I have always been fascinated by the story of Eutychus in Acts 20:7-12. Paul is preaching in a third-floor meeting room in Troas. As he continues to speak on past midnight, a young man named Eutychus goes over to sit on the windowsill to try to stay awake. His eyelids lose the battle, and he tumbles out the window to his early demise. Paul hurries down the stairs, throws himself upon the corpse, and then pronounces Eutychus living (L.O.A.?). After Eutychus gets up, they go back upstairs, have something to eat, and Paul continues teaching until dawn.
Why do I love this story? When I was in high school, it was cool for Christians to sign each other's yearbooks with their favorite verses. Most people signed with something normal, like John 3:16 or Philippians 4:13. But I always signed with Acts 20:7-12. To be honest, I did it primarily to maintain my quirky reputation (OK, maybe "quirky" is being generous). Maybe I like the story because of the strange incongruity. A boy named Eutychus (Greek for "Lucky") is so unlucky as to die from falling asleep when Paul couldn't stop talking; but then is so "lucky" to happen to have an apostle handy to raise him from the dead. Paul preaches one of his flock to death; then after healing him, he decides that light refreshments are all that is needed before preaching for another six hours or so.
In the end, I think I am fascinated by this story because it is one of those passages of the Bible that is both profoundly human and eerily divine.
Next post: What does this passage mean? What did Luke hope for us to get from the story?