Paul's Sermon & Healing at Troas Part 3 of 3
by John Lowe
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
“And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves;”
Paul was full of tenderness toward the young man. He embraced him, Luke says. His resuscitation of the lad echoes that of both Elijah and Elisha in similar circumstances (1 Kings 17:21; 2 Kings 4:34). Some have suggested that Paul had administered artificial respiration though that in itself would not account for the miracle. Luke plainly tells us the young man was dead; what Paul embraced was a corpse. Paul, however, plainly expected a miracle, and it came instantly as life returned to the lifeless corpse.
“Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.”
News of the young man’s death quickly engendered a typical Oriental display of extravagant grief. The noise would have disturbed the neighborhood and caused a commotion that Paul was anxious to avoid at all costs. Paul played everything down. Far from taking advantage of the miracle, Paul sought to minimize all undue fuss and excitement. “His life is in him,” he said. Luke, however, has already made it quite clear that the young man was truly dead (v. 9).
Paul’s words “his life is in him,” should probably be understood in the sense that the boy’s “life” would be restored, though they are sometimes taken to mean that he was only unconscious. But that is not how Luke saw it. He spoke of the boy as “dead” (v. 9, not “as if dead”) and alive (v. 12), and the vivid details of the narrative suggest that it has come from a careful observer. Paul thus raised someone from the dead just as Peter did. Eutychus’ case is almost exactly parallel to the story of Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus. “She is not dead, but sleepless” (Luke 8:41). On this basis, Paul is placed in the front rank of miracle workers with Peter and Jesus himself (9:36-41; Luke 7:11-15; 8:49-56). It was, of course, Jesus working through Paul who gave “life” to the boy. This was a gift that belonged to the apostles. After the canon of Scripture was established, the sign gifts were not manifested—they disappeared from the church.
In the New Testament, raising from the dead was a miracle that clearly symbolized the resurrection of Christ. In the case of Lazarus, it is quite obvious. And in the present case, there are some rather strong similarities with the resurrection. It was Easter time. The Passover had just ended, and it was the season of Jesus’ death and resurrection (v. 6). It was the first day of the week; the day of Jesus’ resurrection (v. 7); and, given the season, Paul may well have been preaching on the event. The restoration of Eutychus’ “life” was a vivid reminder to the Christians of Troas that the Jesus whom Paul had been preaching was indeed the resurrection and the “life.”
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
“When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten,”
To help calm everyone down, Paul turned peoples’ thoughts to a meal. It was a sensible idea. There was no point now in going on with his sermon. Fellowship around the table would help vent the excitement and give Eutychus a chance to recover. Then, when the whole incident had been thoroughly aired, Paul could steer the conversation backed into spiritual channels again, which is what he did.
It has been suggested (and needlessly, I might add) that in the original source the word “eaten” refers not to Paul but to Eutychus on the ground that eating is a conventional proof of a complete cure (9:19; 10:41; Luke 8:55).
Luke has given us here another feature of these early meetings, namely, the eating of a common meal (the Agape or “Love Feast”) in the course of which the Lord’s Supper was held, for Paul is said to have “eaten” as well as having “broken the bread.” Here the meal followed rather than preceded the Lord’s Supper as was the case at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:17-34), which suggests that that was the norm. In any case, Paul remained talking with them long after this part of the meeting was finished. Meanwhile, Eutychus was left in the care of some of the members until the meeting had ended.
“and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.”
We could draw two conclusions to the Eutychus incident. One focuses on Paul, the other on the lad. The first serves to connect the incident to the larger narrative of Paul’s journey (v. 11). Assured of the youth’s recovery, Paul returned to the upper room, partook of the Lord’s Supper with the other Christians, and evidently shared a larger meal with them. Verse 11 seems to reflect two meals, the Lord’s Supper (the “breaking of bread”) and a further meal, which he “ate.” He then continued his discourse with them until daybreak. Afterward he “departed,” since he would soon need to hasten to Assos to catch his ship (v. 13). The second conclusion focuses on Eutychus (v. 12). He was taken home fully recovered from the fall. Everyone was immeasurably comforted. It was more than comfort. They were encouraged and strengthened in their faith by what they had witnessed that night.
We can well imagine that Paul’s talk in the upper room was anything but frivolous.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.
Paul delayed his departure to the very last minute, waiting, no doubt, to observe Eutychus as long as possible. The “young man’s” complete recovery cheered everyone immensely. He was taken home. “Thus Paul left” (v. 11), says Luke, with particular reference to Eutychus’ restoration; that is, Paul left them as the victor (through Jesus) over death.
Thus the incident ended on a happy note, and Paul’s reputation, already soaring, was even more enhanced. We also get another glimpse at the great, sympathetic heart of the apostle. How easily he turned aside from the crowd to minister to the one. How his heart went out to the “young man” who fell soundly asleep under his preaching. How careful he was to damp down all fires of fuss and fretfulness when dismay was at its height, and how concerned, too, to create a calm atmosphere and a measure of privacy for the “young man” afterwards. No wonder Paul was Luke’s hero.