“They went on ahead and waited for us in Troas. Meanwhile we stayed in Philippi for Passover Week and then set sail. Within five days we were again in Troas and stayed a week.

 We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on, way past midnight. We were meeting in a well-lighted upper room. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third story window. When they picked him up, he was dead.” Acts 20:5-9 (The Message).

This is such a human story! A long-winded preacher and someone falls asleep! Fortunately, not everyone who sleeps in church ends up dead!

Did Paul have a premonition that he was meeting with the church at Troas for the last time? He had so much to share with them that he forgot the time, although the plan was to leave early in the morning. Instead of having an early night, he met with the believers in an upper room, shared the Lord’s Supper with them and poured out the passion of his heart hour after hour.

While most of the congregation stayed awake, there was one who just could not keep his eyes open. Sitting on an upstairs windowsill was a precarious enough perch, but sleeping there was Eutychus’ undoing. One moment he was there and the next he was gone, lying dead on the ground below. Imagine the panic when the crowd tumbled downstairs and someone picked up his lifeless body. What a terrible end to a wonderful day!

“Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard ‘No more crying,’ he said. ‘There’s life in him yet.’ Then Paul got up, and served the Master’s Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left — Paul went one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.” Acts 20:10-12 (The Message).

Did Paul remember the story of Elisha and a widow’s dead son? What he did next was so matter-of-fact that it seems as though, for Paul, it was all in a day’s (or night’s) work. Eutychus dead? No problem. Just lie on him for a few moments and he’ll live, and that’s exactly what happened. Not even an unexpected death in the congregation made him miss a beat.

How is that for a steadfast purpose! Nothing made Paul deviate from his intention to make and build disciples at every opportunity he had, and he would not allow even a tragic accident to distract him from his mission. It almost seems as though he treated the event as an interruption which he had no problem dealing with so that he could get on with his task.

What did it mean to the small group believers at Troas? What would they remember of Paul’s last visit with them? The hours of preaching and teaching that night? Not likely. The miracle of a dead boy raised to life? O yes! What Paul was sharing with them was a vital part of their understanding of the life they had committed themselves to living with the Lord, but the walking miracle among them was a constant reminder that Jesus was alive, real and powerful for them and in them.

Was the devil in this? Most definitely, because he holds the power of death, but he never has the last word. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life and through His victory over death, Eutychus woke up to live out his allotted time. His death turned out to be a visual aid of God’s power among them which they would not easily forget. .

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Luella Campbell

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