See Mark 9:2-9, 2 Kings 2:1-12 & 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not proclaim ourselves. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness;” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Is it possible to do the wrong thing and have it turn out right? Yes, yes it is. Now, don’t go taking this as permission to do wrong things, much less encouragement to stick with wrong actions, misguided ideas, or dangerous directions. It’s far better to do what right. And by doing right, you are for more likely to end up in the right, best place.
That being said, let’s look at Bible readings where someone goes a little wrong. In the OT lesson, Elisha keeps ignoring the directions of his mentor Elijah. “Stay behind,” Elijah says, “The Lord bids me to go further, but you don’t have to.”
Elisha wasn’t having anything to do with that. So despite the fact that Elijah was his teacher and model and like a father to him, Elisha did just the opposite of what Elijah had directed. And he didn’t just do this once. He repeated his disobedience. In my family, if I had repeatedly done this to my father, . . . well, I hate to think of his reaction. Elijah seems to just accept these acts. He is indeed patient.
How does Elijah’s disobedience bring about good? Well, that’s obvious: By pressing on past all barriers, Elisha is part of a miracle. He sees that Elijah does not die but is taken to heaven bodily. Moreover, Elisha is given a double dose of Elijah’s spirit. As we know, he goes on living out Elijah’s ministries and being part of numerous miracles.
I think this reading tells us to press on past barriers, to be bld. We don’t k now, after all, where the great victories and rewards ahead may lie.
Peter gets it all wrong on the Mount of Transfiguration too. When he sees Moses and Elijah and Jesus together, instead of seeking to learn from them, he rushes around talking about building huts for them to stay in. It’s not enough for him It’s not enough in his mind to deeply experience that miraculous moment, he feels the need to make further arrangements. His focus is in the wrong place.
But just as God wasn’t done with Elisha at Bethany, God isn’t leaving Peter on the Mount to languish. There is more to come. The text from Corinthians reminds us that there are many ways for us to go wrong, and, eventually, all of us do. The gods of this world try to blind us at every turn, but they do not have the last word. We may be cast into darkness, and afraid, but Jesus is the light of the world and our light, and with Him there is no darkness.
The story of Elisha tells us to strive on. The story of Peter tells us not to focus on anything but the spirit of what is; the presence of God right in front of us. So while we strive, we must keep in mind that there is only one light, only one source of right. Even as we push on, believing in going further, we must not lose sight of God’s presence and how our spirit connects with God’s Spirit.
As we walk this road, we’ll get off on false starts. We’ll be hardheaded. We’ll go wrong. But today we’ve seen that we have a God who brings miracles and entire religions out of wrong choices and bad moves. With our God, we can go wrong, and He will turn it right, . . . and He will turn US right. Amen.