The Story of Zacchaeus

Jesus changed the lives of many people. Meet Zacchaeus

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Memory Verse

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:10​
Story Characters

Zacchaeus
Jesus
Man
Voice 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Narrator
Crowd voices/Servants

Transcript

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NARRATOR

Throughout his ministry, Jesus changed the lives of many people by giving them mercy and hope. Let’s meet Zacchaeus a man who you wouldn’t expect could change.

SCENE 1 – A Jewish home – exterior

(MAN, ZACCHAEUS)

A knock at the door. The door opens.

MAN

Hello? May I help – (realization dawns) Oh, it’s you, Zacchaeus ...

ZACCHAEUS

Good day fellow citizen of Jericho. This will only take but a moment-

MAN

(interrupting)

I know why you’re here, Zacchaeus. Wait right there.

(Beat. Then the sound of muffled coins in a bag)

MAN

(glumly)

There you are. My share of taxes. 15 silver coins. Now take it and leave.

ZACCHAEUS

Oh but I’m afraid that this is not enough.

MAN

But that’s what I paid last time. And it was too much then.

ZACCHAEUS

I’m afraid that your taxes have gone up to 25 silver coins.

MAN

What! Who says?

ZACCHEAUS

I say. And that’s all that matters in this case.

MAN

But that’s ... that’s ...

ZACCHAEUS

That’s the way it is. Ten more coins, please. 

MAN

Absolutely not.

ZACCHAEUS

Well, then perhaps you’d like to discuss this with a Centurion ... Or perhaps two ... On your way to prison?

Beat.

MAN

Wait here.

PAUSE

Man returns to the door. Coins exchange hands.

ZACCHAEUS

Thank you, my kind man.

MAN

Now go. You’re a traitor and a thief.

ZACCHAEUS

Just doing a job which needs to be done. Good day,

sir.

Door closes a little harder than necessary.

ZACCHAEUS

(walking along talking to himself) It’s convenient that the Romans use our own countrymen to do their dirty work. Of course, it does make people like me quite unpopular. On the other hand, I do get to keep everything over and above the actual taxes I collect. Still, “traitor and thief?” That seems a little harsh. Then again (sighing) ... maybe not. Well, twelve more houses to go today.

MUSIC – Bridge to

SCENE 2 – Street in Jericho

(VOICE 1, ZACCHAEUS, Various VOICEs, JESUS)

Excited voices, many footsteps as a crowd begins to gather.

ZACCHAEUS

Oof! Ow! What’s happening with all these people? Oof! What’s going on?

VOICE 1

What? (disdainfully) Oh, it’s you. The tax collector.

ZACCHAEUS

(pleading)

Please tell me what is happening.

VOICE 1

If you must know, Jesus of Nazareth has come to Jericho.

ZACCHAEUS

Jesus? The teacher? The ... healer? Here?

VOICE 1

Not that he would want to have anything to do with the likes of YOU.

ZACCHAEUS

But I ... I must see him.

VOICE 1

Good luck. No one’s going to move so the shortest guy in town can see Jesus.

ZACCHAEUS

(determined) I MUST see Jesus.

ZACCHAEUS makes sounds of exertion as he struggles

to see over the gathering crowd.

ZACCHAEUS

Please ... let me see ... I want to see Jesus ... please...

VOICE 2

He’s coming this way!

VOICE 3

Jesus! Over here!

ZACCHAEUS

No, no! I can’t miss him.

Rapid little footsteps as ZACCHAEUS begins to run

ZACCHAEUS

(out of breath) I need to ... stay ahead of Jesus ... I must ... think ...of something ...

ZACCHAEUS

Ah! There! That tree!

Branches creak as Zacchaeus climbs, rustle of leaves, Zacchaeus breathing hard.

ZACCHAEUS

(exhausted and relieved)

Yes ... I can see him! There he is!

Crowd grows closer, shouting to Jesus. Crowd suddenly grows quiet.

VOICE 4

Why did Jesus stop?

Crowd murmurs.

Beat.

JESUS

(calling) Zacchaeus!

ZACCHAEUS

(amazed) He ... He knows my name ...

JESUS

(More of a plea than an order) Zacchaeus ... quick! Come down!

ZACCHAEUS

Come down? Me?

JESUS

Yes, you. I must stay at your house today.

Crowd murmurs.

VOICE 5

Stay at the house of a tax collector?

VOICE 2

A sinner?

ZACCHAEUS

My house? (Gladly) Yes! You may stay at MY house! Yes, Jesus. Yes!

More negative crowd reaction.

MUSIC – Bridge to

SCENE 3 – Zaccheaus’ house

(ZACCHAEUS, JESUS, VOICE 5, VOICE 6)

Door flies open, footsteps rapidly approach.

ZACCHAEUS

(excitedly) Servants! Everyone! Prepare your finest meal! We have a SPECIAL guest today!

Servants respond and leave to begin their work.

ZACCHAEUS

(To Jesus) Welcome to my home, Lord. Welcome.

Crowd gathering outside to protest Jesus’ choice of home

VOICE 5

Why is Jesus staying with that ... that... tax collector?

VOICE 6

Why would he stay in the home of a sinner?

ZACCHAEUS

(loudly enough so the crowd can hear him) Here and now, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. If I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay them back four times as much!

[CROWD RESPONDS WITH SHOCK]

JESUS

(speaking loudly so everyone can hear him) Salvation has come to this home today! This man Zacchaeus has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to see and to save the lost.

ZACCHAEUS

And for that ... I am truly thankful.

MUSIC UP AND TAKES US TO

NARRATOR

From sinner to seeker to -follower, Zacchaeus became an example of the change that takes place in our lives because of Christ. Yes, the same happens in our lives too, a change from the inside out. If you would like to read more stories of Jesus’ ministry, check out the gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and  John. They are in the New Testament part of your Bible.

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