Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Acts 20 - Hastening to Pentecost

Raising of Eutychus
Acts 20 sees Paul determined to return to Jerusalem in time to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, even though he knows it will result in his imprisonment.  The first half of Acts 20 deals of the trip back, and includes the the raising of Eutychus.  The second is his farewell speech to the Ephesians.

Acts 20:
1 When the tumult was over, Paul summoned his disciples, to rally their spirits and bid them farewell, and set out on his journey into Macedonia. 2 He passed through all that region, and gave them much encouragement; then he entered Greece. 3 When he had stayed three months there, he was meaning to take ship for Syria; but, finding that the Jews were plotting against him, he resolved to go back again through Macedonia. 4 He was accompanied as far as Asia by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and two friends from Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on first, and waited for us at Troas. 6 As soon as the time of unleavened bread was over, we set sail from Philippi, and took five days to reach them at Troas, where we spent seven days. 7 When the new week began, we had met for the breaking of bread, and Paul was preaching to them; he meant to leave them next day, and he continued speaking till midnight. 8 There were many lamps burning in the upper room where we had met; 9 and a young man called Eutychus, who was sitting in the embrasure of the window, was overcome by deep sleep. As Paul still went on preaching, sleep weighed him down, and he fell from the third storey to the ground, where he was taken up dead. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and embraced him; then he said, Do not disturb yourselves; his life is yet in him. 11 And so he went up again and broke bread and ate; afterwards he talked with them for some time until dawn came, when he left. 12 And the boy was taken home alive, to their great comfort.
1 Postquam autem cessavit tumultus, vocatis Paulus discipulis, et exhortatus eos, valedixit, et profectus est ut iret in Macedoniam. 2 Cum autem perambulasset partes illas, et exhortatus eos fuisset multo sermone, venit ad Græciam: 3 ubi cum fecisset menses tres, factæ sunt illi insidiæ a Judæis navigaturo in Syriam: habuitque consilium ut reverteretur per Macedoniam. 4 Comitatus est autem eum Sopater Pyrrhi Berœensis, Thessalonicensium vero Aristarchus, et Secundus, et Gajus Derbeus, et Timotheus: Asiani vero Tychicus et Trophimus. 5 Hi cum præcessissent, sustinuerunt nos Troade: 6 nos vero navigavimus post dies azymorum a Philippis, et venimus ad eos Troadem in diebus quinque, ubi demorati sumus diebus septem. 7 Una autem sabbati cum convenissemus ad frangendum panem, Paulus disputabat cum eis profecturus in crastinum, protraxitque sermonem usque in mediam noctem. 8 Erant autem lampades copiosæ in cœnaculo, ubi eramus congregati. 9 Sedens autem quidam adolescens nomine Eutychus super fenestram, cum mergeretur somno gravi, disputante diu Paulo, ductus somno cecidit de tertio cœnaculo deorsum, et sublatus est mortuus. 10 Ad quem cum descendisset Paulus, incubuit super eum: et complexus dixit: Nolite turbari, anima enim ipsius in ipso est. 11 Ascendens autem, frangensque panem, et gustans, satisque allocutus usque in lucem, sic profectus est. 12 Adduxerunt autem puerum viventem, et consolati sunt non minime.
Chrysostom (Homily 43):  It was then the (season between Easter and) Pentecost. See how everything was subordinate to the preaching. It was also, it says, the Lord's day. Not even during night-time was he silent, nay he discoursed the rather then, because of stillness. Mark how he both made a long discourse, and beyond the time of supper itself. But the Devil disturbed the feast— not that he prevailed, however— by plunging the hearer in sleep, and causing him to fall down...

At the very time (of breaking bread) the discourse having taken its commencement, extended: as representing that they were hungry, and it was not unseasonable: for the principal object (which brought them together) was not teaching, but they came together to break bread; discourse however having come up, he prolonged the teaching.

See how all partook also at Paul's table. It seems to me, that he discoursed while even sitting at table, teaching us to consider all other things as subordinate to this. Picture to yourselves, I beseech you, that house with its lights, with its crowd, with Paul in the midst, discoursing, with even the windows occupied by many: what a thing it was to see, and to hear that trumpet, and behold that gracious countenance!

But why did he discourse during night time? Since he was about to depart, it says, and was to see them no more: though this indeed he does not tell them, they being too weak (to bear it), but he did tell it to the others. At the same time too the miracle which took place would make them evermore to remember that evening; so that the fall turned out to the advantage of the teacher. Great was the delight of the hearers, and even when interrupted it was the more increased. That (young man) was to rebuke all that are careless (of the word), he whose death was caused by nothing else than this, that he wished to hear Paul.
13 For ourselves, we took ship and sailed to Assos, where we were to take Paul on board; he had arranged this, because he himself meant to go across by land. 14 So at Assos we met him, and took him on board, and journeyed to Mitylene. 15 Sailing thence, we reached a point opposite Chios the following day; on the next, we put in at Samos, and arrived on the third at Miletus. 16 Paul had made up his mind to sail past Ephesus, for fear of having to waste time in Asia; he was eager, if he found it possible, to keep the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem.17 From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, summoning the presbyters of the church there. 18 And when they had come out to him and gathered round him, he said to them,
You yourselves can testify, how I have lived among you, since the first day when I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord in all humility, not without tears over the trials which beset me, through the plots of the Jews; 20 and how I have never failed you, when there was any need of preaching to you, or teaching you, whether publicly or house by house. 21 I have proclaimed both to Jew and to Greek repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 Now, a prisoner in spirit, I am going up to Jerusalem, knowing nothing of what is to befall me there; 23 only, as I go on from city to city, the Holy Spirit assures me that at Jerusalem bondage and affliction await me. 24 I care nothing for all that; I do not count my life precious compared with my work, which is to finish the course I run, the task of preaching which the Lord Jesus has given me, in proclaiming the good news of God’s grace.
25 Here, then, I stand, well knowing that you will not see my face again; you, among whom I came and went, preaching the kingdom of God. 26 And I ask you to bear me witness to-day that I have no man’s blood on my hands; 27 I have never shrunk from revealing to you the whole of God’s plan.
28 Keep watch, then, over yourselves, and over God’s Church, in which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops; you are to be the shepherds of that flock which he won for himself at the price of his own blood. 29 I know well that ravening wolves will come among you when I am gone, and will not spare the flock; 30 there will be men among your own number who will come forward with a false message, and find disciples to follow them. 31 Be on the watch then; do not forget the three years I spent, instructing every one of you continually, and with tears.
32 Now, as then, I commend you to God, and to his gracious word, that can build you up and give you your allotted place among the saints everywhere. 33 I have never asked for silver or gold or clothing from any man; 34 you will bear me out, that these hands of mine have sufficed for all that I and my companions needed. 35 Always I have tried to shew you that it is our duty so to work, and be the support of the weak, remembering the words spoken by the Lord Jesus himself, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 36 When he had said this, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept abundantly, and embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 grieving most over what he had said about never seeing his face again. And so they escorted him to the ship.

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