“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”
One of the ways God ensures that His Word will last forever is through discipling. We see this through the amazing process of being a disciple and making disciples. When we do this, we pass on the Word and his mission while exhibiting love and encouragement to others as we walk with them. Discipling is in our DNA that started at our baptism, which we will have the opportunity to pass on from generation to generation.
Sadly, some of us have never discipled. Some of us have never been in a relationship where we’re discipling one another. Others are content to exercise their faith on Sundays or just by themselves when we were meant to let this DNA flow out of us to another. But as long as God’s Word endures, there will always be a prophet, a Man, or a Woman of God who will come alongside others to tell what it means to follow God, follow Jesus, to hear His Word, and to respond. As it was in the Old Testament, there will be people who will be like Elijah and Elisha.
Elijah and Elisha
For those who have read the story of the two great prophets–Elijah and Elisha–their example might seem larger than life. Amidst the opposition and the unbelief of the people around them, they were still able to show that God is powerful and what He says is true. Elijah and Elisha’s example can sometimes seem unattainable for some people because they’re so close to God, and the rest of us can’t be like them. This is why many dismiss and hide from their calling.
We must not forget that despite their “greatness” Elijah and Elisha are human. We have seen Elijah’s human side in the Old Testament—wanting to escape, tired, and angry. But what we have seen in His life is that God is faithful. He will always raise up a prophet to carry out His powerful words.
In the midst of the fiery trials that come with being the Man of God, God instructs Elijah to anoint and mentor another to carry on His work after Elijah is gone. The Word of God is important and will endure even when the people of God ignore it. There will always be a prophet, a Man of God. Because the mission of guiding God’s people to believe, confess, and live will always be vital to the world.
As seen in 1 Kings 19 and 2 Kings 2, Elijah and Elisha’s friendship provides us a good example of discipling. In Elisha, we see a willing person who wants to follow a mentor’s example. In verse 2, the younger prophet says, But Elisha replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!”
On the other hand, Elijah asked Elisha what he could do for him before he’s taken away to which Elisha expressed his desire to have a double share of his spirit along with being his successor (verse 9). We saw how Elisha followed Elijah, and how the younger prophet picked up the cloak of his predecessor (verse 13). It was said that the same spirit rests upon Elisha and he was able to do twice as much miracles as Elijah.
Picking up the cloak
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” –John 14:12
The call or the mission to make disciples in The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) was given to individual followers of Jesus—not to the Church as a unit. It is a common misconception that those who are called to disciple are those who have committed their lives to ministry—pastors, church workers, and other ministers. However, we must realize that we are all called to disciple. In other translations of the Great Commission, the word “disciple” is not a noun but a verb. We must all participate in this act as followers of Jesus who are part of His Body, the Church.
We are called to follow Jesus as we go. We’re called to neighbor and we’re called to disciple. We must live and become a disciple.
What is our role? The Church was established to equip, prepare, send, encourage, and support Jesus followers who disciple. This is the Church’s role. To prepare you, to send you, to hear your stories as you disciple and neighbor.
Why would the Word of God endure forever? Because the mission of guiding God’s people to believe, confess, and live will always be vital to the world. It will always be relevant and life-giving. The Gospel is more than us waiting to go to heaven. Rather, it is participation in the greatest mission in the world. Our mission is boiled down to a few words: Connect people to life in Jesus.
Let’s apply Elijah and Elisha’s story to our own lives:
Whose cloak are you picking up?
Who has helped you follow Jesus?
And in turn, who will you place your cloak on?
Who has shown a great example to you and is now inviting you to do the same so you can witness the goodness of God in friendship?