“Please, let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” – 2 Kings 2:9
Elijah is going to be taken up to the LORD. There will be chariots of fire and a mighty whirlwind. It will be an impressive thing. But before Elijah goes, he asks his pupil Elisha if there is anything Elisha wants. Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit so that he would be up for the tasks set in front of him. Elijah says that if Elisha sees him taken up, he’ll get it. And then Elijah is taken up, and indeed, Elisha goes on to become a mighty prophet.
However, as wondrous as this story is, Christ Jesus our Lord far surpasses it. Yes, Jesus’ disciples would see Him ascend, and yes, 10 days later at Pentecost they would have the Holy Spirit poured upon them. But what Jesus does goes beyond just that. Those disciples would preach, and they would administer the Sacraments – baptizing and giving out Christ’s Body and Blood in the Supper. And whenever they did so, the Holy Spirit would be given, creating faith and sanctifying people.
And this has happened, on and on, over and over, even unto today. Whenever we hear Christ’s Word, whenever we receive His Supper, His Spirit is poured upon us, strengthening us and preparing us for the tasks which God lays out before us. Week in and week out, in sermon and Supper, the Spirit of God given to us, a double portion. And we don’t even have to trek beyond the Jordan and witness a once-in-the-bible event to get it; we simply are gathered to the place where the Spirit gathers us. This is the great love of Jesus for us.