There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple…
There is something that stimulates the imagination in these mere shadows of men. What a strange fate to be made immortal by a line in this book. The figure is drawn with a couple of hasty strokes, but even this dim form has a word to say to us. His name and birthplace show that he was a foreign Jew speaking Greek — a Hellenist like Paul. He comes from Cyprus, where he may have been a friend of Barnabas.
1. He was an old disciple — "a disciple from the beginning," i.e., one of the original and now rapidly diminishing group who, thirty years or more ago, had seen Christ and been drawn to Him. And the way in which he is mentioned suggests that there was a certain honour conceded by the second generation of Christians to the first.
2. He must have been advanced in life. He had emigrated to Jerusalem, and there must have had the means and heart to exercise a liberal hospitality. He does Hot seem to have known Paul, for the most probable rendering is "brought us to Mnason," implying that this was the first introduction. But the old man had full sympathy with the apostle, and his adhesion would carry no small might.
I. HOLD FAST TO YOUR EARLY FAITH AND TO THE CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE KNOWN.
1. Many a year had passed and how much had come and gone — Calvary, Olivet, Pentecost — and he had changed from buoyant youth to sober old age. His feelings and outlook were different; his old friends had mostly gone, but one thing remained and that was Christ, the one God-laid foundation, on whom whosoever buildeth need never change with changing time.
2. There is no happier experience than that of the old man who has around him the old loves, confidences, joys. But who can secure that blessed unity if he depend on the love and help of even the dearest. There is but one way of making all our days one, and that is by taking the abiding Christ for ours and abiding in Him.
3. Holding fast by early convictions does not mean stiffening in them. There is plenty of room for advancement in Christ. "Grow in grace," etc.
II. THE WELCOME THAT WE SHOULD BE READY TO GIVE TO NEW THOUGHTS AND WAYS.
1. It would have been very natural for this "original disciple" to have said, "I do not like your new-fangled ways. Is it not likely that we should understand the gospel without this new man coming to set us right? I am too old to go in with these changes." All the more honourable is it that he should have been ready to shelter the great champion of the Gentiles. It was not every old disciple that would have done as much.
2. Does not this flexibility of mind when united with constancy in the old creed make an admirable combination? It is hard to blend them, but the fluttering leaves and bending branches need a firm stem and deep roots.
III. THE BEAUTY THAT MAY DWELL IN AN OBSCURE LIFE. There is nothing to be said about this old man but that he was a disciple; and is not that enough? The world may remember very little about us a year after we are gone; but what does that matter if our names are written in the Book of Life with this epitaph — a disciple? What could he do? Not go into the regions beyond, like Paul; not guide the Church, like James, etc.; but he could receive a prophet in the name of a prophet, and so receive a prophet's reward. The old law in Israel holds good, "As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that abideth by the stuff." Conclusion: So this old disciple's hospitality is made immortal, and the record of it reminds us that the smallest service done for Jesus is treasured by Him. "God is not unrighteous to forget your labour of love."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.