A few years ago a cable TV host used this tag line for his show - “the no spin zone”, and that is actually a great description of the Bible. A perfect example of this is in our reading for today, the story of Eutychus, in Acts chapter 20. Paul stopped in Troas on his way to Jerusalem. He was facing increased opposition and threats against his life, and knowing that he took every opportunity to teach, train, encourage and challenge people. The last day he was in Troas we read, “Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.” Acts 20:7-12 (NIV)
To me, including this story in the Bible reinforces the Bible’s credibility. Eutychus sat in a window opening to get fresh air while he listened to Paul speak, and with it being so late, he was tired and fell asleep. (Don’t be too hard on him, some of us have a hard time staying awake for a worship service that’s just an hour!) Luke, the author of Acts, was a doctor and he could tell the young man was dead. Miraculously, God restored Eutychus to life. Amazing! But including this story in the Bible was risky. Some might think it’s a made-up story that was designed to wow and impress, but if you think about it, it’s too over the top to be made-up. I can imagine an editor or spin doctor suggesting to Luke that it would be best to leave this story out, so skeptics won’t be put off by it. But that is exactly what gives it credibility! It isn’t necessary for the overall narrative, and yet here it is. Simple, specific in details, and not overdone. This was included because not only is it true, but it reminds us that in the normal course of our daily life, God is aware of what’s going on with us and He is active. He cares about the big and grand things, and the small and mundane things… even down to an accidental nap!
Oh, and there is one more lesson from this story, don’t go to sleep in an open window.