“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Then it came to him. He had just finished reading “The Prince and the Pauper,” and he thought, “I could do that – dress up like a common peasant and see how the other half lives.” The king had a servant bring him some very common clothes, and he swore that servant to secrecy. And then King Harvest went through a secret tunnel (all kings apparently have one of those) that led to the outside wall of his palace, and he was in the outside world!
It was really quite amazing to the king, who had never really interacted with any common people. He heard people talking rudely, but he also heard them speak gently. He saw a couple of kids steal some oranges from a street vendor, but then he saw a stranger buy some fruit to give to a homeless man. The king quickly figured out that while he had a few bad subjects, he also had a lot of very good and kind subjects. And the king decided then and there that he wanted to live out that kind of love to the least of the people in his kingdom.
So each night, King Harvest changed into his common disguise, and he went to people in the city, carrying with him money to buy food and clothes. He got to know the street vendors, and even became friends with some of them – as an ordinary person named Harry and not as a king. The things he bought from them he would give to the poor “In the name of the Lord.” One of his favorite people was a beggar named Billy, who slept at night near the water under a bridge. Over several weeks, King Harvest and Billy became very good friends, but the king wanted to do so much more than present him with a new outfit or a handful of fruit.
One evening, the king decided he wanted to invite Billy to move into the palace, and so he left the palace as himself, going with his entourage through the front gate. He walked through the streets, shaking the hands of his new friends, though they had no idea he was Harry. When he reached the bridge, he walked gently up to Billy, who was bowing as best he could to show respect to his king. “Billy, look at me,” the king said. “Do you know me?”
The beggar looked up and studied the king’s face for a long while. Finally, he had a spark of recognition. “Harry?” the beggar asked. “Yes,” the king answered. “I’m Harry. I came to you in disguise so that you could know me as a man, and not as a king. But now I want you to come live with me.”
Tears streamed down Billy’s face as he realized what was being offered to him. “Your majesty,” he said, “That’s more than I could ever ask for and more than I deserve. You’re offering me riches. But you’ve already given me the greatest gift of all – yourself.”
That’s really the point of today’s scripture. God could have saved mankind any way He wanted to, but He chose to do it by sending His Son to us as one of us. Jesus lived with us, got to know us, suffered as one of us and died the death that we deserved. He gave us the gift of himself.
The only acceptable response to that kind of gift is total acceptance. To “believe,” as it says in John 3:16 doesn’t mean that we agree that it happened. It means that we place our faith in what happened and in who did it. We accept Jesus as our Lord and our Savior, and we put Him in charge of our life. Then we can have the “eternal life” promised to those who believe.
Today, it’s time to decide whether or not you truly “believe.” Is Jesus a historical figure to you, or is He the King of Kings who sits on your throne. If you already believe, thank the Lord for the gift of His Son, and pledge to follow Him even more closely. And if you don’t believe, what’s holding you back? Reach out and take Him into your heart, and accept His free gift of grace. You can read more about how to do that here.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.