Eutychus Falls from a Window


Scripture Reference: Acts 20:7-12

Story Overview: After three months of travel since leaving Ephesus Paul stopped in Troas. Paul preached on his last Sunday there. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window to listen. When Paul preached on until midnight Eutychus went to sleep and then fell out of the third story window and died. Paul raised the boy from the dead.

Suggested Emphasis: It is important to show respect, have good manners and to listen to God’s word during the church assembly.
Note from Mary: The main point of this bible story is not about good manners in church but what child does not relate to a boy falling asleep during a looonnnggggg sermon?  Because they can relate so much to this I use this as an opportunity to talk about what happens in the assembly (from a child’s perspective).

Memory Verse: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17  (ESV)

Background Study
Way to Introduce the Story
The Story
Review Questions
Craft and Activity Ideas
Other Online Resources

Background Study:

The Apostle Paul spent much of his ministry traveling to various places to teach people about Christ.  Sometimes he stayed a good length of time in a place while many times he only stopped for a short visit.  It was during these trips that Paul wrote most of his Epistles (letters) that now form a large portion of our New Testament Bibles.

Most of these mission trips originated in the city of Antioch (Syria) where the church was strong.

This story takes place during what is commonly referred to as Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey (Acts 18:23-21:17.

(Acts 20:1-6) Paul had recently spent over 2 years in Ephesus (Paul in Ephesus) and 3 months in Greece.  He wanted to sail back to Syria (Antioch, where the trip began) but there were plots against him and he took a longer, mostly overland route through Macedonia.  He and his travelling companions split up and took different routes.  The group reunited in Troas where today’s story takes place.  Among others, Timothy, Luke and Tychicus were Paul’s traveling companions at this time.

Troas is on the east coast of the Aegean Sea in modern Turkey.  It is 20 kilometres south of the ruins of Ancient Troy.   We first read of Troas during Paul’s Second Missionary Journey when he receives a vision of a man begging him to “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:8-10).  It is in those verses that Luke (the author of the book of Acts) first begins recording the journey in a way that includes himself.  So it was probably at Troas that Luke first joined Paul on his mission.

“Breaking bread”, or taking the Lord’s Supper together had been a normal practice of Christians since the beginning of the church (Acts 2:42 and The First Church).  But Acts 20:7 is the first time Sunday worship for the specific purpose of “breaking bread” is mentioned in the bible.

The place where they met was on the third floor of a building.  The fact that there were “many lamps” (Acts 20:8) might indicate that this was a very large room.  At the least it does set a scene of a a stuffy room full of people.  It is small wonder that the young man, Eutychus, saw the window sill as a nice place to sit.

Paul knew he only had a short time with them so he preached all evening and eventually all night.  Anyone who has experienced the unfortunate situation of being sleepy during a sermon like Eutychus can relate to Luke’s statement in Acts 20:9, “Paul talked on and on.”  Eutychus must have begun nodding off and then eventually fell into a deep sleep.  At that point he fell out of that window.

Falling from the third floor proved fatal.  Paul, however, went down to the young man and threw himself on his corpse and put his arms around it.  Knowing the miraculous power of Christ is stronger than death Paul was able to confidently say to the crowd, “He’s alive”.

Paul went back upstairs to continue talking and the people were able take the young man home alive.

The miraculous power of the Spirit is the most important part of this story and should be stressed to the children you are teaching.  However, children can really relate to the young man in this story.  From their perspective they have often sat quietly in church while a preacher seems to go “on and on”.  Children  are sometimes given “rules of behaviour” for church without any real explanation.  This lesson seems to be a good time to talk about what happens in the worship assembly.  Talk about how important it is to learn about God and how being quiet allows others to hear God’s word being preached.  Discuss how other signs of respect (manners) are ways of showing we care for others and their relationship with God.

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Way to Introduce the Story:
“What is the longest sermon or speech you have ever heard?” (Let children respond or share your own experiences.) “Was it hard to be still and quiet? Did you get tired or sleepy? In today’s lesson we learn about a time that Paul preached a very long sermon. He preached all the way until midnight! There was a boy in the audience that got very tired during the sermon. Let’s see what happened.”
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The Story:
Paul had a very important job to do.  He was a missionary that traveled to many different cities and countries telling people about Jesus.  Being a missionary was a very important job because many people had not even heard about Jesus.  They did not know that he had died on the cross so that their sins could be forgiven.  They did not know that they could go to heaven if they followed him.  They did not even know that Jesus wanted to be their friend.

Paul would travel to a city and teach people about Jesus and then leave to go to another city.  Sometimes it was many years later that he would come back to visit the Christians again.  One of the places that Paul came back to visit was the city of Troas.  The Christians at Troas were very happy to see Paul again.

On the Sunday Paul was visiting everyone met together to take the Lord’s Supper and to hear Paul preach more about Jesus.  The place they met was a room on the third floor of a building.  Everyone had to climb up lots of stairs to get to the meeting place.

There were many lamps in the room where they were meeting so that everyone could see.  One young man named Eutychus found what he thought was a very good place to sit.  He didn’t sit on a chair and he didn’t sit on the floor.  Instead, Eutychus found a window and sat right on the window sill.  There was no glass in the window because windows did not have glass in those days.  But it was a nice place to sit because there was plenty of fresh air.  The third floor was very high and the ground was very far down so Eutychus would have had to pay attention and be careful not to lean too far out of the window. That would be dangerous!

At first Eutychus sat up straight and listened carefully to Paul while he was preaching.  But Paul kept preaching for a very long time.  In fact, the sermon went on past midnight and Eutychus got very sleepy.  Can you guess what happened next?  Eutychus got so sleepy that he could not stay awake any longer.  Finally, he fell fast asleep and leaned too far out of the window.  He fell all the way down to the ground.  When people went down to him and picked him up they found that he was dead.

Everyone was so sad.  Poor Eutychus!  While everyone was standing around Eutychus something very unexpected happened.  Paul arrived!  He had rushed down to where Eutychus was.  Paul threw himself on top of Eutychus’ dead body.  Through the power of Jesus Eutychus came alive again.  Paul told everyone, “Don’t be alarmed.  He’s alive!”

Before everyone had been afraid and sad.  Now they were comforted and very happy.  If Jesus’ power could raise Eutychus from the dead then Jesus could take care of them too.

Paul went back upstairs to preach some more and the people took Eutychus home safe and sound.

Have you ever had a hard time listening in church?  It is sometimes hard to sit still and quiet for a long time.  But it is good manners and very respectful to sit still and quiet so that others can have the chance to learn about God too.  What other ways can we show respect to others during worship assembly?


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Review Questions:

  1. Who preached so long that it was past midnight? Paul
  2. What happened to Eutychus? He went to sleep during Paul’s preaching and fell out of a third floor window and died.
  3. What did Paul do when he found Eutychus dead? He put his arms around him. Then he raised him from the dead.
  4. Why is it important to listen to the word of God being preached? Faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17)
  5. How can we show respect to everyone who is listening to the preaching of God’s word? (Can be a lot of answers) quietly listen, do not get up and walk around during the sermon, don’t talk or whisper to people during the preaching, quietly look up and write down the scriptures that the preacher says, etc.
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Craft and Activity ideas for the class (choose age appropriate ones):

  • Continue to trace Paul’s third missionary journey on the map you enlarged last week.
  • Write the word “RESPECT” on the board or on a large sheet of paper. Ask the class to help you list ways of showing respect to others during the Sunday Worship Assembly .  Some ideas might be:
    • Be friendly and talk to people before and after church.
    • Be seated and ready when it is time to begin.
    • Participate at the appropriate times (sing, pray, listen, respond respectfully if the preacher asks questions of the audience, etc.).
    • Be quiet so others can hear the sermon.
    • Stay in your seat and do not leave during the assembly.  Go to the toilet and get a drink before the assembly begins so you don’t have to get up during.
    • Turn your cell phone off.
    • Wear clothes that are clean and tidy.
  • Take the time to show the children some “quiet activities” that can be done during the worship assembly to help little minds to stay occupied: colouring sheets, copying songs or scriptures on to paper, making mazes or puzzles out of words from verses, or keeping tallies of how many times the preacher uses certain words (God, Jesus, bible, etc.). Notice children who are especially “good” during the assembly. Ask those children or their parents to talk to your class about what they do.
  • If there is a tall building nearby take a walk and look at a window on the 3rd floor.  This will give the children a better understanding of how far Eutychus fell.
  • Song: I Can Be a Missionary
  • Craft: Make a relief map of Paul’s Journies featuring the place in today’s story. If you are studying about Paul’s journies over a few lessons then you could add more details to the map each time you learn about another stop on the journey. Instructions on how to make a relief map at http://www.squidoo.com/salt-dough-maps
  • Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
  • Acts_Paul Find other ideas on the Pinterest Board “Book of Acts:Paul

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Other Online Resources:

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