“So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.” (2 Kings 13:20-21)
Let’s be honest for a minute. The Bible has some strange stories in it. I’m not talking about just the miraculous nature of many of the stories but rather the seeming randomness of some of them.
This story from 2 Kings 13 is both miraculous and really random. It’s only two verses long and recounts how a dead man was thrown into the grave of a deceased prophet and then came back to life. That’s it. We don’t know his name, his family, what he did after that, or how people responded to his resurrection. We only know he was dead and then he wasn’t. You could read it in 10-seconds and move on, but I suggest that you push pause.
There is a reason why it is there. Like all of the Old Testament, this revival story is pointing to something else–Someone else. And it’s speaking one profound truth.
Who you are buried with matters.
Before we get to that, let’s talk about who Elisha was for a moment. Elisha was the Prophet of God to the Nation of Israel after Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire. In other words, he was the mouthpiece of God. He was the one set apart to bring forth the word of God to the people. He was not the Messiah (the Word made flesh), but he was the flesh-and-blood anointed of God who spoke His word.
Now, this nameless man doesn’t regain life because of who he is or anything he does. He is resurrected because of who he ends up being buried with. He is carelessly buried with the anointed one. His union with Elisha’s death results in his own resurrection. He didn’t ask to be buried with him. He made no decision to be buried with him. He exercised no free-will. He was simply thrown into Elisha’s grave. Tossed into Elisha’s death. And it’s the same for you and me.
Who we are buried with matters. But there is no need to go out and find a dead prophet so you can join him six feet under.
If you are baptized, you are already buried with someone. And not just a prophet who speaks the word of God. You are buried with the very Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). You are buried with Jesus. You are united to His life, death, and resurrection. And because this is true, you will also be resurrected. Baptism is a life-giving, death-defying, act of God for His creation—dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).
But don’t just take my word for it, read Paul’s language in Romans 6:3-5.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Do you see it? Who you are buried with matters.
It doesn’t matter who you are.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
It doesn’t matter when you were born.
It doesn’t matter where you came from.
It doesn’t matter what your name is.
The man in our story is nameless for a reason. The only name that matters is the name of the One you are buried with. The name you are baptized into: “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Baptized child of God—you will never be buried alone. You have “been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). Therefore, “your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Your resurrection is as certain as the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.
Daniel is the Director of Christ Hold Fast, an author, church and conference speaker and co-host of the podcasts 40 Minutes in the Old Testament and 30 Minutes in the New Testament. He has served as a church planter, pastor and worship leader and currently lives in Bentonville Arkansas with his wife Jessica and daughter Anna.