Acts 20:1-16 (web)
3rd Missionary Journey
Paul's Ministering Disciples
took leave of them, and departed to go into Macedonia.
20:2 When he had gone through those parts,
and had encouraged them with many words, he came into Greece.
20:3 When he had spent three months there,
and a plot was made against him by Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria,
he determined to return through Macedonia.
20:4 These accompanied him as far as Asia: Sopater of Beroea;
Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe;
Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.
20:5 But these had gone ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas.
20:6 We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread,
and came to them at Troas in five days, where we stayed seven days.
when the disciples were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them,
intending to depart on the next day, and continued his speech until midnight.
20:8 There were many lights in the upper chamber where we were gathered together.
20:9 A certain young man named Eutychus sat in the window,
weighed down with deep sleep. As Paul spoke still longer,
being weighed down by his sleep,
he fell down from the third story, and was taken up dead.
20:10 Paul went down, and fell upon him, and embracing him said,
"Don't be troubled, for his life is in him."
20:11 When he had gone up, and had broken bread, and eaten,
and had talked with them a long while, even until break of day, he departed.
20:12 They brought the boy in alive, and were greatly comforted.
Paul sets his face to Jerusalem
intending to take Paul aboard there, for he had so arranged,
intending himself to go by land.
20:14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard, and came to Mitylene.
20:15 Sailing from there, we came the following day opposite Chios.
The next day we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium,
and the day after we came to Miletus.
20:16 For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus,
that he might not have to spend time in Asia;
for he was hastening, if it were possible for him,
to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
An application from these facts would be that Paul creates not simply maturing disciples, but ministering disciples. (What about you? Are you a maturing disciple or a ministering disciple?)
vs 7-12 As Jesus said to his disciples "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."Lu 22:46, yet here is a man quite literally "fell" after falling asleep. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled." 1Th 5:6 But I can empathized with Eutychus. Paul had been preaching from dinner to midnight - about 6 hours. It's no surprise Eutychus fell asleep. The lamps and torches also added to the problem depleting the oxygen supply. But it probably wasn't the wisest thing in the world to be sitting in an open window sill. Yet it seems today the Christian community is filled with people of even less attention span than this man. Yes ministers are partly to blame in that sermons very commonly are condescendingly geared as if to mindless stupid sheep. They take long pauses between every word as if thinking their listeners can't keep up with their train of thought. And many sermons tend to be so non-application oriented and so vague that it's no wonder that people have a hard time paying attention. Speaking in a derogatory fashion I think you can take almost anyone among the ordinary Christians in a congregation and they could do a better job preaching the Bible than many professional Christians. Furthermore Paul was probably not simply lecturing, for the word
But congregations also suffer as if from an attention deficit disorder which plagues the general society today. Few take time to meditate, read thoroughly and think deeply. Information is received only in sound bites. Even the gospel is commonly presented in a minimalist form. It's just not the way things should be in the Christian community.
Of course there's nothing better to wake people up and catch their attention than someone dying in the middle of a sermon. And better yet to have them rise from the dead! For it is the real life applications of faith that have the greatest impact. If we just have Christians of the faith of Paul we have great hope inspite of the apparent drowziness of the Christian community. "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him."1Thess 5:9.10 And so Paul continues his discussion for another 6 hours. And I bet they had no double staying awake for that!
vs 13-16 As he mentions in the next section, Paul anticipates
he will face hostility in Jerusalem but nonetheless is determined to go
there to fulfill his mission. In this he was also walking as Jesus did.
For in anticipation of the fulfillment of his ministry it is written of
Jesus "And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be
received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem" Luke
9:51 What is your Jerusalem? What will be the culmination of your ministry?