Elijah:Elisha, John the Baptist:Jesus

2 Kings 2 has an interesting story about Elijah and Elisha.

The Lord was about to take Elijah away as the two traveled together. Elijah kept trying to send Elisha away, but Elisha refused to leave. The two men approached the Jordan river. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the river. The water parted so the two men could go across on dry ground.

After they crossed, Elijah asked what he could do for Elisha. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah says if Elisha sees him being taken away then it would be so. Elisha sees Elijah taken away and tears his own clothes in two pieces. So, Elisha took Elijah’s garment that had “fallen” from him and went back to the Jordan. Then Elisha took the garment and struck the water, the water was parted, and Elisha went to the other side.

The other prophets who were there said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”

I think this story is a picture of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, but I’m struggling to see it clearly.

The Jordan river was where Jesus was baptized. Clearly the details of the story in 2 Kings 2 are baptism: water being struck, water parting, walking through on dry ground, etc.

Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan was the start of his ministry. Also, it was essentially the end of John’s ministry as he had prepared the way for Jesus. In 2 Kings 2, we see the beginning of Elisha’s ministry and the end of Elijah’s.

Certainly, Jesus’ ministry was greater than John’s. John said there was one coming after him (Jesus) whose sandals he was not worthy enough to untie. In 2 Kings 2, Elisha gets a double portion of Elijah’s spirit after the “baptism.” Elisha’s ministry was greater than Elijah’s just as Jesus’ was to John’s.

At Jesus’s baptism, the Holy Spirit came down and fell on him like a dove. In 2 Kings 2, in the crossing of the Jordan, we read that Elisha took off his clothes and put on the garment of Elijah, that had “fallen” from him.

I’m sure there are other ways the story in 2 Kings 2 is a picture of the baptism of Jesus and the initiation of Jesus’ ministry. But, even these few connections are quite interesting and demonstrate what Jesus said regarding all the scripture being about him (Luke 24).

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