Elijah, Elisha, & Jesus

June 19, 2017

by Erin Bird

Ever been walking somewhere like a city park, happily bouncing along, and find some money, like a $20 bill? And when you look around, and see no one in sight, you realize the money is now yours. That’s a nice moment!

It’s fun discovering things. I imagine there is a rush of excitement for an archaeologist or a miner when he or she comes across some ancient artifact or precious jewel trapped in the rock.

In my own life, I have had a few fun moments of discovering some “gems” in the Bible. Like a miner, I have stumbled onto something that leaves me breathless at the way God has woven the Scriptures together, particularly when it points to Jesus.

The story of Elijah and Elisha is one such “gem.”

I remember years ago reading about the transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17. In the story, Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus, while Peter, James, and John watch. After the event, as Jesus is walking down the mountain with his guys, these three disciples ask Jesus why the experts in Jewish law say that Elijah must come before the Messiah can appear.

And Jesus tells them that Elijah had already come. The prophecy about the coming of “Elijah” was fulfilled through John the Baptist.

This got me thinking - if the prophet Elijah from 1 Kings chapters 17-19 pointed to John the Baptist, then did Elijah’s apprentice, Elisha, point to Jesus?

In 2 Kings 2, Elijah asks Elisha what he would like before Elijah’s time on earth ends. Elisha has the guts to say, “I want a double portion of your spirit.” (Really! He said that. Go look it up in 2 Kings 2:9.)

And God gives Elisha his heart’s desire. As you compare Elijah and Elisha’s lives, you see Elisha do similar and even greater miracles than Elijah. In fact, in the three chapters of 1 Kings that tell about Elijah’s ministry, we see him involved in fourteen miracles. But in the stories about Elisha, we see him involved in twenty-eight miracles. He truly seemed to receive a double portion!

But one of those miracles in Elisha’s life happens after his death. It is recorded in 2 Kings 13:20-21. And it points to Jesus incredibly clearly.

At the time of 2 Kings, the Moabites were enemies of Israel. They would invade Israel almost every spring. One spring day, a group of Israelites were conducting a funeral service when a band of Moabites came rushing by. The small group who gathered for the funeral panicked, so they threw the dead man’s body in the grave and rushed off in search of safety.

But the tomb was the grave of Elisha. Even though the prophet was dead and gone, his bones were in the grave. And when the dead man’s body touched the bones, he suddenly sprang back to life!

Which means there was a resurrection. A dead man came out of Elisha’s grave alive.

I remember sitting on my couch, reading this story for what felt like the first time, in awe of this two-sentence story. In one short paragraph, written a couple thousand years before Jesus walked on the earth, is a story that vividly points to his resurrection. Just as a dead man came out of Elisha’s grave alive, Jesus came out of the tomb alive. Elisha, even in death, pointed to Jesus, the one who truly had a double portion, the one who did far more miracles than Elisha and Elijah combined.

So when you read the Bible, don’t just read it like a self-help manual or an historical textbook. Realize that the Bible continually points to Jesus, that it truly is His Story.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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