Shane Johnson

The Prince is a Pauper

“…a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

In The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain describes the birth of the prince and the birth of a pauper in these words: “Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, lay lapped in silks and satins, unconscious of all this fuss, not knowing that great lords and ladies were tending him and watching over him – and not caring either. But there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.”

How appropriate are these words when applied to the birth of our Saviour! He Himself assumed the lowly place of a pauper, though He was the Prince. For our sakes He became a pauper, that through His impoverishment we might become rich (2 Cor.8:9).

Jesus Christ stepped out of the wealth of heaven and was born into this earthly family of paupers, assuming a nameless identity like that of Tom Canty. Just as Tom Canty was garbed in poor rags, our Saviour too, was wrapped in poor rags, not robes of satin or silk.

No fanfare attended Tom Canty’s birth, and none attended the birth of our Lord. Lords and ladies may have attended the birth of the noble Edward Tudor, but none attended the birth of the noble Lord Jesus, save a few horses and cows. The only ones tending to the Lord Jesus, watching over Him instead of their flocks by night, were a few lowly, nameless shepherds.

He who was attended by thousands upon thousands of angels, forsook His entourage in order to come and be associated with me. Truly the Prince took the place of the Pauper, in order that I might be raised from the dunghill and seated among princes.

Hallelujah Christmas! Praise God for the Incarnation! Mark Twain celebrated the humility of a pauper king through a work of fiction, but the Al-wealthy Lord of the Universe disrobed Himself of glory in order to cloth me with the garment of His salvation. And that’s not fiction!

Risen Lord Jesus, Author of life
Lifter of death’s curse, Bringer of light
Ram of redemption, sweet Lamb of God
River of mercy, Fountain of love

You are my Saviour; You are my God!
Jesus Redeemer, Jesus my Lord
You are my Saviour; You are my God!
Dying to save me on Calvary’s cross.

Matchless Lord Jesus, free from all sin
You came from Heaven, my soul to win
Unblemished Saviour, whiter than doves
full son of Adam, full Son of God

Shane Johnson

This article is an excerpt from Shane’s book 31 Days at Bethlehems Manger: Christmas Devotional.

Shane Johnson
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