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Turn Around, Look At Me

Aim: To show how your life can be completely changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ

Core Competency: Humanity

Objectives: The children will

  • recognize that Jesus is the only way to know God
  • understand & respond to the plan of salvation

Key Verse: "Enter through the narrow gate... small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and few find it." ( Matthew 7:13-14 )

Story: "Zacchaeus Finds the Narrow Way " ( Luke 19:1-10 )

Materials Required:

  • Rubber band (black)
  • Rubber band (red)
  • Rubber band (white)

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation: None, but practice the demonstrations several times in front of the mirror.

During Class:Explain that everybody must choose one of two paths to follow in life. One path is a wide, fine-looking road with plenty of rest areas and fast food places. It leads through a wide gate through which many travel. The other path is narrow, rough, and difficult. Considerable sacrifice is required to travel on this path, and it leads to a narrow gate ( Matthew 7:13-14 ). Which path would you choose? Today's story is about a small man with a big decision to make.

Are You Seeking?

Read Luke 19:1-4 . Explain that Zacchaeus was a Jewish man who had abandoned his loyalty to the Jews. Instead, he collected taxes for the Romans. Worse yet, like most tax collectors of his day, he overcharged his fellow countryman for their taxes and kept the extra for himself. He cheated his own countryman.

Zacchaeus appears to have been an unhappy man, perhaps regretting his decision and wishing he had chosen a different path. He had chosen the wide, easy path leading to the wide gate, because he was just doing what the other tax collectors did. Perhaps he wanted to be a different kind of tax collector, but he just didn't know how. When he heard about Jesus, he decided he needed to see Jesus about changing to the narrow path that leads to the narrow gate. He didn't know how yet, but he had to try.

Read Luke 19:5-8 . Zacchaeus accepted Jesus' invitation to eat dinner with him. We don't know what they talked about, but clearly Zacchaeus found what he wanted. In declaring that he would give half of everything that he owned to the poor, and repay four times over to the people he cheated, Zacchaeus demonstrated "repenteance" (changing direction). He was determined to follow God for the rest of his life.

Place the black rubber band over your first three fingers (left of picture below). Explain that this represents Zacchaeus on the wide path leading to the wide gate. He's going the wrong way! Turn your back briefly (or otherwise position your hand so that the children cannot see it), pull out the rubber band slightly with your other hand, and slip all four fingertips under it (center of picture below). With your hand in a fist, thumb facing you, turn and show the knuckle side to the children.

One dinner with Jesus led Zacchaeus to repent - and just that quickly, he switch to the narrow path leading to the narrow gate. Quickly open your hand, with your fingers slightly separated, and the rubber band will leap to your pinky so quickly it will appear to pass right through your fingers (right of picture above).

Have You Found?

In response to Zacchaeus' honest and sincere repentence, Jesus accepts and forgives him. Read Luke:19:9-10 . Amazingly, while Zaccheaus was searching for a way to wipe the sin from his life, Jesus was seeking him to do just that. To make it possible for God to accept someone who has sinned, Jesus must replace that sin with His righteousness. This happens because Jesus lived a perfect life on earth, then died on the cross and shed His innocent blood, and finally rose again to life. The blood of Jesus atones (pays the price for) our sin. At that point, when God looks at us, He sees only the righteousness of Jesus.

Again hide your hand from the children's view. Place the black rubber band over your first two fingers, and the red rubber band over your last two fingers (left of picture below). Tuck all four fingertips into both rubber bands (center of picture below). With your hand in a fist, thumb facing you, turn and show the knuckle side to the children.

Explain that the black rubber band represents sin in their life. Everyone has sinned ( Romans 3:23 ), and that sin separates us from God. But the blood of Jesus is available to wash away that sin. Quickly open your hand, with your fingers slightly separated, and the rubber bands will exchange places (right of picture above). The righteousness of Jesus replaces the sin in our life.

Will Death Be Your Victory?

In full view of the children, replace the black rubber band (on your smaller two fingers) with the white rubber band. Twist the black rubber band over the tips of your fingers to "lock" the others in place (see left of picture below). Explain that Jesus has prepared a new and perfect body (the white rubber band) for those who have accepted His gift of atonement (the red rubber band). As a result, death (the black rubber band) is not to be feared. Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 . Our bodies are "perishable", but our soul is "imperishable", and (if atoned for) will live forever with Jesus.

For the final time, hide your hand from the children's view. Tuck all four fingertips (with entwined black rubber band) into both rubber bands (center of picture below). With your hand in a fist, thumb facing you, turn and show the knuckle side to the children.

Quickly open your hand, with your fingers slightly separated, and the rubber bands will exchange places in spite of the "blocking" black rubber band (right of picture above). Where, oh death, is your victory indeed?

Re-read Jesus' invitation to Zacchaeus in Luke 19:5 . This is the same invitation Jesus offers to us in Revelation 3:20 . If we accept His invitation as Zacchaeus did, we too will switch to the narrow path. Our life may be harder, but through the narrow gate lies eternity with God Himself. Read Revelation 21:1-5 . This is what Christians have to anticipate. All things will be made new.

Application Questions:Will you see God's new heaven and new earth? Are you part of His new creation right now? If not, will you accept His invitation, repent of your sin, and start a new life with Him today?

Used: KIDZ 4/97 , BSF 9/99 , BSF 10/00 , MArl 12/00 , KIDZ 9/01

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