Sunday, June 26, 2016
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14 Galatians 5:1, 13-25 Luke 9:51-62
Elijah and Jesus are both “to be taken up to heaven.” Their stories are deeply connected.
Elijah has been a mighty prophet. His job is done, now he begins the last journey. It is a thirty mile trek, and he is followed all the way by the tenacious Elisha. "I will not leave you!" Elisha repeats to Elijah at each stage of the journey. Tenacious. He has a desire: "Grant me a double share of your spirit." A double share is the first born son's share. He wants to be made the heir.
They go to the land where Moses died. Another Exodus reference is the parting of the waters. The mantle is a symbol of Moses' staff. Suddenly, Elijah, “the prophet like Moses” is gone with swirling wind and chariots of fire. Elisha, like Joshua, replaces the master. His tenacity pays off. Elisha takes up the mantle of Elijah.
We are all tenaciously seeking something. If your deepest desire is the Holy Spirit then the fruits identified in Galatians will be manifest. What are the fruits in your life?
Jesus is also tenacious. His face is set firmly to go to Jerusalem. It takes courage to face death, even more courage to face death by torture. Jesus is tenacious in love and faithfulness.
Luke 9: 51-62 is full of allusions to Elijah and Elisha. Elijah called down fire on the prophets of Baal. Elisha left his plow when Elijah called him. The work of a disciple is prophet work. It is more important than family responsibilities. Family, for Jesus, is based on faith, not biology. The ancient Christians were vilified for that scandalous idea. They were considered impious because they chose loyalty to Jesus over family or Emperor. One must be tenacious to follow Jesus. One must be tenacious to make His church the true family.
"Come follow Me!" demands a tenacious response of faith and love.
But remember God is the Holy Tenacious One. We were created in love and for love, but we rejected love. We are tenacious in sin. We reject God. We walked away and chose death.
God is tenacious. Though we wander far from Him, He seeks us like a shepherd He hunts lost sheep. He offers us life....
Jesus is tenacious because the Father is tenacious. The Holy Spirit is tenacious because the Father is tenacious. Tenacious in saving love, tenacious in redeeming faithfulness. Tenacious and committed whatever the cost. Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem because the Father had set His face toward us.
Tenacious Love and mercy.
Never forget who seeks whom. It is God who seeks us. And if it seems that your response is demanding great tenacity, remember. He is the Tenacious One and we are made in His image.