And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days…
I. THIS WAS THE CLOSE OF A MINISTRY.
1. Is there anything more pathetic than the conclusion of a spiritual intercourse and fellowship? Paul is now leaving, and cannot leave. He began in the morning, and he was so filled with the spirit of grace that he never looked at the time. When was love ever patient with the clock? There is no long preaching so long as the thought continues. There are no long prayers so long as the heart has another desire to express. It is when we have said all that is in us, and then begin again that long preaching and prayer sets in. When was love ever quite done? When did love ever write a letter without a postscript? And love hearing is just the same as love preaching. Give me the attention of the heart. The mystery of the hearing ear is that it hears tones that do not utter themselves to inattentiveness. It magnifies the hint into a revelation. Give it one dawning ray of light, and out of that it will make a whole heaven of glory. The hearers were attentive; Paul was eloquent; the opportunity was closing; and the miracle was how to make the sun stand still until love put in another appeal. "What long days the old Churches had! They had but one joy, and that was in doing their work. When preaching becomes one of a hundred other engagements; when church going becomes the amusement of Sunday, then they will be compared with what was seen yesterday and what will probably be heard tomorrow.
2. How hard it is in many cases to say "Good-bye"! When a friend leaves, he never says "Good-bye" less than six times! He begins early, then says a little more, and then says, "Well, good-bye," and then begins again. Another object attracts his attention, a few moments more are spent, and then he says "he must go." Not he. He will see some other object, stoop to bless some hitherto unseen little child, and then say, "Now I must go." Not he. He waits at the gate, he shuts it twice, but it will not easily bolt, so he opens it again to see the reason why; then he waves "Good-bye," then takes a few steps and turns round and says "Good-bye." Why this delay? Do not ask; it is the mystery of love, the secret of heart tearing itself from heart. That, indeed, is the sweet secret of living; but for it death would be better.
II. THE PREACHING WAS INTERRUPTED (ver. 9). Eutychus was not in the congregation. He was in the room, and yet not in it, as is the case with many. When a man is not in the sweep and run of the great thought and the inspiring revelation, he is asleep. Well for some of us if we were now in a deep slumber! Somnolence due to physical weariness may be forgiven, "For God knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust." But there is a deadlier sleep. It makes the heart sad to see how men strip themselves of enthusiasm when they come into the church. Do not blame the child that lays upon its mother's lap and falls into a church sleep; but blame the soul that leaves the body in the church whilst itself goes out to turn six days' business into seven. But there is no successful truancy from the church. We leave stealthily, but we are followed as quickly as we go, and the record is completed, though we know it not.
III. THERE WERE MANY LIGHTS IN THE CHAMBER. Christianity has no dark seances; it is a mighty challenge to the attention of the universe. It only asks for silence that its speech may be heard the better. The magician wants arrangements made to suit him, but Christianity can preach anywhere. Paul preaches as eloquently in the upper chamber as he would preach on Mars' Hill. That is the test of reality always.
IV. PAUL STOPPED HIS SERVICE TO LOOK AFTER ONE INJURED MAN. In that particular he followed the example of Jesus Christ. Every life is of importance to God. Eutychus was not a great man; as his name implies, he was of the freedmen class. He belonged to the plebeian side of life, but to God there are no plebeians, except men who never pray, never love, never do works of mercy. But as for those who love Him and serve Him, though they have not bread to eat, and no pillows to lay their heads upon, they are of the very quality of heaven.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.