February 12, 2024
Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-12
Daily Lectionary: Job 8:1-22; John 4:27-45
2 Kings 2:9: When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, ‘Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.’”
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. That’s a strange request. What does Elisha want with those words, “a double portion of your spirit on me”? Notice that little word “on.” Why didn’t Elisha say “a double portion of your spirit in me”?
Scripture does speak of the Holy Spirit being “in” a person. Paul speaks of this gift for the Christian: “Do you not know that … God’s Spirit dwells in you.” (1 Corinthians 3:16) In this way, David, praying for forgiveness, asks God to “take not your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:9,11) Comfort for the Christian: although we live in sinful flesh, yet our faith rejoices that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. It’s God’s promise.
But Elisha prays for the Holy Spirit upon him (not in him). Here Scripture speaks to us not of the life of faith (i.e., “the Holy Spirit” in us), but of an office. To have the Holy Spirit upon a man is for that man to be in the Holy Spirit’s Office, bearing the mantle of proclaiming the Gospel. In this way, Jesus—who certainly has the Holy Spirit in him—speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon him. When the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus, Jesus has now been publicly placed in the office of proclaiming the good news of salvation (Luke 4:18). How could it be any other way? When the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at His Baptism, Jesus is publicly named as God the Son (Luke 3:22). Then the prophet John is able to publicly proclaim him to be the Lamb of God bearing the sin of the world (John 1:29). The Lamb of God bearing the sin of the world—is that not the perfect description of the office Jesus is given to be our Savior?
We now rejoice. Rejoice that all our sin was borne by Jesus as He fulfilled His office of the Lamb of God. And you now rejoice that the Holy Spirit dwells in you, creating in you a clean heart of faith. And rejoice that while every Christian has the Holy Spirit in himself or herself, the Holy Spirit is also upon those who are called to the Office of Holy Ministry, so that these called and ordained men now bear the office to proclaim Christ crucified to you for your salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord Jesus, create in me a clean heart and let not your Holy Spirit be taken from me. In the midst of my sin, give to me, as you gave to David, a repentant heart to rejoice in your grace. Be with my pastor and all pastors, that they may have much joy in proclaiming your Gospel to those for whom you died. Amen.
-Pastor Warren Graff is retired from Grace Lutheran Church, Albuquerque.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.
The Lutheran Reader’s Bible helps you develop a habit of devotion and Bible reading so you can slowly but intentionally understand and grow in God’s Word. Through introductions to the sixty-six books of the Bible, guided reading plans, and more, this Bible builds your confidence to study Scripture on your own.