I took this picture of my cat sleeping in partial sun because she was so relaxed that she was about to fall off the chair. For whatever reason she reminded me of Eutychus.
A litotes is an interesting figure of speech that comes from rhetoric and means an understatement and it can be a pretty devastatingly funny. I have been going through some studies on Luke and the book of Acts. One of the commentators has remarked that Luke not only writes beautiful Greek and has a wonderful poetic style that lifts the spirit, but that the Great physician is also quite funny. He tells the story of a riot in chapter 19;23 by introducing it as “no small disturbance”. Our English translations tend to take the fun out of stuff. There was a great disturbance they say, but Luke, using a litotes says “no small disturbance” . The description of what can only be described as a full blown riot gets mileage every time we have a church convention. The first time I remember thinking about Luke’s humor was when I asked a District President how a convention went and he said “see Acts 19:32.”
Chapter 20 tells the story of Eutychus and gives the impression that the heat from many lamps in the upper room where they listened to Paul drone on for hours acted like a drug that caused him to fall into a deep sleep and fall out of the window and die. There is something comical about Paul running down the stairs, reviving the boy and then running back up, giving communion and continuing the sermon until day break. Once again the litotes. Paul leaves and they take the boy away alive, and are “not a little comforted. We are left with a question. Were they comforted at the boy alive, or Paul finally shutting up? Maybe both.
Adding to the humor is the fact that the name Eutychus means “fortunate”.