your disciples!’ – Slide 29
Now many were angry with Jesus! <br/>‘Why does Jesus want to go home to that wretched man Zacchaeus?’<br/>‘Yes, to the home of that cheating friend of the Romans!’ – Slide 30
But Jesus and His disciples did not care what people thought about Zacchaeus. They were happy to go to the house of this unpopular man who has stolen money. – Slide 31
Zacchaeus and his wife put on a meal for Jesus and all 12 disciples. Jesus spent time talking with  Zacchaeus. – Slide 32
Zacchaeus knew in his heart that he was a thief and a cheat who needed to say sorry and obey God! ‘Jesus!’ said Zacchaeus, ‘I want to follow and obey your commandments! I have done so many wrong things. I want to ask God and people for forgiveness. To those I have cheated I want to give back four times as much. And I promise to give half of what I own to the poor! – Slide 33
Jesus announced, ‘Today salvation has come to this house! I have come to seek out and save those who are lost.’ <br/>Everyone was very happy that Zacchaeus had turned away from cheating and stealing to obey God. – Slide 34
Zacchaeus then did as he had said! He took half of everything he owned and distributed it to the poor in Jericho. The poor were surprised and very happy. Everyone understood that Zacchaeus had been completely transformed by Jesus. – Slide 35
Zacchaeus also went to those he had overcharged. <br/>‘I took too much in tax from you,’ he apologised. ‘Here is four times as much back! I hope you will forgive me!’ – Slide 36
The man was surprised and delighted. ‘Yes of course I will forgive you. Thank you very much.’ – Slide 37
When Jesus walked on from Jericho, there were many who were happy - including Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus whose lives were now completely transformed! – Slide 38
Slide 39