The Singing Cobbler

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
One evening, while crowds of people passed through the streets on their way to hear the music, a shoemaker, sitting under a shade before his shop door, was busily engaged with a shoe. He rested from his work, singing one of the most beautiful psalms, scarcely lifting his eyes from the sole, which occupied his whole attention, and quite indifferent to the crowd that passed before him, when a young man stopped suddenly and addressed him:
“Well, my friend, you seem quite happy and contented!”
The speaker was a student. His marked features, his black eyes, his high nose, and his dark complexion, showed that he belonged to the Hebrew race. The cobbler lifted his eyes and answered cheerfully—
“Happy and contented I am, in truth, sir; why should I not be so?”
“I don’t know; but all are not as you. Your poverty might distress you. I suppose you have only to provide for yourself?”
“You are mistaken there, sir,” he answered; “I have to feed a wife and seven children with the work of these hands. I am a poor man, it is true; but I can sing and do my work.”
“I must confess,” said the young man, “that I am very much surprised to see a poor fellow like you so contented with his lot.”
“Stranger,” said the cobbler, putting down his work, and taking hold of his arm with a serious expression,
“I am a son of the King.”
The student turned his head and went away, saying to himself, “The poor man is evidently mad! It is his madness that makes him so happy. I thought I should hear from him the secret of his happiness, but I have lost my time.”
A week passed by, and the student having again occasion to pass down the same street, found the cobbler sitting in the same place, singing as cheerfully as before. The young man, in passing, lifted his cap with a sneering salutation, exclaiming,
“Good morning, Mr. Prince.”
“Stop my friend,” said the cobbler, putting down his work; “a word of explanation, if you please. You left me so suddenly the other evening because you thought I was mad.”
“I must say I believed it,” answered the other.
“Well, my friend, I am not mad. What I said, I said in earnest. I am a son of the King. Would you like to hear a song on my royalty? I will just sing one.”
The young man did not doubt that to accept the offer would afford him some amusement and great satisfaction to the poor man, and he therefore asked him to sing. The cobbler began to sing a hymn on this verse: “Thy kingdom come.” When he finished he asked the young man if he understood it; but he seemed still to be under his old impression.
“I must, then,” said the old cobbler, “explain to you in detail concerning the kingdom of Christ and the glory of the King.”
He began then, with the divine word pronounced in the beginning, at the banishment from paradise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. He showed him this assurance, increasing in light from age to age throughout the prophecies, revealing always with clearer evidence the Redeemer’s kingdom. He showed him how all things which are written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the Psalms, about Jesus Christ, have been fulfilled—how it behooved Christ to suffer these things and enter into glory—how all power in heaven and earth was committed to Him, and how He actually established a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and uniting in holy fellowship Jews and Gentiles. And, with eyes glistening with hope and love, he showed the young man, in language which the depth of his feelings made eloquent, how the subject of this glorious kingdom is a child of God, an heir, a joint-heir with Christ, the King; and how he shall reign with Him forever and ever.
“Now,” said the cobbler, taking the hand of the young Jewish student who sat beside him, and whose whole mind was filled with things he had heard for the first time in his life, about the old promises made to his forefathers; “Now don’t you see how I could say, ‘I am a son of the King,’ and why I am happy and contented? It is because I believe in Jesus, and love Him. And it is the sacred Scriptures which tell me that all things are mine, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come; all are mine, because I am Christ’s.”
Then looking the young Israelite in the face, the old Christian said—
“Believest thou the prophets? I know that thou dost; because I see by thy features that thou art descended from those who believed in the prophets. Then, my son, if you believe in the prophets, you must believe in Him about whom the prophets have spoken.” The young man listened in silence. Strange thoughts crossed his mind. At length he timidly asked this question—
“Where may I learn more of these things, because I see that you believe and that you have peace? O, that I might have it also! For as yet I do not possess it.”
“Here,” said the old man, handing him a volume of the holy Scriptures: “this book you must read attentively at home; and while you are learning from it the way of escape from the enemy of your soul, I shall, as Moses on the mount, pray for you without ceasing, commending you to one who knows you; who is greater than Moses; who is above all.”
The young Jew took the book, and pressing with gratitude the old man’s hand, took off his cap, and saluted him with respect.
“O, that the Lord Jesus,” said the old man, lifting his eves towards heaven, and taking to his work again, “may also graft this one in His own olive tree!”
The story does not end here. The old shoemaker’s prayer was heard.
The young Jew was converted to Christ, and has since distinguished himself by his zeal and success as a missionary among his own people.
“Be it known unto von therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man (the Lord Jesus Christ), is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38, 3938Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38‑39)).