So what’s a Mnason? Actually, the question should be, who was Mnason?
Mnason was a first-century Jew and he’s mentioned in the Bible, but only once in Acts 21. Maybe you’re wondering why you know nothing about him. The answer is simple — because there is very little said about him. However, what is said is important and we need to know why we should be like this man.
Who was Mnason?
Acts 21:15-17 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge. And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
In verse 16, we are told that Mnason was “an old disciple” who offered lodging to Paul the apostle, Luke the evangelist, and their companions as they traveled from Caesarea to Jerusalem. We don’t know where the location; only that somewhere along the way this man offered lodging to the weary evangelists. We do know that this was at the end of Paul’s third missionary journey in AD57 and that the journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem was about 60 to 70 miles, which would have taken at least two days.
From the text, we learn that Mnason not only provided lodging for the group of disciples but also accompanied them to Jerusalem: [Paul, Luke, and others] ”went up to Jerusalem”….”and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus…”
Summary of What We Know About Mnason
- Mnason was similar to Paul in that he was a Jew by descent, but a Jew born on Gentile soil. He would have been considered a Hellenist and would have spoken Greek as his native language.
- The name Mnason was a common name in those days and it meant “remembering.” His name is a variant of “Jason” and the variant is used in the Codex Sinaiticus.
- In Luke’s description of Mnason in Acts 21:16, he is said to be “an old disciple.” This doesn’t mean that Mnason was an old man but rather that he was an early convert to Christianity. It had been more than 20 years since Pentecost, so Mnason could have been a Christian for a long, long time. Perhaps, even a follower of Jesus before His death. Some suggest Mnason was converted at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-31) and could have helped establish the church at Jerusalem, but there is no certainty about the timing of his conversion.
- It is thought that Mnason’s house was not near Jerusalem, because, if Paul had been near Jerusalem, there would have been many of his friends with whom he and his companions could have lodged.
- It is also thought that Luke may have interviewed this early Christian for historical information found in his Gospel and in the book of Acts. This might explain why Luke mentioned Mnason by name and included Mnason’s act of kindness in his writing.
- Mnason is remembered in John Bunyan‘s classic book,The Pilgrim’s Progress. The story tells of two pilgrims, Christian and Faithful, who receive lodging in the home of Mnason on their journey to the Celestial City. This parallels Paul and his companions, on their journey to God’s City, Jerusalem, and the biblical Mnason who offered lodging to them.
What We Can Learn from Mnason
- Mnason is a picture of a faithful Christian who perseveres in the faith and has a heart that is devoted to serving Jesus and His Church.
- Mnason is an example of a Christian, not well known, but significant for serving God Mnason’s similar to Caleb in the Old Testament. We know very little about both men, but their stories are very significant. Caleb trusted God, believing Israel could take the land, and he was willing to do as God desired. Mnason trusted God’s servants and welcomed them into his home.
- Mnason is a reminder that we are to share our blessings. Mnason was likely a man of great means because he had a house large enough to accommodate Paul and his companions and he shared that blessing. Knowing that all blessings are from the Lord, we should be willing to share whatever they might be, with all people—especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Gal 6:10)
- Mnason shows us that we are to love like Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45; Read: What are the 10 Ways We Can Love Like Jesus?).
- Manson is an example to us of following Jesus’ clear commandment and Paul’s explicit instructions about God-honoring service to others, especially those in the family of God:
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
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