This is what I like about him and what I sense is relevant for us in these times of feelings running high on the subject of immigration and discrimination. Mnason receives Paul and his entourage. He is strong enough in his faith not to worry about opening his home up to Gentiles from Macedonia and Asia Minor and face the dangers, from a Jewish perspective, of ritual impurity, but his commitment to Christ has given him a new perspective on Gentiles. Now this has come up before in this series through Acts, but I emphasise it again. Jewish converts to Christianity remained Jews. We will see in the next chapter that Paul performs a Jewish purification rite in the Temple, just as we saw a few weeks ago how Paul shaved his head in keeping with a Jewish custom. Jewish Mnason is strong enough in his faith not to worry about opening his home up to Gentiles from Macedonia and Asia Minor and face the dangers, from a Jewish perspective, of ritual impurity, because his commitment to Christ has given him a new perspective on Gentiles. Has Jesus given you a new perspective regarding the gentiles fleeing the very lands that the Apostle Paul traveled through and evangelised. Whether Christian or not ... are those thousands our brothers and sisters ... and if you struggle to see them as brothers and sisters, are they your neighbour perhaps "Who is my neighbour?" an expert in the law once asked Jesus because he wanted to justify his discrimination (Luke 10:25-37) and Jesus answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan ... to a Jew there was no such thing as a good Samaritan. In Jerusalem of all places, Mnason opens his home to uncircumcised gentiles! Who do we need to open our homes to? Who do we perhaps need to stop discriminating against? Among the people that in the next few weeks David and Maureen's team is going to visit are the Roma, sometimes called Gypsies ... a people who experience discrimination wherever they find themselves.
Why does Mnason open his home to these barbarians, why does he refuse to discriminate against anyone? Plain and simply because he was "one of the early disciples" (21:16).
This can be viewed one of three ways:
(1) He is one of the disciples of Jesus during his earthly ministry and may have been one of the 120 in 1:15;
(2) he is one of the early converts of the preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem; or
(3) he is one of the converts of Paul and Barnabas in their missionary journey to Cyprus.
One of the first two options is most likely, but be that as it may be, my point is that being a disciple changes you. Being committed to the path of Christian discipleship changes you.
Tonight I want to close with a question followed by a statement. They are purposely provocative and I ask you to think and reflect on them before reacting to them.
Mnason was a disciple and I believe the world, our continent, our country, our city, needs more disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you a disciple, a disciple, of the Lord Jesus Christ?