on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. and a young man named eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as paul talked still longer. and being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. but paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” and when paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. and they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. [acts 20:7-12]
if you read acts, you will see paul, guided by the Holy Spirit relentlessly traveling from place to place to spread the gospel and encourage believers in the Lord. sometimes, he moves slowly, spending years encouraging his brothers and sisters in Christ, but sometimes he moves quickly–paul comes to troas intending to stay, to encourage and teach for a week, and he has a lot of knowledge to impart, so it results in some very late nights. eutychus isn’t the picture of the lazy parishioner, hands folded over his stomach as he falls asleep at the boring preacher’s message–he is a young man who has likely been very engaged in paul’s teaching for the last week, and is overcome with exhaustion that ultimately leads to his death.
like Jesus, paul doesn’t panic, he has been with peter and the disciples, who were with Jesus in the various raisings of the dead (jairus’ daughter, lazarus, the various saints in jerusalem, tabitha).
and when he had entered, he said to them, “why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” and they laughed at him. but he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. taking her by the hand he said to her, “talitha cumi,” which means, “little girl, i say to you, arise.” and immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. [mark 5:39-42]
while Jesus raised the dead in his own power, which lead to others believing and rejecting him, paul raised in the power of Jesus, leading to his worship. paul could have easily taken the praise and position upon himself, but instead he uses it to direct worship to Jesus, which caused awe, praise, encouragement and comfort to those who witnessed and heard of this event.
there will be a day, beloved, when we who are in Jesus Christ will experience the same–we will die, and our bodies will be buried in the earth, but in the moment our eyes close in death, it will be Jesus who is over us, to take us into his arms, and it will be like paul’s words to the boy–”do not be alarmed, for his life, eternal life is in him!”
he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [revelation 21:4]
behold! I tell you a mystery. we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. for this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“death is swallowed up in victory.”
“o death, where is your victory?
o death, where is your sting?” [i corinthians 15:51-55]