They were on their donkeys when Gehazi saw them, hurrying towards him on the road. The woman was out front setting the pace and the prophet followed closely behind. He stopped to catch his breath. When they reached him, he was able to share his bad news. "The child did not awaken, " he panted.
The mother and Elisha continued on towards Shunem without a word. He followed, although he knew where they were heading. He could picture their destination clearly in his mind, having left there a short while ago. It was the woman's home. Atop the home sat a room that she and her husband had made just for the prophet. In the room was a chair and a table and a lamp and a bed. These items were there every visit, welcoming and comfortable. But now there was a sad addition: the woman's son. He had died in her arms that morning. Now his lifeless body lay on the prophet's bed.
He had been sent on ahead. He was given Elisha's staff and told to run. He had been told not to speak to anyone. He had been told, once he reached the house, to lay the staff across the boy's face. Gehazi had done everything he had been instructed. The boy's birth had been a miracle and he was expecting to see another as he placed the staff. But nothing had happened.
When the three arrived at the woman's house, Elijah quickly climbed the stairs to the roof. He strode into the room and closed the door behind him before anyone could follow. He considered the woman's son laid out on his bed. He thought back to the time he had prayed to the Lord that the woman and her husband would be given this child. Now he prayed that their son would be returned to them.
He approached the bed and stretched out on top of the boy, aligning himself with him, eye to eye, mouth to mouth, hand on hand. The boy's body was cool, but as he lay there Elijah could feel hints of warmth returning. He rose and stretched. After pacing the room for a few minutes, he lay down on the boy a second time.
The child sneezed. Then again and again, his head jerking forward slightly each time. Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze. Still Elisha did not move. The boy opened his eyes to find the prophet Elisha's face just a hand's thickness from his own. His eyes crossed as he tried to focus.
Elisha rose now, wiping the moisture from his beard. "Gehazi," he yelled, "call the Shunammite!"
A servant and a staff were insufficient to raise the Shunammite woman's son. Only when the prophet lay himself down could the dead be raised to life.
The Bible says that we are all dead in trespasses and sins. God sent His servant Moses with the Law, but like Gehazi with the staff, that was never the solution. The Law could not bring life. Thankfully, God himself arrived to do what His servant could not. Christ came to give life —His life— to those in need. We've are made alive together with him by being joined together with Him. His life has become ours.