Elijah mentors Elisha

001-elijah-chariotDiscipleship is the core of Christianity. In fact, the essence of discipleship goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God mentored Adam and Adam mentored Eve. They both walked with the Lord in the Garden in the cool of the day. Discipleship is almost a lost art in our Western world, yet if you open the Bible to any section, you will find mentoring taking place.

The word “discipleship” may not make sense to the secular world but there are a couple of synonyms that the secular world will understand because the secular world implements the idea of discipleship on a daily basis. In the trades, master craftsmen usually take on an apprentice. That apprentice works closely with the master craftsman to learn the trade. The master craftsman trains the apprentice to work as he works. Another modern term that the secular world uses in place of discipleship is mentor. The word mentor comes from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to think“, “to project“, “to remain“. A mentor influences the thinking of another. A mentor projects his knowledge to the mentee. A mentee remains under the influence of the mentor until he thinks and acts like his mentor.

In today’s lesson, we are going to examine how Elijah mentored Elisha and prepared him to serve the Lord by serving his people as a prophet.

I. Elijah trains Elisha

For mentoring/discipleship to take place, a master has to reach out to a novice and train him. In I Kings 19, we discover that the Lord mentored Elijah. As Elijah walked through that process, the Lord revealed to him whom he needed to mentor.

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve  pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth . And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.

20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow  you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” (I Kings 19)

Elijah reached out to Elisha and called him to the process of discipleship. The other side of that coin is that Elisha had to answer the call. A disciple has to answer the call in order for the process of discipleship to work. This is a process that Jesus articulated in the Gospels of the New Testament.

23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
24 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. (Luke 9)

Jesus gave that calling to the people who listened to His teaching. This calling was made available to Elisha and it is made available to us today. Will Elisha answer the call? Will YOU answer the call today?

So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the implements of the oxen, and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he arose and followed  Elijah and ministered to him. (I Kings 19:21)

Elisha answered the call to be mentored by Elijah and it changed his life. The people who answer Jesus’ call to discipleship will also have their lives transformed. The question that we need to answer is, “how does Elijah train Elisha“? In order to answer that question, we need to turn to II Kings 2.

1 And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

3 Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.”

4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.

5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.”

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. (II Kings 2)

Elijah trained Elisha by taking him under his wing and ministering as a team with Elisha. This helped Elisha learn how to walk with the Lord and serve the people around him. The other side of that coin is that Elisha had to orient his entire life around learning from Elijah. This is the same calling that we have today as disciples of Jesus Christ. Once we become followers of Jesus Christ, we reorient our lives around the process of learning from Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we also need a human mentor, just as Elisha needed a human mentor. We need to have a more mature believer who is a little further along in their walk with the Lord help train us in the art of walking with the Lord and serving the people around us. Do you have someone like that in your life?

II. The Lord confirms Elisha

If you are a student of the New Testament then you know that the Lord confirmed the ministry of Jesus through miracles. In the book of the Acts of the apostles, Jesus confirmed the ministry of the apostles through miracles. That was not a new phenomenon in the New Testament. We actually discover this same pattern in the Old Testament. Let’s examine how God confirms Elijah and Elisha’s ministry through a miracle.

7 Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite  them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.

8 Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. (II Kings 2)

Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan river on dry land. It was a miracle. God used that miracle to confirm their calling. Elisha was encouraged and motivated to serve the Lord based on that miracle. The people who witnessed the miracle submitted in respect to the calling that Elijah and Elisha had. Today, miracles still happen. The greatest miracle that we can witness in our modern world is a changed life through the power of Jesus Christ. God confirmed my calling through the miraculous transformation that Jesus brought about in my life. He will do the same for you if you answer the call to discipleship.

III. Elisha serves in the power of the Spirit

In God’s economy, leaders are called to serve. Jesus emphasized that with His original disciples.

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20)

God wants servant-leaders to follow Him and serve the people around them. Elisha understood this principle.

9 When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

10 He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”

11 As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho opposite  him saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him. (II Kings 2)

In verse 15, the spirit of Elijah does not mean the ghost of Elijah. It means the character of Elijah. The prophet Elijah was a servant of the people. He was a servant-leader. The people were acknowledging the fact that Elisha was going to be a servant-leader like his mentor, Elijah. This is the same calling that we have today as followers of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul articulated this concept so well in his letter to the Roman church all the way back in the 1st Century.

12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –
13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8)

The Spirit of the Lord leads us if we are followers of Jesus Christ and the Spirit of the Lord is always going to lead us to be servant-leaders. Are you learning to be a servant-leader from a mentor who is already a servant-leader? We need more Elijahs in this world today who actively seek to mentor others. We need more Elishas today who are willing to be mentored so that we can raise up generations of servant-leaders who will change the world. We have enough leaders who are looking out for themselves. We need more who are going to serve the people.

May the Lord help us understand these simple truths and apply them to our daily lives!

2 comments on “Elijah mentors Elisha

    • Thank you for the encouragement. I usually cross post the articles on social media so you will be able to access them either on this blog or Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s