After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him. Acts 28:11-16 ESV
[The Lord says:] “Assemble yourselves and come;
draw near together,
you survivors of the nations!
They have no knowledge
who carry about their wooden idols,
and keep on praying to a god
that cannot save.
Declare and present your case;
let them take counsel together!
Who told this long ago?
Who declared it of old?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other god besides me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none besides me.
“Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn;
from my mouth has gone out in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear allegiance.’” Isaiah 45:20-23 ESV
The twin gods that the Greeks and Romans believed in were called Castor and Pollux. They were the sons of Zeus, and people believed that these twin gods could save them from trouble at sea, and sailors also prayed to them for favorable winds before they sailed. If a ship was caught in a storm, people on board might pray to Castor and Pollux to save them, and some sailors believed they saw Castor and Pollux during a storm. What they really saw is what we call St. Elmo’s Fire, which is a glowing ball of light that sometimes appears during storms, especially near their end. You might have heard of Castor and Pollux as the Gemini twins, and there is a star constellation named after them.
Paul finally reached Rome after going through a terrible storm, and the ship that brought him there had a figurehead of these twin gods. This means that the front of the ship was carved in their image, and that some of the people that sailed on it might have believed that Castor and Pollux would help and protect them on the sea. Paul didn’t believe that, of course. He knew that it was the only true God who had brought him safely through the storm and on to Rome, just as he had promised. Some Christians came and met Paul when he got to Rome, which gave him comfort and courage. Paul wasn’t thrown into a prison, but instead he was allowed to live by himself with a soldier guarding him. In every way, the Lord was taking care of Paul.
We also know that we can count on our Heavenly Father to take care of us. Some people today still believe in the twin gods, and in other constellations of the zodiac in the sky, but we know that the stars don’t control our future. Our lives are in God’s hands, and no matter what trouble we go through, we can trust in him to see us through it. Jesus came to bring us through the worst trouble of all, sin and death. He died for us on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and he rose again from the dead to defeat death forever. We know he will keep us safe until we reach our heavenly home with him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your help and protection, and for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.