Online Bible Commentary
Giving it Our Best
Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. 9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him." 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted. (NKJV)
The time is spring, 57 A.D. The Apostle Paul is on his third missionary journey. He has just spent the winter in Corinth, Greece and then traveled north overland to spend Passover with the church in Philippi, Macedonia.
After Passover, Paul and Luke sailed eastward to Troas, Asia. There they stayed a week so that they could meet with the church “on the first day of the week” (v. 7a), “the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10). “The disciples came together to break bread”, to take the Lord’s Supper, before Paul would “depart the next day” (v. 7b).
Paul preached to the disciples a lengthy sermon, continuing “until midnight” (v. 7c). Torches, or oil lamps, were used to light the “upper room” in the home where they met (v. 8).
During Paul’s sermon a “young man” named Eutychus fell fast asleep and fell from his seat in a window sill on the third floor (v. 9a). When the men reached him they lifted him up only to discover his lifeless body (v. 9b).
About that time Paul reached Eutychus, “fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him” (v. 10). The Lord had used Paul to bring the young man back from death. The men were in distress and Paul assured them that Eutychus was now alive.
Paul then returned back to the upper room where he and the disciples took communion and had something to eat (v. 11a). It is not clear if they ate the elaborate love feast of the early church, since Paul had just written to the church in Corinth condemning abuses of that custom when enjoined with the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20-22).
After eating, Paul and the disciples spent another six hours, until sunrise, in conversation (v. 11b). It seems that the disciples wanted to spend as much time with Paul as possible, not knowing when, or if, they would have another opportunity to do so.
Paul then departed, perhaps for a few hours sleep before he would leave the city later that day (v. 11c). After that the disciples brought Eutychus in the room and were greatly “comforted” that he was alive (v. 12).
Eutychus had a close call. His life was saved only by the grace of God. Perhaps the fact that he was involved in the Lord’s work contributed to the mercy afforded him by the Lord. After all, He had endured a sermon of some twelve hours or longer.
The Lord honors our efforts, even if the body is sometimes unwilling. The Lord honors us when we give it our best, even though we may fall a little short.