Once upon a time there was a king who had two sons. He loved both of them very much and looked upon them with great pride as they grew from infants to fine looking boys.
One-day bandits kidnapped the younger son and carried him far away to the mountains. Then they sent a note to the king demanding a large ransom for the return of his son unharmed. Fearing for the life of his son, the king met the demands of the outlaws and paid them a large amount of money.
But when the captors received the money they were afraid to return the king’s son for fear they would be caught and punished. So they took him to a distant country where they sold him to a rich nobleman as a slave.
As he grew to manhood the younger son forgot about his home, his father and his brother. In time, all he remembered was his life as a scullery boy in the great castle where he was held captive.
His life as a slave was unbearable. He worked hard from morning to night, but was constantly beaten for not doing more and for anything he happened to forget.
When the older brother was grown, he saw the sorrow in the eyes of his father. He learned the fate of his younger brother and resolved somehow to find him. For many years he traveled over land and sea searching.
Then one day he found the castle where his brother was held captive.
Carefully he planned his strategy. Under cover of darkness he stormed the castle walls, defeated the defending guards and rescued his brother.
However, in the ensuing battle to escape the older brother was struck by an arrow and mortally wounded.
As he was dying he told to his younger brother, “I came from my father and your father to rescue you. You are not a slave. You are a son of the king.”
Even so, Christ is our older brother. He left his Father and his home in heaven, came to earth and suffered and died on Calvary’s cross to rescue you and me. He came to tell us, as Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, that we are no longer slaves of sin; we are Children of the King.
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several Central Texas newspapers.