Scripture Reference: Acts 20:7-12
Memory Verse: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (ESV)
Suggested Emphasis: When the church assembles it is important to listen to God’s Word being preached, participate in worship and show respect for others.Note from Mary: It was not misbehaviour that led to Eutychus falling out of the window. We can all empathise with him. If adults find it difficult to sit quiet and still for long periods of time then children find it even harder. So, since children relate so well to this Bible character I suggest using this opportunity to talk in a positive way about ways to listen and participate in the church assembly.
In the last stages of Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey Paul made a stop in the city of Troas. He met with the church in an upstairs room and preached a sermon during the assembly. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window to listen but when Paul preached on until midnight Eutychus went to sleep and then fell out of the window and died. Paul raised the boy from the dead.
Paul was both an apostle and a missionary. The Antioch church had sent him on a number of mission trips. On this, his 3rd Missionary Journey Paul had travelled from Antioch, Syria across Asia Minor before staying for over two years in Ephesus. After leaving Ephesus Paul crossed over to Macedonia and travelled through to Greece.
After three months in Greece Paul was ready to sail back to Syria. Upon hearing of a plot against his life he changed his plans to sail and decided to take the long way home. He back-tracked the way he had come and went back north by land and crossed over to Troas where he met up again with travelling companions who had taken another route.
Troas is on the east coast of the Aegean Sea in modern-day 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 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 so talk about 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.
Give your students the respect they deserve for being able to control themselves better than babies and very young children. If you ask them you might find that they can come up with quite a few good ideas on their own but here are a few helpful hints for participation by children in the assembly:
- Go to the toilet/bathroom and get a drink before the assembly begins so you won’t have to get up while others are listening.
- Be seated and greet the people around you before things begin.
- Sing along with everyone else and use a songbook if there is one available. (Looking up song numbers in the book is one way a younger child can participate).
- Bow your head and close your eyes during the prayers.
- When the speaker mentions a verse in the Bible try to look it up and read it in your own Bible.
- If you don’t understand what is being said and are having trouble listening then look up other verses in your Bible or find songs in the songbook and sing them silently. This will help you think about God.
- Bring along a notepad to:
- Write down or draw things the preacher says.
- Copy Bible verses from your Bible.
- Write down words you don’t understand so you can ask your parents or teacher later.
- If you get tired of sitting then stretch your muscles in a way that doesn’t disturb the people sitting next to you.
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
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.”
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.
As a missionary Paul went on a number of important trips, or journeys. Paul began his 3rd Missionary Journey Paul travelled from Antioch, Syria. He visited many churches on this journey and helped people learn to be strong in their faith. When Paul got to Ephesus he stayed there over two years teaching people about Jesus.
After Ephesus Paul travelled to Macedonia and Greece. He and his friends told many people that Jesus was God’s son. They wanted everyone to know the Good News. Some people believed what Paul was saying and started following Jesus. But some people did not like what Paul was saying.
After three months had passed Paul knew it was time to go back to Antioch, Syria where he had started his journey.
Paul travelled back the same way he had come. Some of his friends went ahead of him and he caught up with them in the city of Troas.
On the first day of the week (Sunday) Paul and all of the Christians met together to take the Lord’s Supper. Everyone was so happy that Paul was with them. They knew that Paul was both an Apostle and a missionary. They had heard about how Paul had shared the Good News of Jesus with many people. And they had heard about the miracles that Paul had done to show the power of God and help people believe.
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. Paul kept preaching until midnight so there were many lamps to help everyone 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!
But Paul kept preaching on and on and 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.
This was very serious! 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 Paul arrived. He had climbed down all of those stairs 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.
After this everyone went back up the stairs and continued their time together. They took the Lord’s Supper and Paul talked with them all through the night. In the morning Paul left to continue his journey. And the Christians took Eutychus home safe and sound.
Have you ever fallen asleep in church like Eutychus? Or have you had a hard time listening? It is sometimes very difficult to sit still and quiet for a long time. But it is good manners and very respectful to try your best. That way you can listen and everyone else can listen. We want everyone to hear the Good News about Jesus!
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
Additional Visual Aids for this Story:
- Eutychus Falls from a Window_Slide Show to download
(.pptx 4 MB file size)
- Eutychus Falls from a Window_Slide Show to Download_older format
(.ppt 4.4 MB file size)
- Eutychus Falls from a Window_Visual Aid to download and print
(.pdf 1.4 MB file size)
- Who preached so long that it was past midnight? Paul
- What happened to Eutychus? He went to sleep during Paul’s preaching and fell out of a third floor window and died.
- What did Paul do when he found Eutychus dead? He put his arms around him. Then he raised him from the dead.
- Why is it important to listen to the word of God being preached? Faith comes from hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17)
- 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.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Trace Paul’s third missionary journey on a 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
- If you are teaching a series of lessons about Paul then you might draw an outline of him on a large poster or paper and then add descriptive words about him each time you study a new lesson (printable picture here). Alternatively, you might draw a new outline shape of him each week on a whiteboard or even with a stick in the sand (if you are outside) and guide children in adding descriptive words or events inside the outlined shape as a review. Lessons from the life of Paul are:
- Saul (Paul) Becomes a Christian
- The Antioch Church
- Paul’s 1st Journey- Lystra
- Paul’s 2nd Journey-Macedonian Vision
- Lydia Becomes a Christian
- A Jailer Becomes a Christian
- The Noble Bereans
- Paul Preaches in Athens-Mars Hill
- Priscilla and Aquila
- Paul’s 3rd Journey- Ephesus
- Eutychus Falls from a Window
- Paul Goes to Jerusalem
- Paul’s Nephew Uncovers a Plot
- Paul’s Trial
- Paul’s Shipwreck
- Paul Writes Letters from Prison
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Simple colouring page at http://abigbowloflife.blogspot.com/
- A good selection of puzzles and games to print at http://www.gardenofpraise.com/
- Online and printable activities and games at http://gardenofpraise.com/
- Games: Games that help children learn to listen. Instructions at http://www.playingwithwords365.com/
- Games: More games and activities for helping children learn to listen. Instructions at http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/
- Another article about manners in church from “e-how”. At http://www.ehow.com/
- Review: Create a “passport” that covers the life of Paul. Good visual ideas and activities. Could be split up to go with several lessons or taught all together as a review of previous lessons concerning Paul found at http://kidsbibledebjackson.blogspot.co.nz/