In Acts, we get a lot of details as we read about the formation of the early church. The person chronicling the events is Luke, a medical doctor by profession and also a member of Paul’s ministry team. Being an eyewitness we learn a lot of details that might otherwise be missed. This week we are reading about the great successes that Paul and his team have had and also the mounting persecution that is only going to get worse.
In Acts 20 Paul teaches throughout the night to the believers in Troas to equip them as much as possible in the short time he had left. Remember, they didn’t have the New Testament yet or Christian bookstores, Amazon or Skype! The people were eager to learn and Paul was devoted to training them.
In verse 9 we read about a young man (probably a pre-teen) named Eutychus, who was there listening to Paul. He was sitting on a windowsill getting fresh air and fell asleep during Paul’s teaching. [This makes me feel a little like Paul because I see people do the same thing at times when I am speaking!]
Eutychus went to sleep, fell three stories and was dead. As a medical doctor, Luke would know. In the midst this tragic accident Paul rushes to the young man's body, “…went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!”
I love that this story is included in the book of Acts. It shows the normalcy of the people that were followers and also God’s love and power in action. Luke may have wondered about leaving this episode in, thinking that some would be skeptical of God’s power to heal like this. The truth is that God can heal and at times does. There are times that He intervenes miraculously and this is one.
I am confident that this story was one that the people of Troas recounted often as their church grew and people accepted Jesus. They also would remember it when they faced trouble and persecution, knowing that the same God would give them courage, strength and hope to face whatever came their way.