It was a Sunday evening and the church in Troas were gathered together in an upper room to break bread, celebrating the ordinance of the Lord’s supper. It was the last of the seven days that Paul stayed with them, and he gave them a long farewell sermon, pouring his heart to them.
The meeting started at about 5:30pm. After the usual formalities, Paul was called on to speak. He started speaking at 6pm and continued till midnight. There were candles set up, many of them to light the place, that the hearers may turn to the Scriptures Paul quoted, to see whether the things he told them were so.
The people were very eager to hear. Here was the great apostle that brought forth and taught the gospel of Christ with power. They had been listening to him for the past six days but it seemed like they had not had enough. They wanted to get as much as they could, seeing he was leaving them the next day. So, they denied themselves the pleasure of sleep, if it be but for this moment. In doing this, some stood up and paced about for a while, and sat down. Some maintained the standing position. Others that felt standing would be a distraction, pinched themselves with their finger nails or with a pointed objects, all in a bid to stay awake.
A young man named Eutychus (whose name signified one that had good fortune) was found in this struggle against sleep. It would be a great loss for him to give into the claws of sleep and miss out on the weighty teachings spewed out by the apostle himself. After pacing awhile, and standing awhile, he sat in the window which was unglazed, and leaned against its post. As the cool breeze from outside caressed his skin, he lapsed into the oblivion of sleep.
Eutychus being fast asleep now, lost all his reflexes, and his body went limp, falling backward from the window of the third story and down to ground below, smashing his head on hard concrete. The impact of the fall was so great that the brain matter within his skull was yanked off from its inner surface, resulting in a massive intracranial bleed. With blood oozing from his nostrils, ears and eyes, he died instantly.
There was a great uproar in the meeting room upstairs when everyone discovered that Eutychus had fallen down. Paul had to immediately stop his teaching and dash down. As he alighted the stairs, he prayed with his spirit, speaking in other tongues. It was obvious this was the devil’s ploy to disturb this assembly and reproach him. He was going to fix his heart on God, and God was going to get all the glory.
When Paul got to Eutychus, he was laying dead on the floor, surrounded by some people who had gotten there before him. They were already making pitiful remarks and sobbing. He shoved them aside and got to the dead man on the floor. He fell on the dead man and embraced him, signifying what great compassion he had for him, and the descent of that divine power of God to raise the dead back to life again. As his body rested on this dead body, he inwardly, earnestly and in faith, prayed for him.
After a while, Paul stood up in full assurance that God had healed the young man, bringing him back to life. He looked from the body still laying dead before him and turned to the people saying, “Trouble not yourselves, and be not in any disorder about this; for his life is in him and he is not dead but he sleeps. Lay him a while upon a bed and he will come to himself.”
The people were puzzled at Paul’s statement. Some remained standing with the dead body, while others followed Paul as he went back upstairs. Paul had spoken, and he was sure a servant of God. So they did as he had said, and laid him on a bed.
Paul got up to the meeting venue and summoned everyone, continuing the meeting like nothing tragic had happened. They continued by breaking bread and eating together in a love-feast, after which Paul continued teaching and interacting with the people till daybreak.
Before they parted in the morning, they brought the young man Eutychus alive into the congregation. Everyone started rejoicing and congratulating him on his return to life. The people left this vigil greatly comforted, with all readiness to propagate the gospel.
Food for thought: (1) Let us watch and pray that we enter not into the temptation of falling asleep while reading or hearing God’s word. (2) Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves (as believers) together, for therein, we are edified. (3) God is able to show miraculous mercy, even the raising of the dead.
Scriptural reference (s): Acts 20:7-12; 17:11; Matthew 26:40-41; Hebrews 10:25;