11 After three months we headed out to sea. We sailed in a ship that had stayed at the island during the winter. It was a ship from Alexandria. On the front of it the figures of twin gods were carved. Their names were Castor and Pollux. 12 We landed at Syracuse and stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed to Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up. The day after that, we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some believers. They invited us to spend a week with them. At last we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard we were coming. They traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw these people, he thanked God and was cheered up. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself. But a soldier guarded him.
From the very beginning, sin has been dividing and separating the people of God’s creation. But through Christ Jesus, Greeks and Romans, Hebrews and Gentiles, are being brought together in a new and kind of family.
At the bow of the ship which carried Paul to Rome there was a carved replica of the Gemini twins. I would think that just before the ship set sail, there were offerings and prayers by the captain and the sailors to Castor and Pollux for safety and their blessing for the journey. When we are in contact with unbelievers, we can be assured God will use everything for His glory. In a heathen ship, with a pagan name, the gospel was carried to Rome.
The brethren, and probably the church in Puteoli, asked if it might be possible for Paul to spend the week there and probably to participate with them in the services.
Everywhere we go throughout the world, there is family in Christ, who we have never met before, but with whom there can be an instantaneous and loving relationship.
Paul appears to have been discouraged, but when the brothers from Rome arrived, Paul’s heart was filled with joy, and he praised God. Paul might have feared the Roman believers would be anti-gentile, but the friendly faces of people he had never met before filled him with encouragement, joy & thanksgiving. Sometimes, despite knowing that all things work together for good to them that love God, we still worry and doubt. Not only should our worship of God with our brothers and sisters in Christ encourage and uplift us, but there should be a desire in us to be that same kind of blessing to others around us.
Written by Cath Croft