Glimpses of True Humanity: Elisha’s Miracles and Their Fulfillment in Jesus Christ

In the context of 1-2 Kings, the prophet Elisha serves as the Spirit-empowered man of God who walks with God, represents God, and points the way to covenant faithfulness with God through word and deed. Elisha shows Israel who God really is, particularly when compared to the false gods the people are choosing to worship, and who they are meant to be as human beings living with and for God as his people. He particularly does this through his numerous and wide-ranging miracles, which work together to bring life, blessing, and judgment through the Spirit-empowered presence of God.
In a canonical context, however, Elisha not only demonstrates who God is and who he means for his people to be, but his Spirit-empowered miracles also anticipate the Spirit-empowered miracles of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the fulfillment of Elisha’s role, as he ultimately shows us who God is, demonstrates what life with God can and should look like, and makes that life in the Spirit possible for all his followers as he inaugurates the New Covenant. Elisha’s Spirit-empowered miracles therefore offer us eschatological glimpses of true humanity, a preview of the humanity Jesus makes possible, the life God redeems his people in Christ through the Spirit to experience.
This paper will demonstrate this understanding in three ways. First, it will establish the evidence and importance of the Spirit’s role in Elisha’s life and ministry, indicating how Elisha’s miracles were performed in the power of the Spirit. Second, it will establish the purpose of Elisha’s miracles, explaining how they illustrate and offer true humanity, life with God, through the power and presence of God. Finally, this paper will establish how Elisha’s miracles anticipate the miracles of Jesus Christ and the true humanity he offers through the power of the Spirit. Jesus’ Spirit-empowered miracles fulfill Elisha’s miracles, illustrating and facilitating our true humanity, which is eternal life in the Spirit through redemption in Christ.
In this way, this paper will give insight into the purpose of Elisha’s life and ministry not only within 1-2 Kings, but also within the canon as a whole. Elisha’s Spirit-empowered miracles anticipate the coming Messiah in the Old Testament while being fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Jesus, as the Second Elisha, shows us what true humanity is as well as how we can experience it this side of eternity.

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