Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What comes to mind when you think of these words: overhaul, makeover, restoration? Give an example of things that have gone through one or more of those radical changes.
2. When have you said, “It’s just too small for me anymore” or “It came up short”? What caused the problem? What did you have to do to correct the situation?
Read Luke 19:1-4.
1. Verse 2 tells us three things about a main character in this account. We learn his name (which is derived from a Hebrew word meaning bright, clean, or pure), his occupation, and his financial state. If you only had this information about Zacchaeus, why might you expect him to be a more heroic figure?
2. Despite having reasons to “stand tall,” Zacchaeus “came up short.” Why does it seem strange that a person of such power would stoop to climbing a tree rather than using his authority to move people out of his way? Why was he so desperate to see Jesus?
Read Luke 19:5-7.
3. Compare verses 5 and 6 to Luke 15:1, 2 John 4:39-41, and Revelation 3:19, 20. In that culture, what was the significance of coming into someone’s home and sharing a meal?
4. A common saying is that a man is known by the company he keeps. From what we read in Luke 19:7, how do you think the people of Jericho would have interpreted such a saying? See also Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:36-39.
Read Luke 19:8-10.
5. What are we communicating to someone when we offer to “go 50-50” or to “split it down the middle?” Zacchaeus promised to give half of all he owned to the poor. Note the similar promises found in Esther 5:3, 6; 7:2 and Mark 6:21-23. How did this radical promise communicate a change in the way Zacchaeus viewed himself and others?
6. Where did Zacchaeus get the idea of paying back four times what he stole from others? See Exodus 22:1, 2 Samuel 12:4-6. With that in mind, what might Jesus have been saying to the grumbling crowd in Luke 19:9?
7. When we recognize that our life “comes up short” by God’s standards, we see a need to make changes. Which of these “makeover” TV shows best reflects the degree of transformation needed in your life?
Love It or List It—It is time for me to evaluate my life for needed changes.
What Not to Wear—I am shopping for some new “clothes” for my attitudes and actions that better “fit” my profession of faith.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition—It is time to get out the sledgehammers and demolish and rebuild parts of my life that need it.