All of the gospels indicate some of his followers thought Jesus might be Elijah.
But in 2 Kings 4 and 5, it is Elijah’s protege Elisha who works three miracles that are parallel to those of Jesus. In a sense, Elisha foreshadowed the work of Jesus when he:
- Raised a dead boy to life (2 Kings 4: 8-37)
- Fed a hundred people with 20 loves of barley (2 Kings 4: 42-44)
- Cured a man of leprosy (2 Kings 5: 1-19)
Elisha performs a few other miracles in these chapters (4-6) – like purifying filthy water and making an ax float – but these three are extremely similar to Jesus’ miracles. Coincidence? Or Providence?
It seems to me that God intended for the Jews watching Jesus to remember what Elisha did.
And to notice that Jesus did it better.
- Elisha laid on top of the boy to bring him back to life.
- Jesus took the girl by the hand and her life returned (Matthew 9: 26 – Mark, Luke as well). Jesus simply told Lazarus loudly (maybe dead men don’t hear too well) to come out of the grave (John 11: 43) and his friend came back to life.
- Elisha fed 100 with 20 loaves.
- We know what Jesus did with fewer loaves and fishes. And He did it twice.
- Elisha had Naaman wash seven times in the Jordan to be healed of leprosy.
- Jesus made one leper clean with a touch and the words, “Be clean” (Matthew 8:3, Mark, Luke, too). Jesus told 10 lepers to go to the temple and show themselves to the priests. As soon as they turned to go, they were healed (Luke 17).
Perhaps the reason folks thought Jesus was Elijah is that he outperformed Elijah’s protege!
But Jewish observers of Jesus had to know that someone greater than the prophets – at least greater than Elisha – was among them. This led some to worship Him and others to plot His death.
I’m trying to think of a personal application now. But what comes to mind seems contrived. So, I’ll leave it at this: an interesting comparison between Elisha and Jesus, an interesting shadow of what would come.
Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 5:1-6:23, Psalm 72:1-7, Proverbs 18:10-22, John 18: 1-18. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).