Mnason of Cyprus

After these days, we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge (Acts 21:15 – 16).

The Apostle Paul and his friends stayed with Mnason of Cyprus. Do you remember, Paul’s first missionary partner was Barnabas? That’s the name the apostles gave him because he was such an encourager. His actual name was “Joseph the Levite,” and he was also from the island of Cyprus (Acts 4:36). Certainly, Mnason and Barnabas, both Cyprites, were friends. They shared their faith and the same spirit of encouragement.

This is the only place Mnason is mentioned in the New Testament, and we can be inspired by two of his qualities. First, he was “an early disciple.” Does that mean he was there on the day of Pentecost for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Church? It’s possible. Some traditions say he was one of the seventy missionaries that Jesus chose some time earlier, but that’s just speculation. There is something refreshing about the enthusiasm of a new convert, but there is something comforting about a well-matured saint.

The thing that stands out about Mnason was his willingness to invite Paul’s Gentile companions to stay under his roof. Mnason’s Jewish neighbors (and many Christians at that time) would have been horrified to entertain Gentiles – even Christian Gentiles. Just a chapter later, the great Jerusalem riot and Paul’s arrest were caused just by the rumor that the apostle had invited a Gentile to visit the Temple (Acts 21:27 – 28). Mnason was a courageous believer!

By combining these two qualities – his years of faithful service and his hospitality – there is one more lesson to be learned. Sometimes, as we grow older, we leave the work of the church to younger members. Mnason could have left it to others to provide Paul’s company with hospitality, but he didn’t. Service should be as natural to senior saints as singing is to worship.

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