The Cheater Finds a Friend
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Hi kids. Hey, do you kids like parades? Have you ever been to a really exciting parade, maybe at Disneyworld or right here in our town? You wanted to see everything that was happening but maybe there were just too many bigger people in front of you and you had trouble seeing? Maybe your Dad lifted you up on his shoulders so you could see?
I have a story today that happened when Jesus was living on earth, wearing a human body of skin and bones, like ours, so he could only be in one place at a time, like you and me. Jesus was going from place to place telling everyone about our Father God. Jesus was so full of love and was healing sick people, so everyone in town was rushing to the street just to see him as he walked through their town, just like a parade.
One man was so short, that he couldn’t see a thing! He name was Zacchaeus, but, I’m sure his mother and friends would have called him Zach, only, well, he didn’t have any friends! No friends! You see, he was a cheater; he wanted to have more money than anyone else, so at his job, he cheated people and took more of their money than he should have. People didn’t like that, and they didn’t like Zacchaeus. When he couldn’t see what was happening in the street, no one moved over to let him get to the front. No one offered to boost him up on their shoulders. Zacchaeus had an idea. He ran down the street and climbed up into a big tree right above the street. “Now,” he thought, “I’ve got a better view than anybody!”
Jesus came down the street with everyone in town calling out to him with great excitement. Suddenly, Jesus stopped...He looked straight up into the tree where Zacchaeus sat, and looked at him and said, “Zack! Hurry Down! Today I’d like to stay at your house.” Zacchaeus wondered, “How does Jesus know my name? And, why did he call me Zach, like he was my friend?”
But some of the people from the town said, “What!! We have other people in town with nice houses! That guy is a cheater! Jesus, you don’t want to stay at his house!”
Suddenly Zach knew that more than anything in the world, he wanted Jesus to come to his house! He wanted to hear Jesus call him Zach! He wanted to know Jesus as his friend. Zacchaeus scrambled down out of the tree. He said, “Lord Jesus, I give away half of all I have to the poor, and to all those I have cheated, I will pay them back – four times each!”
Jesus knew that Zacchaeus meant what he said. Jesus did go to Zach’s house and cleaned his heart from the sin of cheating and being selfish. And best of all, he called him Zach, and was his friend.
How about you? Have some of you asked Jesus to be your friend? Oh, we can’t see Jesus walking down the street, wearing skin. But now, because Jesus wears his spirit body, he can come to your house, and my house, and to the homes of people all over the world, at the same time! He can come into the hearts of people all over the world, at the same time. And if you ask him to, he will come into your heart and be your friend, and spend the whole day with you!! Would you like that? Let’s bow our heads and close our eyes, and pray to Jesus, and ask him to do that. Are you ready?
“Dear Jesus, I want to be your friend... I want you to clean my heart...I want to hear you call my name...I want to spend the day with you... Come into my heart to stay... Amen.”