2 Kings 2:11
Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
We have been to Bethel, where God first appeared to us, working in our lives when we had not thought He would. We were called away from that place, that “house of God,” and we found that God loved us so much He has saved us from destruction at Jericho, where His mercy and power were so evident. By the banks of the Jordan, He cleared the way for us to do His will, bringing us that much closer to Him and His promises. Beyond the Jordan, we sought His Spirit to come and empower us to do His work, to participate in the glory of His kingdom, and a double portion was given to us through faith.
Is faith enough? The author of Hebrews tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) You and I have not seen Christ nor His resurrection, and yet we believe. He read the witness of others like Paul and Matthew and John, and we hold it up before our hearts as evidence enough that our faith is well-placed. The resurrection of our Lord and His promises to His disciples are enough for us. We stand in faith believing that we shall someday be raised whole to stand before the King of kings, that we shall not be cast into eternal darkness but embraced by eternal light. That is our faith, that is the hope which has substance and form, that is the thing we do not see with our eyes but see with our hearts.
Elisha knew that his master Elijah was about to be taken away, and he knew the great faith that Elijah had. Elisha knew of the faith that had called down fire upon the waterlogged offerings when Elijah disputed with the priests of Baal. (1 Kings 18:30-40) Elisha knew how Elijah had stood up against Ahab and Jezebel, and how Elijah had performed other miracles and spoken prophecies, how he had even caused a drought through his prayer – and ended it through the Lord’s will. This was the spirit of which Elisha wanted a double portion, a faith that could even raise a widow’s child from the dead. Can we have such faith? Can we have this gift of eternal life that Elijah receives?
Yes, we can. We all know that great promise in the Gospel of John:
16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
That is the hope, the promise, the faith in which we stand. We CAN be taken up like Elijah. Perhaps we will not go up with such fanfare – with a chariot and horses of fire, with a whirlwind – and yet Jesus has promised that if we believe in Him, we shall have “everlasting life.” We know the way, because Jesus showed us the way.
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
“You know the way,” Jesus was saying. “I am the way.” Faith in Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, that is the way. It is not through vain works but through humble faith. It is not through esoteric mysteries but through simple faith. It is not through the mediation of priests and prophets but through personal faith.
On our journey of faith, we need to keep this goal in sight, this hope that has such substance, this evidence that stands for our faith. The promise for each of us is spoken by our Savior: “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28) On this journey, with its many trials and pitfalls, we must keep “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), so that we can remain strong. What runner when she is competing does not keep the finish line before her? What general when he sets the battle does not keep the objective before him? What traveler on a lonesome road does not fill the time with visions of where he or she is going? We know the way: faith in Christ. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. And we know we can come to the Father through Him.
Almighty Father and Lord, we hold fast to the promise of eternal life in Your Son. In Christ, we find Your salvation and mercy. In Christ, we see Your glory and become Your sons and daughters. In Christ, we see Your love. As we travel on, Lord God, let us never lose sight of Your precious Son, in whom the hopes of all men should rest. Bring us home, Father. Bring us home. Amen.