Summary: Encourages the audience to go ALL THE WAY across Jordan - like Elisha, while all of the other prophets were content to view Elijah’s end from afar.
1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel." But Elisha said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," Elisha replied, "but do not speak of it." 4 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So they went to Jericho. 5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, "Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?" "Yes, I know," he replied, "but do not speak of it." 6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan." And he replied, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So the two of them walked on. 7 Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 2 Kings 2:1-8 (NIV)
The sons of the prophets (Bible college students, as it were) knew that something fantastic was about to happen. They asked Elisha at both Bethel and Jericho if he knew about it. It had probably been a hot topic, and most of them had discussed it amongst themselves at length.
Fifty of these men even turned out to watch it – and they witnessed a spectacle unmatched to this day. But only on participated in it! Unfortunately for the fifty – they were content to view from afar.
It is said that there are three kinds of people in the world:
• Those that make things happen
• Those that watch things happen
• Those that wonder “what happened?”
I invite you to travel with me from Gilgal to the other side of Jordan today. In a short while, things are going to change. The anointing is about to fall – God’s spirit is going to be given. When the Spirit is outpoured – where will you be?
There’s nothing wrong with Gilgal, Bethel, or Jericho. But when God wants to do a work on the other side of Jordan – in which of those cities do you want to stop?
Will you participate in what God is doing – or will you be content to view from afar?
First – about Elijah and Elisha
There is a great significance in the names and character of these men. And we are talking about a transfer of anointing between two of the most powerful prophets of the OT.
Elijah – first appears in the 17th chapter of 1 Kings. His most famous act was calling down fire from heaven before the prophets of Baal.
Elisha – had followed Elijah as an “assistant” of sorts for 8 years. In our text today, we see Elisha asking Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. It is interesting to note that the Bible records exactly twice the number of miracles in Elisha’s ministry (Elijah 7, Elisha 14)
Key point – in this chapter – we see the old, which was good, transferring the anointing to the new, which was better. Follow me as we discover a striking parallel to this story in the Kingdom of God.
The names of these prophets tell a story in themselves:
• Elijah – means God is Jehovah (Old)
• Elisha – means God his Salvation (New)
The significance of these names is amazing to me. The story is about the transfer of anointing between the Old and New. In the Old Covenant, God performed many miracles. Lives were changed, hearts were touched. The anointing was present (Holy men of old spake as they were moved on by the Holy Spirit – 2 Pet 1:21). But in the New Covenant – that anointing rested upon Jehovah’s Salvation (Jesus).
• Jesus – means “Jehovah is become salvation”
• Christ – means the “Anointed one”
When you speak the name “Jesus Christ”, you are saying The One Anointed to Become Jehovah’s Salvation. No wonder we are baptized in that name! No wonder we pray in that name! No title or name of God encompasses the entire plan of God like that name – Jesus!