A Prince in Rags -A Parable of the Incarnation

There was once a good King who lived is a very beautiful palace but his Kingdom was` threatened by civil war and rebellion. He was a great and noble King. He had united the Kingdom when it was made up of uncivilized savage tribes and taught them wisdom. He had defeated many enemies who threatened the peace of his land. But now many years had passed and most of his people had forgotten his brave and wonderful deeds. There were also many enemies of the King living in the land and they were spreading propaganda and lies against the King.

After sometime the King called together his Chief Ministers and Counsellors. They debated for many hours, suggesting plans to deal with the trouble and rebellion among the people. At length one

of his senior counsellors said, “Your Majesty, the only way to win back the loyalty and trust of your subjects is for you to make a full tour of every city and village of the land. Then only your people will understand you goodness and greatness. They must see you face to face and hear your wise and good works. ”

All agreed to this plan. But suddenly one old counsellor sprung to his feet and said, ” Have we all forgotten the ancient law of our Kingdom, which says that no ruling King can leave the state capital? His duty is to remain here at the head of the Government. The law cannot be changed.” There was an unhappy silence for some time, then somebody spoke with quiet determination, ” I am the only son of my father, the King. I have always served him loyally, I love him and delight to obey his commands, I was working with him in everything he did for our Kingdom in the past. ” Then turning to his father the noble Prince said, ” Father, if it is your wish and desire, I will make a tour of our Kingdom. I will tell all our people about you, your wisdom, goodness and greatness. I will tell them about the great victories our armies won in the past. If necessary I will visit every city and village in the land.” Everyone was very happy when they heard the Prince speak. They all knew that he had the same wisdom, goodness, and greatness as his father. They were fully confident that he could win back the loyalty of the people. They began to discuss the details of his tour, which of the royal robes he should wear, the servants he should take, what would be the size of his personal body guard, which of the royal chariots he would ride in, what castles and nobles he should visit. There was much discussion on these matters, but after some time the Prince spoke again with quiet determination. ” I will take none of my royal robes. I will need no servants, a personal body guard is not necessary, I will not use any of the royal chariots, I do not need to visit any of the palaces or nobles of the land. ”

They were all stunned to silence as they heard the Prince speak, ” But how will you tell them about your father without robes and servants and body guards and chariots? The King interrupted and spoke, ” My son has spoken what was in my heart. My people will understand my wisdom, my deeds and my character more clearly if my son visits them without these things. It is my will that he should go as my servant to serve the needs of my people. ”

After some days the Prince left his Father’s palace and chariots and soldiers and servants, dressed as an ordinary villager. He set out on his important task. He knew his father was with him although he had left his palace. At last he reached a village where a poor family gave him food and shelter. They had no idea that he was their Prince. In the morning he asked the headman of the village if he could remain in the village for some time. The headman was suspicious of the stranger, but agreed reluctantly. With the help of some of the villagers the Prince built himself a little hut to live in. He borrowed an axe and joined the other men of the village who were living by cutting down trees in the surrounding forests.

After several days he won the friendship of some of the villagers. They liked the stranger because of his kindness and frankness. After the day’s work was over the Prince spent many hours visiting the families. He helped them with their problems. He talked to them about the King. Some of the villagers were suspicious of him and spoke evil against the King. Some leaders from the town came to visit him one day and they asked him plainly who he was. So he told them,” I am the King’s son, he has sent me to tell you about him, he is a very good and great King—he is like me “. This made them very angry and they said he was mad, but some of the village people remained friendly with him.

Each day he collected a few of them who wanted to listen and he told them more about his father, he told them that they too must go and tell their friends about his father, Some really believed he was the King’s son, but most of them either ignored him or thought he was mad. Sometimes he visited other villages and the people were very happy to listen to him, but their leaders and the King’s enemies gave him trouble. Often he was tired and lonely but he never gave up or grew discouraged. He knew he was pleasing his father. This gave him joy and courage.

This story may help us to understand how Jesus Christ, GOD’S ONLY SON left Heaven and lived on this earth as an ordinary man. He was the PRINCE OF HEAVEN clothed in the rags of earth. In the Bible we read six facts about Jesus and how He came to earth. Most of these facts are clearly stated in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Chapter two, in the first eleven verses.

Paul was ‘writing to Christians who were self assertive and quarrelsome. They were anxious to mike a good name for themselves and to put themselves into positions of leadership and influence. Paul told them to think about Jesus and have the same attitude and way of life as He had. So he told them about Jesus who ‘ always had the very nature of God but he did not think that by Price he should try to become equal with God. Instead, (of his own free will he gave it all up, and took the nature of a servant. He was born like man, he appeared in human likeness; He was humble and walked the path of obedience to death—his death on the cross’ (TEV. Vv. 5-8). The coming of Jesus, to earth as a man is called by the theologians the INCARNATION (IN FLESH). He taught them this doctrine to help them to be humble and self less like Christ. We study doctrine not just to strengthen our minds but to make us more godly and true in our Christian living.


SUMMARY FOR BIBLE STUDY Ccreator of all things, Jn 11-3.

He has always existed, throughout eternity, as God. He is perfectly at one with the Father. This is a unity of Love, as well as status. LET US HAVE THE SAME HUMBLE ATTITUDE TO CHRIST AS WE HAVE TO GOD.

Humbled himself. Heb.5:7& 8.

He voluntarily laid aside His royal status and became His Father’s slave as a man. He learnt obedience through suffering and temptation. LET US WORSHIP AND LOVE THE ONE WHO EMPTIED HIMSELF FOR US.

Royal Prince clothed in rags. Jn 1: 14.

He did not cease to be God. He temporarily gave up His divine right to outward show of power, so that He could show the real glory of His divine love. LET.US GAZE AT CHRIST TILL WE SEE THE GLORY OF GOD.

Instructed by His example, Matt. 11 :28-30.

He came from Heaven to teach us to be meek and lowly. He did not insist on His divine or human rights. He was not interested in worldly influence or prestige. LET US MAKE MEEKNESS AND LOWLINESS OUR CHIEF AIM.

Subject to human limitations, Heb. 4:15.

He willingly took upon Himself the loneliness, the fatigue and the misunderstanding of being a human leader, dependant on God alone. LET US REJOICE THAT HE HAS EXPERIENCED OUR TROUBLES.

True God and true Man Col. 2:9.

He combined two natures in one person. He had the same being as God and shared all our human characteristics. He was perfect God and perfect Man at the same time. LET US WORSHIP HIM AS WE THINK OF THIS MIRACLE.

John Martin

The author, from UK served as missionary staffworker with UESI.

From The Evangelical Student, Jan- Feb.1969 Number 6

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