Elisha and the Shunammite’s Son ( Part 1
Character in a time of Crisis ( Month 2 – Day 2)
The life of Elisha was full of the miracles and the supernatural power of God. We have already seen the first two. God gave water in the desert to provide for an army, (2 Ki 3) and copious olive oil to provide for a widow and her family (2 Ki 4:1-7). However, in 2 Kings 4: 8-36, we see an even greater miracle, the raising to life of the Shunammite’s son, which I’d like to look at over the next two days as well.
Elisha’s help is more urgently needed once again, but this time, we are not thinking about food or water, but life and death. Here Elisha is confronted with the reality of death in the experience of a family. Death seems so final and is naturally described by Paul as the” last enemy”, but we must remember that this is the enemy that Jesus has defeated once and for all (1 Cor 15:25-26).
There are comparatively few examples of people being raised to life again in the Bible. I could only find ten instances of people bring raised to life. The first is the raising of the widow of Zarephath’s son by Elijah ( 1 Ki 17), the Shunammite’s son. The raising of the man in Elisha’s grave ( 2 Ki 13); the widow of Nain’s son by Jesus ( Luke 7); Jairus’ daughter by Jesus ( Luke 8) Lazarus by Jesus ( John 11). Matthew 27 records that many saints who had fallen asleep were raised to life. Tabitha ( or Dorcas) was raised to life in Acts 9, and Eutychus was raised in Acts 20.
Yet there is not one miracle in this passage but two! Elisha promises that the Shunammite will have a son, and years later raises that son to life. And again miraculous pregnancies feature prominently in the Bible Isaac born to Sarah, Jacob born to Rebekah, Joseph born to Rachel, Samson born to Manoah’s wife, Samuel born to Hannah, John born to Elizabeth, Jesus born to Mary.
This passage here is like much of the Bible, full of the supernatural work and power of God. Yet our world mostly associates the supernatural to evil and the dark side of humanity. The common perception seems to be that spiritual power if such a thing exists, is found eastern religions, mysticism and the occult. Christianity, on the other hand, is seen as being weird and passé at best. Yet the Bible relates many supernatural encounters between a Holy God and humanity. The same God in the person of the Holy Spirit is still working supernaturally in innumerable ways throughout the world.
The greatest resurrection of all was the one I did not mention earlier, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. His death and resurrection are the focal point of Scripture and the most important events in the history of the world. The resurrection of Jesus is different from the Bible’s other resurrections in a very notable way: Jesus’ resurrection is the first “permanent” resurrection; all the other resurrections in the Bible were “temporary” in that those raised to life died again. Living in the power of an endless life ( (Hebrews 7:16)