A Supernatural Calm
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. (Acts 20: 7 – 9)
Talk about shattering the calm! Imagine if somebody died in the middle of your sermon! I can imagine what would happen if somebody died while I was preaching: fear, panic, terror. But that’s not what happened when Paul was preaching.
Paul is a perfect example of calm in the midst of a storm. There’s been a death of somebody’s child, a youth – Eutychus was the first person in history to be slain by a preacher’s verbosity! And what does Paul, the perpetrator of this death, do?
But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his soul 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. (Acts 20: 10 – 12)
He goes downstairs, takes the child in his arms, carries him back upstairs, puts him down, and carries on with his sermon. Then, he presides over the Lord’s Supper. Then, he preaches some more until daybreak – and then, he leaves.
What calm! How could Paul be so calm in the presence of death?
The answer is this: if death is the worst thing that can happen to you, then you have nothing to worry about! Why not? Because, in Paul’s words, for the Christian: ‘your soul is in you.’ (vs. 10)
Back in those days, people thought that when you died, your soul was separated from your body. The Greeks believed that when you died, you became a disembodied soul.
No, says Paul. Death doesn’t separate us from our souls or our bodies – death doesn’t separate us from anything except the sin of the world. Death is not an end, but a beginning. A new beginning, with a new body – an immortal body. A body not susceptible to sin, or disease, or sorrow, or pain, in which our lowly body will be conformed to the glorious body of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:21).
Eutychus? He’s not dead! He’s not separated from his soul. For, says Jesus:
‘Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die’ (John 11:25-26)
This is newness of life in the resurrected Christ! Are you living this life?
If you are, you’ll always be calm, because the worst that can happen to you is that you die, and death represents a glorious beginning. (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)
It’s this calm that is one of our greatest witnesses to the world that Jesus is Lord.
It’s this calm that shows we are citizens of a different kingdom.
It’s this calm that shows the superiority of our God.
It’s this calm that demonstrates what we believe and who we follow.
It’s this calm that is the litmus test of our faith.
When we look at what’s happening in our country, we see a gathering storm. Calmness does not come naturally to human beings. We are easily agitated, and there’s much to agitate us: frozen government, polarized electorate, massive deficits, subjective morality, income inequality, disrespect of the law, diminishing religious liberties . . . and soon, people begin to worry.
But listen, Christians! Live as though nothing can take you down, nothing can upset you, nothing can deter you, nothing can upend you, nothing can roil you, nothing can discourage you, nothing can demoralize you, and nothing can disrupt you – because nothing can! Not even death!
So, root out the confusion and fretting and worry and agitation about what tomorrow will bring. Stand steadfast, unmovable in the Lord!