Every day, the King enjoyed walking through the beautiful gardens of His kingdom, which ended at the river’s edge. He would sit beneath a large oak tree, look out to the other side of the river and dream of expanding his kingdom one day, that all the benefits of his kingdom might be shared with those across the great divide.
As he watched, the King noticed that the people on the other side came daily to the river, attempting to scrub the stains from their garments. Among them was a beautiful, young maiden. The King thought it was time for the Prince to marry, and, as the custom was for the father of the son to choose the bride, he thought she would be right for the Prince.
The King decided to send his son down to the river’s edge in the hope that he would notice the young maiden. Always obeying his father, the Prince went to the river’s edge, veiling himself from view. He watched as the people came to wash their garments and saw the young maiden. She captivated his heart.
Each morning thereafter, the Prince arose anticipating a glimpse of the fair maiden. Each day brought another of her characteristics to his attention.
One day, he noticed sadness in her eyes. Her shoulders drooped. A frown replaced her ready smile. Something seemed missing in her life. He wanted to console her, put her life back in order. He decided to ask the King for help.
Thrilled to hear the Prince had fallen in love with the bride he had chosen, the King told the Prince that it was time for him to cross over to the other side of the river.
As there was no way to get there, they agreed a bridge must be built to span the wide divide. The Prince worked alongside all the King’s carpenters to build the bridge, which had never been done before, but he was willing and determined to reach the other side.
He worked all hours to finish his task. His hands became bloody. His feet ached. His muscles became twisted, but he never complained.
Stories circulated among the people on the other side as to what this meant. Some were amazed at this coming thing. Some looked forward to this new connection with the other side, while others were apprehensive. Some thought it outrageous.
Finally, the day arrived when the bridge was finished and it was time for the Prince to prepare to cross over. He pondered how he should approach the young maiden.
Should he cross over as the Prince? Maybe she would be intimidated. Should he march across as the captain of his father’s army? That would impress her, but then again, it might frighten her.
Should he cross over as a beggar? She might not notice him, and after all, he would be lying to her. He finally decided to leave his royal throne and be as one of the people.
He crossed over at a time no one expected. As the dark of night approached, he made his way quietly across the bridge. Once on the other side, he found a place to sleep in a hollowed out tree.
That night was glorious. The stars were brighter than ever. All the throngs of heaven came to applaud him.
The next morning, he went into the village and found work as a carpenter. He was very generous, making tables, chairs, and building homes for the people. He did amazing things for them, just as his father had shown him.
He lived among them, learning their customs, their traditions, their dialect, everything. He did all he could to show his love for the people, desiring to bring all the benefits of his father’s kingdom into their lives.
Some of the villagers accepted him right away. Others were very skeptical of someone new and different, not trusting what he said. Others were offended.
One special day, he met the maiden, and, after some time passed, she decided he was the one missing in her life.
He proposed. When she accepted, he thought his heart would burst with joy. They became betrothed. As was the custom, he came at midnight and swept her away to their new home on the other side of the river.
~~This parable, of course, illustrates the kingdom of God and how He desired to bring its benefits to earth. I hope you caught the numerous allusions to Jesus’ life.
The Son remained hidden behind the shadow of the Old Testament until the Father revealed the time for Jesus to come, to be the bridge, crossing that great divide between heaven and earth.
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29 NKJV)
May you know the fullness of all God has promised and may you anticipate Jesus’ coming with joy.