27:1 And when it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to one named Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment. 2 So, entering a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, meaning to sail along the coasts of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us. 3 And the next day we landed at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care.
So Paul is on his way to Caesar, placed in the custody of a centurion who works directly for Augustus Caesar. Like Daniel when taken captive to Babylon Paul finds favour with his captor.
It is impossible not to notice that every man is an agent for one kingdom or the other, often without even knowing it. Felix, Festus, and Agrippa were all agents of the kingdom of darkness. It's not that they were monsters or devil worshippers. It was just that in their world nothing mattered more than self-preservation and such men can never be trusted. They are perfect pawns in the hand on Satan. This centurion is different. He has nothing to gain by his kindness to Paul. Paul has no financial clout, he has no political clout. He is in the eyes of society a religious nut. His followers are too few to be politically dangerous and besides, Julius is a centurion. His job is to direct the 100 skiers under him. Political issues are for his superiors to worry about. Julius has nothing to gain by his kindness but he does have something to lose. Sympathizing with a religious nut could cause him to lose respect from his men. It could cause them to question his judgment. In addition there are other prisoners. Showing favour to one can always lead to trouble.
So here is a centurion who has nothing to gain and possibly something to lose who chooses to be nice anyway. Julius is an unknowing agent of God’s kingdom. He nay not be religious at all but he knows in his heart the difference between right and wrong. More than that he is sensitive to the Voice that guides him to do or not do certain things. It is a voice every person hears. Agrippa and the Governor's heard it. They knew they were to let Paul go. They knew his restraint was unjustified. They heard but suppressed the Voice. Julius heard the Voice and listened. He had no authority to release Paul but he did have power over his treatment while under his authority.
How is it with us? What drives our choices? What kingdom are we a subject of? Do we put self above every other consideration or is the Voice of compassion for others the one that gets first place?
Jesus had a choice in the garden of Gethsemane. He chose us. Who will we choose?