In Acts 20, we find the healing power of the Holy Spirit on display through an interesting story about a young man named Eutychus. Eutychus, along with other believers from Troas, had gathered in an upstairs room to break bread and listen to Paul’s teaching. As the hours neared midnight and as scripture says, “Paul spoke on and on”, the young man named Eutychus fell asleep while sitting in a windowsill on the third story. Acts 20 says that he fell sound asleep and fell out the window to his death.
Paul paused his teaching, went downstairs to the young man, took him in his arms, and said, “Don’t worry. He’s alive!” to the crowd. They all went back upstairs, continued to break bread, and listen to Paul teach until dawn the next day. This passage concludes by saying that the young man was taken home alive and well, while everyone was greatly relieved.
What an interesting passage of scripture to include in the accounts of Acts! A pastor was quoted when asked about this passage, “I wish I could assure listeners of the same prognosis when they fall asleep during my preaching. My concern is that they may fall out of fellowship, not a window!”
We see through this account however, the power of the Holy Spirit! There’s nothing magical or special that Paul did or said throughout this healing, but he believed in the power of the Holy Spirit to work through him and enable him to work this miracle for the young man named Eutychus. The good news is that you and I have access to that same power today. Romans 8:11 says, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you”.
As we continue reading in Acts 20, Paul begins his journey heading for Jerusalem, and because he wanted to make it before the Festival of Pentecost, he chose not to stop in Ephesus. But he sends a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus asking them to come and meet him in Miletus.
He encourages the elders of the church by telling them, “I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears…I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike – the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus”.
Paul goes on to tell the Ephesian leaders that he must go to Jerusalem. That he is bound by the Spirit to go there. He says that he doesn’t know what awaits him there other than that the Holy Spirit tells him that jail and suffering await him. What an encouraging message to hear from the Lord, right? The only thing you can be certain of coming your way is jail and suffering. But Paul isn’t concerned about the awaiting persecution and difficulty. He concludes this passage with a powerful message to all believers in verse 24 when he says, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
Paul wasn’t concerned about preserving his own life. What counted most to him was that he finished the work that God had called him to. Regardless of the outcome, he would finish his course with joy. This echoes what Paul writes in Philippians 1:20 when he says, “Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death”. Paul teaches that it’s better to lose your life for Christ than to waste it on the world.
Today, each one of us have a specific calling or work that God has chosen us for. My hope and prayer is that we would view it in the same way that Paul did. That we would know and live with the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. But also, that we would endure hardships with perseverance and faith. The work that God has called us to is never promised to be easy. In fact, we can make the case that the work God has called us to will face hardships and be difficult. But like Paul said in this chapter, “my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me”. Our greatest role in the kingdom is fulfilling the work that God has called us to.