The subtitle of this book is ‘Encountering Christ in the life of Elisha’. The author says that by doing this the Lord will stand ‘before us in new colours’. If we fail to do this, we will be sadly deprived ‘of many interesting and profitable insights into the nature of Christ’s ministry’.
Some parallels between Elisha and Christ are obvious, such as Elisha’s miraculous feeding of one hundred and Christ’s feeding of five thousand with a few loaves and fishes. Other similarities need teasing out and perhaps in some cases the interpretations are not always accurate. Nevertheless, this is a useful book that deepens our understanding of Elisha, and is Christ-exalting.
Elisha’s life is unfolded in seventeen chapters beginning with his anointing by Elijah in 1 Kings 19 and ending with the bones of Elisha coming alive again in 2 Kings 13:20-21.
The first event points us to Jesus being anointed by the Spirit at his baptism. The final event points us to Christ, the resurrection and the life, who gives us spiritual life and will raise our bodies when he comes again. In the intervening chapters we learn about salvation, faith, and grace; and we consider Christ’s power, trustworthiness, goodness, and severity.
The story of the four lepers with good news to tell is a delightful illustration of Christ’s provision of salvation (2 Kings 6-7). To quote Legg: ‘The abundance of food, the result of the enemy’s flight, speaks of the amazing provision of every aspect of salvation: forgiveness, justification, adoption, the inheritance of eternal life, reconciliation to and communion with God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, love, joy and peace. Indeed, the windows of heaven have been opened.’