20 Elisha died, and they buried him. Bands of the Moabites invaded the land in the spring of the next year. 21 As a man was being buried [on an open bier], such a band was seen coming; and the man was cast into Elisha’s grave. And when the man being brought down touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. – 2 Kings 13:20-21 AMP
Today’s passage speaks volumes about the prophet Elisha. He received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit as he watched his teacher and mentor ride in a chariot of fire to heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11-12). He performed many miracles on God’s behalf to call the nation of Israel back to God. He made an axe head float on the Jordan River (2 Kings 6), returned a dead child to life (2 Kings 4), and even instructed a Syrian official how to be healed from the dreaded disease or leprosy (2 Kings 5). But nothing he did in life can compare to what his bones did in death.
Imagine yourself in the midst of today’s passage as a pall bearer. You are carrying the body of a friend to the grave on what amounts to a burial stretcher. As you and others carrying the body of your friend are walking along, you see a gang of Moabite raiders coming to pillage, steal, and possibly even burn the leftovers of anything in their path. In haste, you cut the graveside part of the funeral service short, take the body of your friend, and throw it into the closest tomb you can find.
It just so happens that the tomb you threw your friend into was Elisha’s. Elisha had been dead long enough for his body to decay quite a bit. If I had to guess, he had probably been dead at least through a long and hot summer followed by a mild autumn and winter. I say that because if Elisha had died in the late fall or winter months, the decaying process would have been slowed and more than his bones would have remained. But the Bible specifically says that they threw the body on Elisha’s bones.
So after you throw your friend into Elisha’s tomb, something amazing happens. Your friend gets up and walks out, all wrapped up in his burial linens. What do you do? Do you run from your friend, scared out of your wits, or do you help your friend get out of his garb, get his clothes, and give him a weapon to help fight the bandits? Your decision here is not really that important, but what is important is that you recognize that there was a miracle in the bones.
You may be wondering what the bones of Elisha have to do with anything in our faith today. Elisha’s bones don’t help us live a life becoming a true Christian. We don’t have them at home sitting around so we can show them off to friends as an archaeological find. And we sure don’t have them in a box at church so we can take them out and rub them on sick people.
But think about it like this a minute. If Elisha’s bones can restore the dead to life, how much more effective can we all be alive in our witness? I know none of us out there are close to Elisha’s equal. If we were, you would be reading about it all over the internet. Can you imagine the headlines? Passenger Liner Hits Iceberg – Prophet on Board Saves the Day. Suicide Bomb attempt in Jerusalem Foiled by Bald Buy in Long Robe. Regional Drought Averted after Prophet Prays for Rain. The list could go on and on.
But let’s not think globally. Your bones are the foundation for the makeup of your body. Your flesh, muscles, and organs are wrapped in and around this complex structure, and when they all work together, you can do just about anything. You can walk, talk, run, jump, scream, see, feel, and hear. You can think, reason, and make decisions. And when you choose to make a relationship with Jesus part of your life, those bones inside suddenly have new life in them.
I remember when I was first saved I thought I was just like Peter and could walk on water. I had an extra spring in my step and twinkle in my eye. But it didn’t last. For years my life went up and down like a roller coaster. I experienced the highs of others actually wanting me to pray with them and the lows of nearly losing my family because of hidden sin. And every time I felt like I was going to fall completely off the face of the earth and lose everything, I found out that God had a miracle in my bones.
But it didn’t come easy. You see, I have found out through too many trials that a relationship with God is not like a light switch: you cannot turn it on when you need it and expect instant results. A relationship with God is more like planting a garden or tending a crop. You have to water, tend, and nurture it in order for it to produce fruit. You have to spend time in the Word. You have to seek God’s will for your life. And you have to pray. I’m not saying that miraculous things don’t happen in the lives of Christians every day; I’m simply saying that we have to be wise with the resources God has given us to draw closer to Him. Without seeking Him, He has to break through things like pride and greed. And I can tell you from personal experience that I would rather have had that heart felt relationship with Him than have had those things literally wear me away for years before I finally understood.
If you really think about it, there’s been a miracle in the bones of every Christian since Jesus shed his blood for us on the cross. How phenomenal is it that we’re going to heaven? That is a miracle by itself. But it doesn’t have to end there. We can touch the lives of others every day and save them from death just like Elisha’s bones saved the dead man. I hope I’m that effective now as well as when He calls me home. The only difference is that I truly believe that I will not be leaving my bones behind: I’m going to see Him via the Rapture. Come on Lord, show me a miracle in these bones today!