I often wonder why the biblical writers included particular details in their writings and there is some detail in today’s passage that doesn’t appear critical to the story we’re reading and yet there it is. So why, for example, do we need to know that the ship used for the final part of Paul’s journey to Rome was Alexandrian and had a figurehead of Castor and Pollux? Well it seems that Castor and Pollux were considered by the Romans to be the twin sons of Zeus, Castor being a horse tamer and Pollux being a boxer. They were believed to have lent their blessing to travellers and mariners in particular. Sailors would, in the time of a storm, promise to offer a lamb as a sacrifice to Castor and Pollux upon their safe return to land.
Perhaps Paul used this idea as a teaching point knowing that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb who gave himself for the salvation of all of us; if he didn’t perhaps he missed and opportunity? Either way it paints a great picture for us that the sacrificial lamb brings salvation to all who accept Him and promise to follow Him no matter what trials and tribulations we pass through in the voyage. He lends us His favour and blessing in the storm, holding us safely in the palm of His eternal hand until we eventually reach the safety of the Promised Land (heaven).
Paul knew exactly where he was heading to, he had long known that he would go to Rome so no matter what he had to endure in the journey he held firmly to the knowledge that he would eventually get there. His focus was always to have the gospel before him with the express intent of sharing it with as many people as he could. He knew better than to rely on false gods like Castor and Pollux, or the old and false teachings of the Jewish establishment and he was prepared to endure whatever was necessary to see the truth preached across the Roman Empire. History records that he made it to Rome and legend has it that he went further even reaching Spain, as far west as he could go at the time. But always at the front of his mind was the knowledge that Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. There was no need for anyone or anything else. It was always Jesus and only Jesus who was important.
Lord Jesus help me to keep my focus on You always. In the storm and in the blessing let Your presence abide in me that I may know You to my journeys end. Amen.