“And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.”
When reading the Bible, we should always look for application to our personal lives. In some texts, the truths to apply are very straight forward, others, are a little more difficult to find. This passage tells the story of a young man, Eutychus by name, who nods off during a Bible study and ends up dead. I think the passage is a warning of more than the need to stay awake at church. Eutychus’ fall is a perfect illustration of the way sin works.
Luke tells us the room they had gathered in was illuminated with many lamps. These lamps burned oil and gave off smoke and carbon monoxide. In this dimly lit room, filled with smoke, our young friend chose to situate himself on a window sill. To make matters worse, the room was located on the third level. Now, it is not sin to be sleepy or to sit in a window sill, but his actions do illustrate the steps that lead to a person’s fall. Facing a tempting situation, instead of being on guard, Eutychus put himself in a precarious place. Solomon wrote,
“Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” Proverbs 6:27
When we put ourselves in certain places, a fall is inevitable. Eutychus could have avoided all this pain by simply choosing a different seat.
Second, notice he ignores the warning signs. We read that he was, “He was sinking into deep sleep.” He did not go from bright-eyed to sound asleep in a moment of time. Instead, he slowly, gradually, yet continually, nodded off. After the first or second time his head dropped, or his body twitched awake, it would have been smart to find a new place to sit; perhaps to stand up for a while or take notes. After all, Paul the Apostles was teaching; it was probably a study worth staying awake for. Instead, he stayed in the sill until he was fast asleep and ended up dead. Sin is like that. It never overtakes us without warning. Before we ever fall, we have to ignore the nagging of the Spirit within us, the Word of God, and many times, the people who God sends into our lives, in the midst of our struggle. How often, before you sin, has the door of escape become perfectly clear, yet you choose not to walk through it.
Finally, notice that this young man was failing to make significant spiritual investments. Sure he was at Bible study, but he was far from genuinely seeking the things of the Lord. To him a comfortable seat seemed more appealing than the Word of God. Showing up at church once a week is not enough to ensure spiritual growth. Personal investment in your walk with God is necessary. Those who find themselves growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, overcoming personal sin, impacting others for the kingdom of God, are those who take time daily to invest in their relationship with Christ.
Thankfully, our story does not end with a dead young man. Instead, we read of the grace and power of God raising Eutychus back to life. Even when we fall, the grace of the Lord is enough to raise us up again. If you have failed, turn to Him right now.
Question for Acts 20
Paul calls the elders of Ephesus together and encourages them. Below are some of Paul’s comments, what do these words mean to you?
- Verse 18-“I have always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility.”
- Verse 20-“I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you and taught you in public.”
- Verse 23-“The Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.”
- Verse 24-“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
- Verse 26-27-“Therefore I testify to you this day that I [am] innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
- Verse 29-30-“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
- Verse 31-“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
- Verse33-34-“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. “