The Children\'s Chapel

Tree Trouble! by Steven Wilson

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost

Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian

“Quick!” said Ruth to her brother Luke. “We've got to help Uncle Reuben.”

“Oh no!” said Luke, munching on a falafel. “This is going to be painful. I just know it.”

Ruth handed her brother a long stick and said, “Follow me!” She ran from the house and Luke hopped after her, fighting to get his sandals onto the right feet.

“But where are we going?” he called out, finally securing his footwear. “And what are the sticks for?”

“You'll see!” she shouted back as she sped up the hill towards Jericho. The two children were always rushing out to help Uncle Reuben. He was the local administrator and that meant if ever there was any trouble, he had to sort it out, and there was certainly trouble this morning.

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Ruth and Luke raced through the streets of Jericho until….

They crashed, sliding into a large crowd of people all of them seemingly fighting with each other “Aaargh!” They crashed, sliding into a large crowd of people, all of them seemingly fighting with each other.

“Ouch!” said Luke as an old lady started to bash him on the head with a watermelon.

“Sorry!” said Ruth to the lady and pulled her brother to the ground. They began to frantically crawl between the legs of the crowd.

“Ouch! Ooh! Ouch!” said Luke as people kept missing Ruth but treading on him. “I knew this would be painful.”

Finally they crawled out from the crowd at the base of a large, gnarled sycamore tree. The tree was nearly forty feet high with a short trunk and spreading branches.

The Children\'s Chapel - Award-winning site, featuring Bible stories from a variety of authors, excellent Christian resources for children, and over 140 links to other Christian and family-friendly sites for kids

Uncle Reuben was standing at the foot of the tree, scratching his hairy chin and looking up into the branches.

There perched in the branches was a man “What's the problem, Uncle?” asked Luke, feeling bruised but wondering what all the panic was about.

“He's the matter,” said Reuben, pointing up into the tree.

There perched in the branches was a man. He was short, podgy and far too old to be climbing trees.

“He's refusing to come down! He says he's going to stay there to get a better look.”

“We've brought sticks,” said Ruth helpfully. “We could get him down with these.”

Their Uncle looked down at them, shaking his head.

“No!” he said. “I don't think that would be very kind, and, besides, I've tried everything. I've tried reasoning with him. I've tried shaking the branches. I've even tried climbing up to get him, but I just can't budge him. It'll take a miracle to get him out of that tree.”

Zacchaeus come down At that moment, the crowd cheered as a man walked along the road. But instead of walking past, he turned to the tree. The crowd parted. He was serene and calm. He looked up into the branches and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Instantly, and without the slightest grumble, Zacchaeus climbed down from the branches and embraced the man.

“Wow!” said Luke, amazed at how easily the man had got Zacchaeus out of the tree. “That was a miracle!”

“You bet!” whispered their Uncle as Zacchaeus and the man walked off into the crowd. “That was Jesus, and he's the world's greatest miracle.”

1. Was Zacchaeus short or tall?
2. Why did Zacchaeus climb a tree?
3. Why didn't Zacchaeus want to come down at first?
4. Who persuaded Zacchaeus to come down from the tree?
5. Why was he willing to obey Jesus' request to come down from the tree?

You can wait for Jesus anywhere!

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).


Would you climb a tree and wait just so you could see Jesus? What if you had to climb a mountain to see Jesus, or cross an ocean, or travel the world in order to see Him? Would you do whatever it takes to get to see Jesus? What if, in order to get to see Jesus, you had to do something others wouldn't like you to do? Do you think God ever expects us to obey Him even when others laugh at us or get angry over our decision?

[After discussion:] The good news is that you don't have to climb a tree or a mountain, or cross an ocean, or travel the world to see, or talk to, or get to know Jesus. Jesus wanted Zaccheus to invite Him into his house. He wanted to go home with Zaccheus.

In the same way, Jesus wants you to invite Him to live in your heart, make Him Lord of your life and obey Him. Jesus said that if you obey Him, He will show Himself to you. Are you willing to give your life to Jesus even when others make fun of your decision?

Go ahead right now. In simple faith, pray to Jesus and invite Him into your life.


Dog and boy praying

Dear Lord, help me not to be afraid
when people are unkind to me
because I believe in You.
Please teach me to hear Your voice
above the shouts of the crowd
and to be brave enough to follow you anywhere.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Luke, chapter 19, verses 1-10


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Last updated July 28, 2022

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