Monday 12 September 2022

Bible Book:
2 Kings

He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water. He said, 'Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? Where is he?' He struck the water again, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha crossed over. (vs 13-14)

2 Kings 2:1-15 Monday 12 September 2022

Psalm 47


Elisha is given the privilege of witnessing the glorious assumption of his Master. What is most significant about the experience is not so much the manner of the Master’s departure, but Elisha’s vision of the heavenly power and earthly host. Elisha is empowered by the experience. The same point is made in the New Testament accounts of the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:2-36). Witnessing the event, Peter is quick to focus on its glorious aspect and makes an enthusiastic proposal out of ignorance. However, when Luke speaks later of Jesus being ‘taken up’ (Luke 9:51), the focus is on Jesus’ fulfilment of his mission. We are, perhaps, inclined to focus on the glory of the ascension of Elijah and Jesus, but what is actually important is the fulfilment of God’s will. The purpose of Elijah’s being taken up is the inauguration of the ministry of Elisha. In the account of Jesus’ ascension in Acts, the immediate concern of scripture is likewise with the continuity of ministry, the empowerment of the disciples of Jesus with the presence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2, 11, 22).

For all that the passage of scripture is about the glorious ascension of the Master, it is important to see also that it is about prophetic succession, continuance of ministry, maintenance of discipleship. The disciples follows the Master resolutely, until they are given the gift of the Spirit for their task. The main point of the narrative is the continued availability of people who would proclaim the world of the Lord. The people of God are not left abandoned and alone. As one prophet passes on, another is immediately raised. The ministry in God’s name will go on.

Sometimes, in the Church today, we forget that we are part of a great succession of disciples. We were not always here, and we shall not always be here. Before we were born there were others doing the work. Others, who are not yet born, will follow us in the work. We stand in the midst of a great company of saints, a cloud of witnesses, a community on the way. We forget it at our peril and at the peril of the Church. Like Elijah, like Jesus, we do sometimes need to get out of the way in order that the calling of others can come to birth and find fulfilment.


To Ponder:

  • Do you agree that sometimes we can get in the way of developments by holding onto tasks in the Church?
  • Are you frustrated by a situation in your local context where  people do not let others develop in ministry?
  • What should the Church (whether locally or wider) do to identify, encourage and enable the development of the ministry of new leaders?
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