My Thoughts. . .
“And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead” (Acts 20:9).
We don’t know much about Eutychus since inspiration reveals him primarily as a sleepy listener who dies in church. Perhaps where he sat was not a wise choice. Without air conditioning in the first century, a breeze may have lured him into that window “pew” as a comfortable place to listen to Paul. Although Paul was an apostle of Jesus, he admits that when he spoke, it was “in weakness and in fear” and “my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:3). Perhaps Eutychus was a slave who had labored for his master all day long. Fatigue overcame him and sleep was the results? Sometimes even talented preachers have the uncanny ability to put listeners to sleep. I have been successful in having that talent multiple times in my sixty-two years of preaching!
When Eutychus fell from his third story pew, death was the results. Was Paul winding up his sermon when that incident took place? No. After restoring life to the young man Paul returned to where he had stopped and “talked a long while, even till break of day” (v. 11).
Have you ever been in a group and had an accident? Sometimes the results produces laughter from the group. If the accident is worse than expected, the laughter digresses to concern. Did Eutychus’ sudden departure produce a short burst of laughter as the assembly’s attention was diverted from Paul to Eutychus disappearing? Was surprise written on Paul’s face as he saw that young man disappear out that window followed by a short burst of screaming, then a noticeable “thud”? When the congregation arrived that evening to break bread and saw Paul and his traveling group, did they know his sermon was going to last hours rather than thirty to forty-five minutes? If some members were slaves who had slipped out of their master’s house to attend, were they concerned when light began to recapture the sky?
Was it because of persecution that the church began its meeting after dark (v. 8)? Paul’s entourage had arrived seven days earlier (v. 6). Luke reveals no other assembly than this night time one. If this Sunday evening assembly was not the results of persecution, then why were they not engaged in a mid-week meeting as well as a Sunday morning period for Bible classes and worship? Would such an example be used as a pattern for twenty-first century congregations? Was Paul’s instruction so long because he was exhorting them to be faithful?
When Eutychus disappeared out that window, the assembly was not dismissed. Luke records no dismissal prayer. They went where the young man had fallen. Imagine that crowd attempting to descend those narrow stairs to arrive at ground level. Was Paul first or last to arrive? There are no details from Luke. Paul did restore Eutychus’ life. This happened around midnight (v. 7). Did the assembly evaporate? No, Paul was not finished so the church went back to the third floor and Paul continued his talk. What about Eutychus? Did he return upstairs with them? Did he decide to sit in that window again, or did he choose a safer seat? Did he later tell his friends what happened to him and how he was raised from the dead? If so, did they believe him or think he was enhancing what had actually happened? Did he later tell his grandchildren about his death and resurrection? When he passed away did family, friends, and neighbors refer to him as the individual who was raised from death by the apostle Paul?
Who was Eutychus? Inspiration momentarily puts its spotlight on him as a sleepy listener who fell out the window to his death. Paul’s presence and preaching were enhanced by miraculously restoring life to the window seater. Inspiration does not give us the rest of his history. When heaven is a reality for the believer, perhaps we will have the privilege of hearing the rest of the story from Eutychus himself?