The Greatest of Kings and His Prince




Once upon a time, there was a king, who ruled over a vast kingdom, the largest ever. He was a good and kind king, who had a special dream about what he could do for his people even before there were any. You know there was a time long, long ago when there were no people. The Bible says so.

Before he even had made people, the good king made the earth, the sky and air and weather and seasons. He made the oceans and seas. He made fish and big creatures that live in the oceans, like whales, and land animals and birds and plants for them to eat. So then when the earth was ready he made the first two humans and named them Adam and Eve. He made a beautiful place for them to live, called the Garden of Eden. Just like your parents do for you children now, the king looked after Adam and Eve and always tried to help them, giving them food and care and lots of love. If they needed anything at all they could just ask him for it and he would give it to them if it was best for them. The king called it prayer when people came to him asking for something.

But Adam and Eve committed a serious sin of disobedience so he made them leave the Garden of Eden and work hard for a living in the world. They had some tough times. Adam and Eve had children and their children had children and the number of people in the world grew. They had to work hard, mostly as farmers in hard, rocky land and raising animals like goats and sheep. And it was hot in that part of the world in summer and pretty cold and rainy during the winter.

As many years passed, the king knew his people were naughty sometimes. But he tried to forgive them when they were unkind or hurt each other or did something else wrong. That included kids being mean and lazy and disobeying their parents. He even gave the people rules in which he tried to teach them to love each other and get along and be kind and helpful. To remind them about how important the rules were he wrote them on big stones. He called the rules the Ten Commandments.

But most of his people wouldn't listen to him and obey the rules. They lied, and cheated and even worse. Some even used his name to say bad things about each other, especially when they were angry and quarreling. That was called cursing and swearing, which is pretty bad. The more they did these nasty things the more angry and unhappy they became and the more they tried to hurt one another, sometimes even hitting each other with clubs and knives.

You see, the good king had wanted to have a special place for his people where they would live with him forever and be happy after their lives on earth were over. But he was sad and disappointed at how they misbehaved. It seemed like he was going to chase them away, too, like Adam and Eve. He even threatened to make them suffer a lot of pain forever in a place where all the bad people went when they left earth and it was dark and hot there. Even people who tried to behave themselves would have to go there and suffer like that and the worst of it was they would all be completely separated from the good king. Imagine what it would be like to be separated from your mom or dad or grandmas and grandpas who love you so much and you would never see them again. How sad you would be.

But the king's only son didn't like that idea. He wanted to save all the people from that happening. Maybe he thought that really it didn't seem fair that if people try to be good and love the king and obey his rules and respect their parents and help others should suffer forever.

One day, the king and his son, who he loved very much, thought of another plan to keep such a terrible thing from happening. It would be a great plan for sinners like us who do some naughty things once in awhile if when they leave earth at the end of their lives they could go to this happy place where angels and the king and his son also live. But certain things would have to be done first. For one thing, the son would have to have a very extra-special love for the people of the earth to make it work.

The reason why I say a special love for the people is because the son would have to come to earth and die a very painful death. His dying like this would make up for all the sins of men and women and boys and girls. The Father promised the son that he would make him alive again after three days of death. Even so, can you imagine loving people so much you would be willing to die for them?

Another part of God's plan was that only sinners who have faith, in other words who believe in God, could go to this wondrous, special, place when they leave this earth. As you have probably heard from your parents at home, in the Bible or in Children's Church, God calls this awesome place Heaven.

God the Father's son could have skipped that pain and death and could have been happy with his dad forever. But he loved you and me and all people so much he was willing to leave his place with his dad and come to earth as a human being. Part of the plan was to live with human parents for thirty years in a little town called Nazareth in Israel. Then he would walk around in many places in that dry country and work very hard in heat and cold to tell many stories and give lessons to many, many people about how they should live, and work and be kind and love others. Then he would die on the cross for us sinners to we can go to Heaven, if we believe in God and try to live like he wants us to. So Jesus did all this for us.

Now we don't have to be like saints all the time-no one can be like that. We all do things wrong once in awhile, even when we don't want to. Maybe we don't obey our parents, or don't treat them right, or lie, or say things that hurt the feelings of our friends. Or maybe we don't get our homework done like we should. There are lots of ways to be bad, aren't there? When we are, the important thing is to talk to God in prayer, say we're sorry and ask for his help. In the prayer, the Our Father, we say, "lead us not into temptation." So God can give us extra help in doing the right thing when we are tempted and want to do the wrong thing. There's a name for that help from God: it's called grace. We don't deserve grace, but it's a free gift God gives if we ask for it and just try to live like he wants us to.

And you know what? Reading the Bible is one of the best ways in trying to be good and have a holier life. It's full of great ideas on how to live the way God wants us to. You know, he is the one who thought of writing this book. I often thought that if there was only one book I could have-maybe if I was in a shipwreck and on an island by myself someplace in the middle of an ocean-it would be the Bible. Why? It's so interesting. It's full of God's thoughts and acts and good ideas for happiness at home and school and wherever we live. It not only tells us how to live right but is full of stories about how God created his kingdom, about the wise words and exciting birth in Bethlehem and life of his son, Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead and saved us from suffering forever. It also tells tales of great heroes, men and women who God created and chose to travel around and tell everyone about him and how we can live with him after we leave earth.

The Bible shows that Jesus and his father are God Almighty. Jesus did many miracles that only God could do and an ordinary man could not. His rising from the dead is only one of them, a very big one. Other examples were bringing other people back from the dead, walking on water, telling big storms to calm down, changing water into wine to help out a married couple and curing people of all kinds of terrible sickness even without pills or doctors or hospitals. A young boy helped Jesus do one miracle by giving him a few fishes and loaves of bread and Jesus made it become enough fishes and loaves to feed thousands of hungry people.

That just shows how powerful God is in ruling over the entire huge universe all around us. The universe is our earth and all the planets and stars and other bodies in the sky that we can see and others we can't see because they are so far away it would take us years and years in the fastest airplanes or space ships to visit them. Isn't it amazing that God could make a whole universe? The average person would have enough trouble making one house or a car. We can't even create one blade of grass or one grain of sand, God does.

Another thing to remember is that Jesus just loved people like us so much. He had a big heart for the poor and sick and people who didn't have any friends and we should try to be like that, too. But Jesus especially loved children. The Bible tells us that one time some kids wanted to come and talk with him and his friends tried to keep them away. But Jesus didn't like that and made them let the children come and talk with him. He told them adults should be more like children and he said something bad would happen to adults who harm kids. You might see paintings showing him with little children on his lap and he's hugging them. You'll get some of those hugs from Jesus in heaven some day, and from God, his father, too. We actually have two fathers because the father of Jesus is our father, too, and we are his children, even grown up people like me.

So keep in mind that God the Father loves you and so does his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus proved it by dying on the cross for us. That opened the doors of Heaven for us to live forever with them and our Christian parents and relatives and friends forever. Think about it; it's sure lots of fun with family and friends now, especially on birthdays and Christmas time. But there are going to be even greater times when we are all in Heaven and that will be so different. It'll be sort of like a birthday party every day. We won't have sickness or pain or sad, unhappy days that make us cry ever again. Just good times of joy and laughter and singing songs together that tell how great our God is and how we love him and he loves us.