The Reading: 2 Kings 2:6-14
“let me inherit a double share of your spirit” (v.9) RSV
Inheritance is by no means only to do with money. In this week’s reading we see that Elisha is keen to inherit from his mentor, Elijah, a double portion of the Spirit. He doesn’t desire this for his own aggrandisement, but for the ministry that lies before him. For years he had followed Elijah and seen great works performed through him. He had also heard his fearless preaching. He was now awestruck at the responsibility of taking over this ministry. Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven and Elisha would be left on his own. How desperate he was that the same powerful Spirit that had enabled his master, should now enable him.
Is this not rather reminiscent of the imminent departure of Jesus who was about to ascend from the Mount of Olives? His disciples were about to be left behind to continue his ministry, but without his presence and his powers they were desperate that he should leave them his Spirit. Of course Jesus did just that. He had already breathed into them in the Upper Room at the Last Supper (John 20:22).
As he left them they saw him “lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). This was a sure sign that he would send the Spirit to them. How similar this was to Elisha’s experience. He too was promised the spirit of Elijah as long as he saw that prophet being taken up into heaven with “the chariots of Israel and its horsemen” (v.12). He did see it, and as a result he received a double portion of the Spirit.
Elisha returned home with the mantle of Elijah – the sign of authority. With it he parted the waters of the river. He then cleansed some foul water with salt (2 Kings 2:19-22). The signs and wonders continued from that day on. This too was the experience of the disciples of Jesus. They continued their Master’s ministry in the power of the Spirit that he sent them on the Day of Pentecost. That same Spirit is essential for our ministry too.
Lord, without you I not only am nothing but can do nothing. Grant me the fullness of your Spirit that I may live my life out and out for you. Amen.
1 What will the Spirit of Jesus enable us to do?
2 What did the disciples have to do after Jesus’ ascension?