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Elijah and Elisha, John and Jesus

In the NT Jesus equates John with Elijah (Matt. 17:1-13); Bruce Waltke makes the case that Elijah and Elisha are types of the passing of leadership from John to his successor, Jesus. Elijah and John both

announce judgment; call Israel to repentance and are followed by the common people; dress alike in their protests against materialism; confront an ambivalent king (Ahab and Herod) and a blood-thirsty queen; are rejected by authorities . . . question God’s calling; and designate a greater successor.

Elisha and Jesus are both identified by a recognized, well-known

true prophet. Both receive the Spirit on the other side of the Jordan (2 Kings 2:7-15; John 1:28); are surrounded by more disciples than their predecessors; are itinerant miracle workers; give life in a land of death; cleanse lepers (2 Kings 5; Mark 1:40-45); heal the sick (2 Kings 4:34-35; Mark 8:22-25); defy gravity (2 Kings 6:6; Matt. 14:22-33); reverse death by raising dead sons and restoring them to their mothers (2 Kings 4: 1-7; Luke 7:11-17); help widows in desperate circumstances; are kinsman redeemers to save from slavery (2 Kings 4:1-7; Luke 4:19); feed the hungry (2 Kings 4:1-7; Mark 8:1-12); minister to the Gentiles (2 Kings 5:1-16); prepare (2 Kings 6:20-23) and sit at table with sinners (Luke 5:29); lead captives (2 Kings 6:18-20; Eph, 4:7-8); have a covetous disciple (Gehazi and Judas); end their lives in a life-giving tomb from which people flee (2 Kings 13:20-21; Mark 16:1-8).

That’s an excerpt from Bruce Waltke, “Meditating on Scripture”. Waltke goes on to note that, following James 5, we should also see ourselves in the careers of Elijah and Elisha, however unlikely that may seem to us. After all, we’re filled with the same Spirit, and we serve the same God.