ANCHORED DAILY: Acts 20:1-16

posted by Bethel Communications | Jun 23, 2022

Paul’s attitude in the midst of a great miracle helps us have perspective on what’s most important from Acts 20:1-16 with Sarah Landon.

Have you ever noticed the difference between a new parent with their first child and a veteran parent?  I remember as a first-time parent being completely grossed out at the things Claire would take a bite out of and not finish, making an effort to dispose of it properly, wash her fingers and mine, definitely NOT eating that thing my toddler had just slobbered all over.  Ew… and then came Jack… and Juliet.  By my third kid, I would not only finish what they had just licked or half eaten, I’d sometimes just go ahead and lick their fingers too.  You know, napkins just aren’t always close and ain’t nobody got time for all that.  I’ve got kids to keep alive here.  It only takes a few small humans to shift perspective from big deal to no big deal.  We’ve got bigger things to worry about.  

This is Sarah Landon, my Anchored Daily brothers and sisters, and in our text today, we see how Paul, now on his THIRD missionary journey, emphasizes what’s most important and what for the average person is a pretty big deal, to Paul seems like a small bump in the midst of the real important work.

We find ourselves in Acts chapter 20, verses 1 through 16.  Paul begins in Ephesus and he’s filling his punch card with yet another uproar.  He departs from his friends and makes the full circuit, up through modern-day Turkey, around through Macedonia where Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Berea are, and then down into Greece.  He’s about to leave on a ship for Syria when he discovers another plot from the ruling Jews.  I’ve got it hand it to them, they ARE persistent.  So he has a change of plans and rather than by sea, it’s by land again, back the way he came through Macedonia.  

We know it’s springtime because in Philippi, he celebrates the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which comes directly after Passover.  Then, crossing over from Macedonia to present-day Turkey, they land in Troas for a week.  At the end of the week, they’ve gathered to break bread and depart in the morning.  Paul is doing what he does best, talking and sharing God’s truth.  And Paul REALLY talks, like past midnight kind of talking.  Apparently, between the spring air, the burning lamps, and the late night, it wasn’t riveting enough for Eutychus, a young man who nods off perched at the window, falling three stories to his death.

Paul goes down and in the style of Elijah and Elisha, who in 1 Kings and 2 Kings out of the Old Testament, each stretched themselves out to bring life back to a boy.  Paul doesn’t make it a big thing either.  Verses 10 through 12 say, “But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”  And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed.  And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.”

So he marches downstairs, brings the boy back to life, and then marches up, breaking bread, and keeps up the conversation, the important work that he had been called to in Troas.  Bringing someone back to life seems like a pretty big deal to ME but based on Paul’s reaction and his actions after the miracle, I get the impression that he has been experiencing God’s powerful work often enough that it’s not really a big deal to him.  He’s a veteran when it comes to miracles.  As far as I can tell, it’s the only recorded instance of Paul resurrecting someone bodily, and yet, there was no great fanfare, no great celebration, besides breaking bread and continuing with his mission.

It could have actually been a distraction, completely derailing his opportunity to share, teach, encourage, and build up the believers in Troas, cutting short their time to discuss and learn.  But it seems Paul doesn’t miss a beat.  He addresses the situation, and then proceeds to stay up the rest of the night in conversation with his fellow believers before he departs in the morning.  Who needs sleep?  Not Paul!

I admire Paul’s humility and focus through this situation.  He doesn’t seem to make it about him.  He doesn’t make it a big deal.  He obeys the Lord, he stays the course, and he does the work he’s called to do.  I can’t say that I’m probably in a place where I would be able to move on from such an incredible experience.  Maybe I’m still very much a newbie in the whole miracle-working thing.  But I do want to be the kind of person who is diligent about staying the course to do what God has called me to, no matter what kind of distractions, good, bad, or otherwise, come into view.  Who knows, maybe the life-giving words he passed along to the believers there were just as important as the physical life-giving that he provided for Eutychus.

Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, there is no limit to what you can do.  You hold the power of life in your hands.  Your words are life for us.  Like Paul, help us to do the important work of sharing your words with those around us.  Help us to not be distracted by the good or bad in our life, but to keep our eyes fixed on you and your truth.  Amen.

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