When I make valuable purchases with my credit card, I have to provide a signature to verify my identity. The original signature on the back of the card is compared to the signature on the receipt as an added security measure. It is interesting that most stores do not bother with this validation on purchases under $50, but for major expenses, security measures are put into practice.
When it comes to verifying the identity of the Son of God in the first century, God provided His “signature” centuries earlier on the back of the prophet Elijah.
In 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2, we see the biblical account of the prophet Elijah. Elijah’s ministry included:
- A time of isolation in the wilderness that preceded the start of his ministry (1 Kings 17:1-7)
- The miraculous multiplication of food (1 Kings 17:8-16)
- Physical healing, featuring a resurrection from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24)
- Public chastening of false religious leaders (1 Kings 18:17-40)
- “Insider knowledge” about the weather (1 Kings 17:1, 18:1, 41-46)
- An ascension into heaven (2 Kings 2:11)
Does any of that sound familiar? It should. Much of this is echoed in the ministry of Jesus Christ:
- Jesus spent time in the wilderness before beginning His public ministry (Mark 1:12-13)
- Jesus multiplied food on a couple of occasions feeding thousands (Mark 6:30-44)
- Jesus performed many miracles, including raising a few from the dead (John 11:1-44)
- Jesus often was challenged by the misguided religious leaders of His day and publicly corrected their misunderstandings (John 8:31-59)
- Jesus commanded the wind and the waves (Mark 4:35-41)
- After His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:8-11)
I really believe that a lot of what God was doing through Elijah was providing His signature verification so that centuries later, when Messiah Jesus Christ came offering His incredibly valuable Life, the Jews (and ultimately all people on the earth) would know that Jesus was indeed the promised Christ.
On our trip to Israel, we visited a monastery that rests atop Mount Carmel where Elijah triumphed over the prophets of Baal. While we were there, I found myself remembering all that God had done through Elijah, and how He had done so much through the pattern of Elijah’s life to point His people to Jesus Christ.
If you have not done so recently, scan through Elijah’s life and see the verification of the signature of God shine through.