11 “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. 12 Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 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. 14 There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. 15 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. 16 And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.” (Acts 28:11–16 (ESV)
Paul and Luke, along with the other passengers and crew of the shipwrecked vessel, remained on the island of Malta for three months in order to wait for winter to pass. When spring arrived, they set sail on a ship that had also wintered in the island.
Luke informs us that the ship in question was from Alexandria, Egypt. It had the twin gods as a figurehead. These would have been Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus. In Greek mythology, they both were considered the patron gods of seafarers.
Luke then begins to chronicle the places the ship frequented. These ports included Syracuse, which was located on the island of Sicily. Sicily is just south of Italy.
The ship then arrived at Rhegium and then Puteoli. Rhegium was a harbor on the southern tip of the Italian mainland. There the ship waited one day for a favorable wind to permit it to sail through the Straits of Messina (separating Sicily from the Italian mainland). Puteoli, known today as Pozzuoli, was located on the Bay of Naples near Pompeii. It was Rome’s main port and the most important one in Italy. Puteoli was also the main port for the Egyptian grain fleet.
It was at Puteoli that Paul and Luke met fellow believers in Christ. They stayed with them for a week. Following their stay, Paul and Luke finally arrived into the city of Rome.
Many believers, who heard that Paul had arrived into the city, came to meet him and Luke. Paul expressed his heartfelt thanks to the Lord.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “At last God was bringing Paul to Rome. And the welcome of fellow believers, whom he had never met, uplifted his soul. So they proceeded on the Appian Way, “the queen of the long roads,” to the city of Rome.”
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “When he (Paul) wrote to the believers in Rome several years earlier, he anticipated his and their mutual encouragement through each other’s faith (Romans 1:11-12). That anticipation is now fulfilled.”
Soli deo Gloria!