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Oct 08

The Parable of the Great King

A boy of nearly six lay weeping on the side of the road. His father, face down in the mud beside him, had just been slain. He was unable to pay the taxes required by the local governor. He pleaded with the collectors to spare his life, as he had no money with which to pay them. This was not their concern. The man was killed; the debt passed to his son.

A woman who witnessed the event came to comfort the boy. “I know this is hard for you to understand now,” she said, “but the King has a plan for all of us.”

The boy had heard of the King all his life, but had never seen him. No one in the town had. But everyone knew the stories. The King was a great man—powerful and wise. He was kind and loving and gave selflessly to help his people. He was even a great healer. The world had never known a greater ruler.

The boy knew the King was great, he’d been told so by everyone, but he couldn’t shake the vision of his father being cut down in the street. “How could the King let this happen?” he asked the woman.

“Child,” she said with pain in her eyes, “my own son was about your age when he was taken by the sickness. I’ve lived with that pain for 30 years, but I have faith in the greatness of our King. If there is suffering in his kingdom, he must have some reason for allowing it. Don’t you know the story of The Terrible Conquerors?”

“Yes, of course” the boy replied. “They invaded our lands until the King drove them away.”

“So, don’t you see? If the King saved his people from that evil horde, then we know he does act to prevent injustice. He shows himself and provides evidence of his greatness and power, but only at certain times.”

“But why couldn’t he help this time? It’s just as good as any! My father searched for work every day, but there was none. He didn’t have any money to give,” cried the boy.

“We must have faith in these circumstances. The King always knows what happens in his kingdom, so there must be some higher reason,” explained the woman with compassion. “Otherwise, it would mean the King is not great and loving.”

The boy turned back to his lifeless father. Tears overcame him once again.

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2 comments

  1. Neil Shenvi

    I loved this parable. I wonder if you’d allow me the liberty offering a continuation:

    That night, the boy returned to the room in his cold, empty hut and on his bed he found a letter. It was a note from the king himself. The note didn’t say anything about the boy’s father. Instead, the boy found himself reading the story of another boy who had grown up in a province that was at war with the king. He had grown up to be a great healer, a friend of the poor and oppressed and a comforter of widows and orphans. He went around the countryside telling people that the king had freely forgiven their rebellion and would accept them as his people. But one day, that boy was arrested by the governor’s soldiers on a charge of treason. The governor’s soldiers tortured the boy and offered him many opportunities to renounce his loyalty to the king. But he refused to, so the soldier’s killed him. The letter ended with one tear-stained sentence written in the king’s own hand: “That boy was my beloved son and that province was your province.”

    “The night on Golgotha is so important in the history of man only because, in its shadow, the divinity abandoned its traditional privileges and drank to the last drop, despair included, the agony of death. This is the explanation of the Lama sabactani and the heartrending doubt of Christ in agony. The agony would have been mild if it had been alleviated by hopes of eternity. For God to be a man, he must despair.” – Albert Camus

    “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

  2. Mike

    Thanks Neil. I was thinking of doing a series of parables and this was the first. As you know, a lot of people respond to pathos over logos.

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