When reading the book of Acts there are many names that are well known from Paul’s journeys; men such as Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Timothy, Apollos, and others are easily recognized and their exploits remembered. However, there are also a number of disciples whose lives are not as elaborately detailed in Scripture, but serve to be just as much a lesson to us today.
Tucked away in a few verses of Acts 17 is the mention of one such disciple by the name of Jason. We know nothing about this man’s background, occupation, or personal connection with any of the apostles. He is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture other than a possible mention by Paul in Romans 16:21. Yet in a few short verses of Acts 17 his actions have a lasting impact and bear an eternal reminder of the type of disciples God needs. Consider the text referencing this disciple.
“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.” (Acts 17:5-9)
Jason was recognized as a Christian. The unbelieving Jews were looking for Paul and Silas. They have stirred up the entire city because of their anger and disbelief and they want someone to bring before the rulers of the city. They are unable to find the apostle and his companion so they settle for some others who are known to be Christians, and prominent among these is Jason. He has not hidden his Christianity, he is not afraid of his beliefs or of others knowing who he follows and where he stands. The indication from the text is that these unbelieving Jews did not have to go door-to-door through the city searching for Christians; they knew exactly where to find Jason and others in Thessalonica.
Jason was given to hospitality. Among the accusations that are brought before the rulers of the city is the fact that Jason has received into his home these preachers of the Gospel and housed them during their time in Thessalonica (Vs. 7). When they originally came to Jason’s house, it was because they desired Paul and Silas, not Jason himself. It is possible Jason could have spared himself a great deal of grief if he had simply asked Paul and Silas to find other accommodations, but such does not appear to have been Jason’s nature. As a Christian, he opens his home to Paul and Silas even though it meant having men assault his house in their anger at the preaching of the truth.
Jason remained godly in the face of turbulence. There are two things that stick out in my mind reading the account of Jason. He never denies that Paul and Silas were staying with him, nor does he deny his faith in Christ. There would have been many, given the pressure of the mob and the local authorities who would have sought to save their own skin and let Paul and Silas deal with it; but not Jason. He also handles himself correctly before the government. There is no sign of rebellion or insolence from Jason, but he pays his bond (security – KJV) and handles the situation correctly. It would have been easy for Jason to compromise his faithfulness with anger and rashness in response to his treatment, but his actions are impeccable.
We need more disciples like Jason. Ones who, though not well known or the center of attention, commit their lives to justly serving the cause of Christ. They are not afraid of their Christianity, but embrace it; they help those who are seeking to proclaim the Gospel in every way possible; and they portray godliness in every aspect of life no matter how much turbulence boils up around them. Though we do not know much about the life of Jason, his example should never be ignored or forgotten. Let each of us endeavor to be an example like this faithful servant of Christ.