Imagine a king who is both the judge and the one who sets the laws in his Kingdom. The King sets the laws for the good of the people and once He sets a law He, himself, should not break it. Yet this King has the power to break the laws He sets and no one would be able to do anything about it. But because He is such a good King, He bounds Himself to His word and to the laws He sets.
Now, this King has two sons; his most precious children that look just like Him. Because the king loves them so much, He gives them a perfect life. Unfortunately, in a fit of inexperience and greed, the two royal sons go against the King and commit the worst mistake committable in the Kingdom. According to the laws of the land, the punishment for the princes’ mistake, is first, to be banished from the Kingdom immediately for an allotted time, and after the specific period of banishment, the sons would return to the Kingdom to receive, each, a public whipping of 200 lashes. The king, who is the judge in the land, has no choice but to proclaim this judgement on His own children.
But then again, the King is aware that when His children are banished outside the Kingdom, the king’s worst enemy who hates the king to death will take the chance to torture the King’s children just to hurt Him. In fact, the King is aware that it was his enemy who had hatched the evil plan to convince the royal children to go against the law of the land and their father. More so, the King knows that when the time comes for His children to receive the 200 lashes due for their punishment, they would not be able to bear the heaviness of the beating and would surely die from their wounds.
Now even despite his children’s mistakes, this King loves them no less than when they were perfect. He loves them unconditionally. And because of this love, the King cannot bear to see His enemy torture the royal children. He cannot bear the thought of losing them forever when they succumb to the 200 lashes when the time for their punishment finally arrives. So the King comes up with a plan to save his two sons.
According to the laws of the land, He calls His court and announces that He will take upon himself the full punishment in the place of His two children. Because He is strong, the King knows that while 400 lashes will injure him terribly, they will not kill Him; unlike His children who wouldn’t be able to survive the beating. So while the king’s sons are still estranged in the land of their banishment, the King goes forward to take up their punishment and surrenders himself to the public execution grounds. He is stripped of all his royal clothes and despite being the most powerful person in the land, He allows the guards to administer the punishment. From the first 200 brutal lashes to the second set, up until the full 400 whips of retribution for both children’s mistakes is met. He is broken but He doesn’t lose sight of His goal which is to rescue his beloved sons from the reckoning of their failure. And when disgraceful penance is finally done, the King whispers in a breath full of hope amidst the immeasurable pain, “It’s finished.” He can finally say at the whistle of the 400th lash.
With the completion of the punishment, the King takes back His royal clothes and ascends back to the throne, restored to His full honour and glory as the Sovereign ruler of the land. He orders a contract to be written and signed with the blood he shed on the execution grounds. The contract officiates the transfer of the punishment from the two children to the King himself. And at the King’s signature, written in His own blood, the contract becomes law and binding. The only thing that is left is for both sons to sign the contract in their designated places as the signatories to the agreement, according to the laws of the land. So the King orders the royal messengers to carry the contract as fast as possible to the land where His children are banished. He orders them to go with haste upon the fastest horses because from where He is, He can see every terrible kind of torture that his worst enemy has been inflicting on the sons while they were separated from Him in the land of their banishment.
The messengers finally arrive in the land of exile with the good news about what the King had done for his sons. They look through the land, searching for both children to share with them the unbelievable news of their redemption by their father’s great love. Soon, they find the first child barely surviving. The king’s enemy had put him on hard labour and torture day by day. Upon hearing the news from the messengers, the first child breaks down in tears. He had thought he would be lost forever. He believes the messengers, seeing his father’s blood on the contract, and quickly puts his name to the written covenant. At that point, the messengers trigger the power of the covenant, removing the first child from the slavery the king’s enemy had put him under. They assign a group of the Kingdom’s top doctors to tend to the torture wounds the enemy had inflicted on him. In addition, they place the son under the protection of the King’s guard for the rest of the time that he is in the exile land up until the allotted time comes for him to go back to the Kingdom. Since the contract restores the son to his official position as a prince of the Kingdom, they also give him a direct line of communication to the King so that even though the son cannot physically be with the king during his banishment, he can still have full companionship with his father the King.
The messengers leave the first son and go looking for the second. They finally find him in, of all the places, the king’s worst enemy’s mansion. At the order of the king’s enemy, the son leads a group of the enemy’s most dreadful soldiers to capture the King’s messengers and imprison them within the mansion. Even in their captivity, the royal messengers shout the good news to the son with the hope that hearing about His father’s love for him would change his heart. But at this point, the son is blinded by the enemy’s treacherous preferential treatment. Unlike his brother, the enemy has elevated this son to an administrative position in this exile land. So that in all the time that they had been in banishment, this son had got to be the lord over his brother and live in luxury in the enemy’s mansion. Now in their imprisonment, the messengers notice something strange and despicable. In the dead of night, while the son slept soundly in his comfy bed, the enemy would come into his room and drug the son into a heavy sleep. He would then feed on the son’s blood to his content. And after that, physically assault the son in an expression of all the anger and resentment he had towards the King; because the son, even in exile, looked so much like his father the king. So on one night, the messengers record everything that the enemy did to the son in his sleep and showed it to him the next day. “If my father loved me, he would not have allowed me to be banished,” the son said. “At least in his enemy’s house, I live like a king and do whatever I want. I’d rather serve the enemy and have fun now than be brainwashed by your delusions for some unseen hope.” With that, the son takes the contract from the messengers and sets it ablaze.
So, little by little, days go by until finally, the allotted day for the end of the banishment comes. It also happens to be the time for the King to also bring vengeance on his worst enemy. So the King leads his powerful army to the land of exile. When he arrives, he finds out that the first son who had signed the contract of mercy and had been restored as the prince had already taken a lot of territory from the King’s worst enemy, working under the orders of the Kingdom. The King, filled with joy, promotes that son to be co-rulers with Him. They join forces and fight the enemy together with his minions, defeat and capture them. At that point, it finally dawns on the second son that the messengers were right all along. Seeing his father, the King and his brother, the second son remembers the family he had before the banishment and realizes how much he had been shortchanged and beguiled by the king’s enemy all this while. The son quickly cries out for the contract and seeks to sign it and be reunited with his family. However, he had already burnt the contract. And more so, even if he had it, according to the laws of the land, the contract had expired as soon as the allotted time for the banishment had terminated. It breaks the King’s heart that while he had already suffered 200 lashes for the second son, his son had refused to sign the contract and was now doomed to receive the punishment that was due to him. The King had done everything He could, given everything he had, loved his son till the end. Yet his son had decided contrary to His mercy. So now the King, who is also the judge and enforcer of the laws of the land, just as He had enforced the law upon Himself at the punishment grounds, has to enforce the law on the son that had rejected the only way out. The King gives orders for the enemy and his son to be captured and the punishment due to them be administered. He orders the imprisoned messengers to be set free and each rewarded for fulfilling the mission he gave them. Finally, he gives the order for the whole exile land to be destroyed and be built back anew and delegates the administration of the whole estate to the first son who will rule together with him for all time to come.
And that is the end of the story of the king and his two sons, a tale of the king’s unconditional love for his two sons and His faithfulness to an impartial administration of justice.