Prince Pauper Passion
Mar 27, 2018
In 1881 Mark Twain wrote a novel entitled, The Prince and the Pauper. The plot involved two young boys, who were approximately the same age and were almost identical in appearance. One boy was the son of a King while the other was the son of a pauper.
The Prince, wanting to experience life outside the confines of his luxurious castle estate, invites the pauper to exchange his life of want and squalor for the wealth and privilege of Royal living.
Which one then was the prince? He who had the appearance and was enjoying the privileges or he who had the birthright and the title? If you can understand this, then you can understand to a small degree what Jesus did. He removed from Himself all that gave the appearance that he was Divine and entered the world; this Prince became a pauper for our sakes.
Jesus did not come to earth in the splendor, pomp and glory of the second eternal being of the Holy Trinity. Descending from the eternal light of Heaven into the darkness of a teenage girl’s womb from the ghetto of Nazareth, He would be born in a damp and filthy cave. He would exchange His mighty throne in Heaven to sleep shivering and hungry in a feeding trough for animals.
Growing up, He would know fatigue and having to earn His keep working by the sweat of His brow as a Carpenter, though He Himself had created the entire universe with but a mighty word of command.
His entry to His capitol was not riding upon a stallion before an immense army as would King David, his throng of soldiers raising high their swords and spears. Instead He rides in on a donkey, while an army of oppressed and impoverished people raise high their palms.
The measure of His life is summed up in these words, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” He did not claim or demand what was rightfully His, but suffered as a poor, homeless Jew.
As Saint Paul reminds us: “Jesus for your sakes became poor, that through His poverty you might become rich.” God reaches all the way from Eternity down to us and grasps us by the misery and poverty caused by our sin and malice.
He is able to take us by our hands and hearts because of the Incarnation which enables Him not only a human body in which to do so, but a human heart and soul in which to embrace us with the fullness of His divinity.
In the Garden of Eden, how foolish and ironic that Adam and Eve in trying to grasp that forbidden fruit in order to become like God themselves, were already in fact like God. God’s great power is not demonstrated ruling over others like a tyrant, but rather giving life and love like a doting parent.
We are most like God, most empowered by God when we promote, protect and respect life and others by loving and serving God by loving and serving one another, as Christ so humbly did in the form of that servant.
The disobedience of man is overcome by the obedience of the Son of Man and God: “For I have come not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
The paradise that was once the Garden of Eden is restored and infinitely improved upon by the precious blood of Christ spilled in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And the forbidden fruit grasped from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, would be transformed into the freshest and ripest fruit of our salvation, given to us to eat and consume from the Tree of the Cross: The crucified and now risen body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
As Jesus would be stripped of His garments and be totally naked and exposed by way of this awful humiliation…He would allow Himself to be stripped and emptied of the use of any of the powers, privileges, and prerogatives of His divine status.
Christ tasted real human life, and this must be the flavor of our journey with Christ. Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Compassion. The prefix “com” means with, together, completely and with intense force. This is how we share in the glory of Christ and His equality with God and we are able to do so because of the Incarnation and Passion of Jesus Christ.
Jesus redeemed us from sin and said, "Come and follow me. Walk as I walked and live as I lived." Jesus gives us hope. He gives us courage. And, when we fail, He show us compassion and says, "Try again, I am here to help."
There is no cheap grace here. No passing the blame to God because "I am only human." There is only the man Christ Jesus, example, friend, and brother in tribulations, friend and Saviour.
“God’s Love is the Greatest Love of All.”
And so, isn’t it wonderful that you and I who were once paupers, are now children of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Impassioned and with compassion and humility, let us now love as He commands us to…like Him.