The Book of Acts Chapter 20: (pt 3 of 15)

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Here’s something interesting about Luke’s account of Paul’s Sunday meeting with the saints in Troas: As I just mentioned, the miracle of resuscitating Eutychus is described in a matter of fact way. The young man dropped from a window and Paul brought him back to life. Ho-Hum. There was absolutely no journalistic sensationalism here. The meal that had been delayed until Paul finished his message was now served, and it provided the occasion for conversation until dawn, it says. Now that’s the kind of teaching/fellowship I want to be a part of.

I get the distinct impression that while neither Luke nor Paul wanted to glamorize what happened to Eutychus, they do want to emphasize Paul’s preaching and teaching. Now being a teacher, myself, I can appreciate that, but it took a fatal accident to end it, and then after the miracle of healing Eutychus, Paul broke bread and fellowshipped with the believers until morning light.

From the way Luke tells it, it seems like the message Paul preached was more important than the miracle performed. Now don’t sell this miracle short. It accredited Paul as a genuine apostle:

“I have become a fool. You yourselves forced me to do it, for I should have been commended by you. For I lack nothing in comparison to those ‘super-apostles,’ even though I am nothing. Indeed, the signs of an apostle were performed among you with great perseverance by signs and wonders and powerful deeds” —II Corinthians 12:11-12

I get the distinct impression that Luke expects us to be more impressed with Paul’s message than with the miracle. The reason for this is simple: Non-stop miracles won’t impress you for long. Look at the Israelites as they left Egypt (Read Numbers 10-13 and see what I mean). But also, the miraculous won’t sustain your faith; it is sustained by the Word of God. The miracles may catch your attention—or even encourage your faith—but they won’t keep your faith strong. They may even draw a big crowd to your services, but no in the eyes of Luke and Paul, the message was more important than the miracles. I suppose another way we can put this is that the miracles only served to underscore the message.

But notice that while we should be impressed with the importance of the message Paul delivered at Troas, we aren’t told what that message was. Luke does an excellent job of calling our attention to Paul’s message, but then he doesn’t tell us what that message was. I believe the explanation is simple: Luke has given us the substance of Paul’s message in his account of Paul’s exhortation of the Ephesian elders. We know that Paul was warned of the dangers ahead for him in nearly every city. So I don’t think we should expect Paul’s message to be anything other than what we will read in Acts 20:17-38. So the first sixteen verses only serve to get our attention as Luke reveals what Paul’s message was.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts

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