The Gospel in Elisha’s Miracles (2 Kings 2-5)

2 Kings 2:19-22


19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” 20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” 22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.


2 Kings 4:38-41


38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it. 41 He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.


2 Kings 5:13-15


13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.


            The truths we see in the Old Testament point to Jesus and to the gospel of our Lord. Today, I see this in the stories of the miracles performed by Elisha. The above accounts are three of those that caught my attention. In this section of Scripture, we see Elisha make clean foul water simply by tossing some salt into the stream. We also see Elisha make clean a poisonous stew simply by tossing in some flour. Finally, in chapter 5, we see Naaman the Syrian cleansed of leprosy simply by washing in the dirty waters of the Jordan River.


            How do these point us toward the gospel of Jesus? In the minds of men for thousands of years, the understanding of how to be made right with God (or with the deity the persons attempted to worship) has always been to do good works, to perform religious rituals, to find secret and sacred knowledge in order to elevate one’s self to a higher level. But the gospel is different. The message of the Bible is that the impossible is done by God, not by us. We cannot earn our salvation. We cannot do good works and get to heaven. No, God awakens our hearts, we put our faith in Jesus, and God saves us by his grace.


            To many, this concept of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone is too easy, too simple, too impossible. It is like, well, like cleaning up a dirty stream with a bowl of salt, purifying a poisonous stew with a pinch of flour, or curing a wasting disease with a bath in a dirty river.


            The Gospel is amazing. The gospel is impossible. The gospel makes no sense to anybody other than those who have trusted in Jesus. Praise God for this wonderful, simple, impossible gospel.