Coming into the Kingdom
Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) gave Christianity a tough time in his humorous stage shows and writings. It wasn’t true Christianity he mocked but its hypocritical, stodgy practices.
Clemens not only wrote about Tom Sawyer. He was Tom Sawyer. And he didn’t tell the half, such as his prank on friends…and enemies…of dropping watermelons on their heads from upper windows, nearly killing them. Huck Finn was no imaginary friend but a true friend of another name.
So to the muddy-footed boy those black-clothed preachers who equated melon dropping and dirty feet to being the devil were silly. And lace-bound aunts who thought shoelessness in church was damnation yet gossiped in the pews were irrelevant. That was the “Christianity” Clemens loathed.
But we know Clemens was a Christian at heart, or at least aspired to be, because one of his greatest stories, The Prince and the Pauper, explains the Gospel so well.
Young Tom Canty, a very poor beggar boy mistreated by his evil father, goes to King Henry’s castle to beg food and is discovered by young Prince Edward, his same age, who insists Tom play with him by exchanging clothes and discovers they look like twins.
Tom and Edward role play but when Edward goes outside for a moment he is mistaken for the beggar boy he appears to be and beaten away from the castle grounds despite his protests that he is their prince.
Tom, dressed as prince, is treated as if he is the missing Prince Edward and mistakenly made king when King Henry dies. All comes right in the end thanks to the discovery of the royal seal, which was hidden where both boys corroborated, proving their story of having played together, innocently exchanging places.
What better fiction to reveal the greatest Truth of all time? The King of Kings, GOD the Son, exchanges places with the least worthy sinner of all, me… for example. He, JESUS, gives me His purity so I can be with Him in His kingdom. All by making Himself the poor but pure pauper, sinless, yet abused and beaten until He returns to His rightful place through sacrifice and putting himself at risk to correct the wrong humanity has done. In the end, King and servant live together in joy in the kingdom, as we’re told that the worst sinner will be with Christ because Christ’s sacrifice as pauper gave the right to see Him as He is. That kingdom that began when the King lived among His citizens, the pauper Kings who know and love JESUS and serve Him among His people.
The way JESUS tells His followers to pray is to make them pauper Kings, serving Him by loving others and letting them know how to get back to Him on His throne. To make His kingdom come on earth by their representing Him and it among the masses. For the Father’s will to be done by His children pointing others to Him to bring them Home to the throne with them by pointing them to Him.
Sam Clemens knew that. He wrote about it. And I hope he is enjoying his King in the Kingdom today. And we Believers are pauper kings for JESUS, telling others about the new Life He has given us by taking our place and sealing us with His royal seal, no matter how muddy our feet were.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10 ESV