When it was decided that we should sail to Italy, they handed Paul over, along with some other prisoners, to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Cohort.
Julius was kind to Paul, and allowed him to go to his friends to be cared for.
One of the many aspects I love about the Bible is its vulnerable honesty. The writers don’t seem to be spinning everything the way they wish things to look so that it’s all squeaky clean. And that’s part of what makes it so believable to me.
How many stories are there of God’s people screwing up big time? The church since the earliest days had problems. We know this because they’re included in the New Testament Canon, not hidden away!
And there’s those individual stories of goodness happening even within the ranks of the “bad guys”—those opposed to God’s people and plan.
Here toward the end of Acts, we have this short account of a centurion who is named, and told of his kindness toward our evangelist Paul. The Roman Empire was not exactly known for its wonderful kindness and benevolence. But here we have yet another centurion story of a good man. It is quite possible that Julius heard Paul’s case and defense, and believed in his innocence, trusted he was a man of integrity. He treated Paul as a gentleman.
Accounts such as these inspire my faith in Christ and encourage me in the example of Christians truly filled with the Spirit of God. This writer took the time to single out and name this soldier of an occupying army. The New Testament doesn’t go on and on about how big of jack holes the Romans were. Instead, it singles out a few kind humans within the empire, and honors them.
May we always be looking for the light shining in others, no matter where they’re from or who they’re with, showing the world our good eye for what is noble and kind.