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Church Interrupted

by Tim O'Hearn

Paul and I were in Troas with some friends. Most of them had gone ahead, but Paul and I stayed in Philippi until after Passover. It took us five days to get to Troas. The winds were contrary, not like the time we had traveled the other way in just a day or two. We werenít going to stay here long, but we did wait about a week.

It was still the first of the weeks leading up to Pentecost, and on the evening after the Sabbath we met with the disciples in the upper room of a house. Let me be a little clearer. This was the uppermost room of the house. This was not the guest room, like the crowded one when the Teacher was born or the place he took his last supper before he was executed. This was an even higher room, like the one where he met the apostles after his resurrection. We were on the third level of the house.

The nine of us in our party greatly expanded the congregation. There was little space left in the room. Some people were even sitting in the open windows.

Because of the added people, they had also added more oil lamps. More flames, more heat. Most people didnít mind. It was early spring, and the evenings were cool.

Paul knew he was leaving on Sunday. To his Jewish mind, this was already Sunday for it had started at sundown. He had a lot to say to the local congregation. He had started speaking soon after everyone had gathered together. He was still preaching as midnight approached.

Suddenly, there was a commotion over by one of the windows. It is not unusual for people to fall asleep during the preaching. Even Paul could not keep everyone awake. He was actually not the most eloquent of speakers, so he was used to sleepers. In this case, a young man had fallen asleep early in his speech. Now as midnight approached he was no longer just nodding. He was deep in sleep; so deep, in fact, that he had fallen the two and a half stories to the ground.

By the time we got down to where he lay, someone had identified him as Eutychus. They were taking him up to prepare him for burial when Paul came down. Paul had them put the lad back down on the ground. He laid down on top of him. As a rabbi, he was familiar with this method of reviving people. Elisha had used this method to bring the son of the woman of Shunem back to life. If it was good for Elisha, Paul must have figured it would be good for him. It is not a cure I would try, but I probably would have just declared him dead.

The young man stood up. I examined him. He had no broken bones, no bleeding. He appeared to be in perfect health, although still a little sleepy. Eutychus translates as fortunate, and he certainly was fortunate.

We went back up to where we had been meeting. Some preachers might have taken that as a sign that they were speaking too long. Not Paul. He continued preaching until dawn, another six hours. I say preaching, but it was more of a discussion over food. During that time we also participated in the memorial that the Teacher had instituted at his last supper.

Most of us then boarded a ship. Paul chose to walk the ten hours by foot to Assos, where we took him onboard. Perhaps he wanted some quiet prayer time after bringing the boy back to life.

(Taken from Acts 20:6-13)