July 24, 2024

Sleeping in Public

Acts 20:7-12

The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

—  Acts 20:12

Have you ever fallen asleep in a public place, like during a long talk by a speaker or a preacher? Maybe your eyes began drooping, and your head started to nod. Then, despite your best efforts, you dozed off. Though falling asleep like that can be embarrassing, it’s not usually fatal. But it was for Eutychus, who fell three stories from an open window to the ground.

What should we make of this strange story? Should we judge Paul for being insensitive to his audience? No, Paul was doing just as he was commanded, teaching the good news about Jesus everywhere. Should we criticize Eutychus for falling asleep in “church”? Probably not, since it was midnight and Paul had been talking “on and on.” In fact, this story isn’t mainly about Paul or Eutychus; it’s about the power at the center of the book of Acts, the resurrection of Jesus. The Greek name Eutychus means “fortunate,” and Eutychus was fortunate that Paul was able to raise him from the dead. But Paul performed this miracle only through the power of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. This story and everything the apostles say and do in Acts points to the resurrection.

In Jesus’ resurrection, God decisively defeated sin and death. The power of the resurrection of Jesus still resounds in the world today as we wait for Jesus’ return and our eternal resurrection.

Father, through Jesus, you have defeated sin and death for our sake. Help us to live victoriously as we look forward to Jesus’ return. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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