Imagine a crowded third-floor room late at night. Lamplight dances on the walls. The air presses warm and thick, and someone opens the windows wide to let in the cool night air. How refreshing! A young man perches on the deep windowsill, eager to hear Paul’s final words before he and his entourage ship out of Troas in the morning. But, it’s late, and Eutychus is tired. He blinks a few times, gets comfy on that ledge, and falls, not only asleep but right out the window. Imagine the panic. Imagine the stampede down the staircase to the courtyard. Imagine the hush as those gathering around Eutychus realize he’s dead. And then the wailing begins.
Imagine Paul pushing through the hubbub and embracing the dead man. “Don’t be alarmed,” he says. “He’s alive!” Then Paul returns upstairs, breaks bread with the believers, and resumes teaching until daylight.
The drama is over. Done.
But was it? Really?
Not for Eutychus. Not for the church in Troas. Because, where there had been a tragic death there was now a vibrant life. You don’t forget a miracle like that overnight. You don’t take life for granted when it has slipped away and been restored. While not many people in history have fully died and returned to life (the Bible lists only ten instances, including Jesus and Eutychus), many more have had a close call and lived to tell the tale.
I’ve been there, with a near-fatal heart attack about eighteen months ago. I can attest that a person looks at everything differently when given the opportunity to live again. I can empathize with Eutychus. My family and friends can empathize with those around him who were greatly comforted by his resurrection.
They watched Eutychus, I’m sure, over the following months and years as they pondered Paul’s teachings about Jesus. Did they consider Eutychus’ experience in the light of the great hope Jesus offers?
We were dead in sin, but Jesus’ death and resurrection offer us new life, a life everlasting. He’s alive! And we are greatly comforted.