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THE DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

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Costumes In scene 1 costumes from biblical times would be appropriate for Zacchaeus and the other characters. Scene 2 is essentially a monologue for Zacchaeus.

Action Scene 1: Zacchaeus sits or stands behind a table. A man with his wife stops by to pay their taxes, but they don’t have enough money. Zacchaeus presses them to pay the entire amount or go to jail. They reluctantly pay with money they were going to use for food. The couple walks off.
Zacchaeus: Thank you, and have a good day! (singing “I’m in the money. I’m in the money.”)
Scene 2: Zacchaeus is alone on stage.
Zacchaeus: My name is Zacchaeus and that’s what I used to be like before I met a man named Jesus. I am the chief tax collector at Jericho. That means I have several tax collectors working for me. I am a very important person and I used to be very corrupt. We would overcharge people for their taxes, and all of us would get a share of the excess. Of course, I would get the biggest share! I became a very wealthy man. But I became colder and harsher with every illgotten gain. My heart was hardened and I didn’t care about people anymore. My life was money and I always wanted more. And I always got what I wanted. But that was before I met Jesus. Let me take you back to the day that changed my life. One day everyone in Jericho was very excited and talking about this man named Jesus who was approaching our city. I had heard a lot about him—what a wise teacher he was and about some miracles he had done—curing many who had diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, giving sight to many who were blind, and bringing the dead back to life. Some said he even had the power to forgive people’s sins. I had to see this for myself. So flocked up the money that we had collected and began to follow the crowd. There were so many people there that I couldn’t get close to the city gate. But I heard that he had already entered Jericho and would be passing by soon. I also heard that Jesus had just restored the sight of a blind beggar just outside our city and that he was with Jesus, too. Then someone shouted, “There he is!” and I began to push my way through the crowd. Well, as you can see, I am not a very big man and as the crowd pushed back, I found myself right where I had started—still unable to see. The noise of the people became louder, and I knew Jesus was just passing by. I ran over to a nearby sycamore tree and climbed it as fast as I could. I felt a little foolish—with my fancy robe and all—but for some reason I had to see this man from Galilee. I got up into the tree just in time to see him coming. He was walking along talking with the people. A great crowd was following him by now. My heart started pounding as he approached, and as he drew closer, he looked up and saw me. As all the people followed his eyes upward, Jesus called out my name, “Zacchaeus!” How did he know my name? We had never met. I was so caught off guard that I missed what he said next, and he had to repeat it. “Zacchaeus, come down here, for today I’m going to stay at your house.” For some reason I felt something within me change. Jesus was a man known for his compassion. And I was overcome by that love—just by looking at him and hearing him call my name. But Jesus was also recognized for his authority. He seemed to be in charge. But not by taking advantage of people—like I had done—but by loving them. And this was the first time I had ever felt this kind of love. I hurried down the tree and welcomed him gladly. He embraced me, we sat down, and he started asking me some questions. As we talked, some people started grumbling, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” They were probably so looking forward to Jesus staying at their homes. And, of course, they weren’t sinners! When I heard this talk, I stood up and said to Jesus—loud enough so that everyone could hear me—”Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back (pause) four times the amount.” A hush came over the crowd and I heard some people gasp. They started whispering to each other. Probably doubting my sincerity, or figuring out how much I was to pay them! Then Jesus stood up and said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” That was a great day for me. Yes, Jesus did stay at my house that evening. And when he left the next day, he continued to stay in this house (pointing to his heart). His spirit has been with me ever since. And I count it a privilege to be called one of his followers. I also consider myself to be very fortunate. You see, when Jesus left Jericho, he went to Jerusalem. I never saw Jesus again because it was then and there that he was crucified. It’s hard to say if any other man’s voice would have changed my life the way Jesus’ did when he called my name. One thing is for certain: I knew what I had to do when I waS face to face with him and he said, “Zacchaeus.” And I did it. I learned three things that day: For one, I learned that I could overcome any physical limitation if my desire to reach my goal was great enough. How great is your desire to see Jesus? What is standing in your way of seeing him? I also learned that my past sins can be made right and that I can be forgiven. And I learned that when Jesus calls your name, it’s never too late to answer yes, but that now is the best time. Jesus is calling your name today/tonight. Will you answer yes to him?

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