But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of grace of God.
- Acts 20:24
Here, Paul shares his aims and the determination he has to complete his Godly calling. The Old Testament priesthood worked in courses (Divisions or shifts). King David set them into twenty-four courses, with each crew working a week before the changeover shift (1 Chronicles 23:6). During their course they had no days off, working through all holi-days.
Furthermore, their inheritance was God, not land and worldly goods, as with their brothers.
The inheritance of the priesthood is spoken of in Deuteronomy 18:1-2, “The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them."
Prior to Christ’s death, resurrection and appointment as the new High Priest, priests had to be born from the tribe or line of Levi, specifically the ministry family of Aaron, the Original High Priest of the Exodus appointed by God. In our key verse, Paul displays the new Priestly ministry to which we are also called, the royal Priesthood and its course, showing us that we must become born (Born Again) into the tribe or line of Christ to be a part of that priesthood. Paul was apprehended by Jesus on the road to Damascus. From there, his life changed dramatically and completely — he joined the New Testament priestly ministry, which he received from his New Testament High Priest, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 3:1, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”
Paul is making a distinction between the Old and New Testament professions.
He dropped all desires of this world to pursue it, despising this life's riches and counting them as dung. He realised he had no inheritance among his natural brethren that would be any benefit. His inheritance was the Lord.
In Hebrews 4:4 we see another glimpse of Paul’s devotion to his new priestly calling, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” This more clearly defines the profession of the New Testament priestly ministry to which we bind ourselves by agreeing to the covenant signed in Christ’s blood. Paul pleads with us to hold fast that profession, and not to diminish its high calling. We don’t wear robes and garments of designation, and therefore t is easy not to see ourselves as priests. However, that is the sum of our calling.
Paul views his entire life as being rostered onto his priestly course, and he is determined to finish it properly, offering not just spiritual gifts and sacrifices, but his whole life to the ministry, ensuring all the details of his personal and ministry offerings were covered off.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, where Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” we see a clearer perspective of the priestly ministry and lineage into which we are called and, as we read of the courses, we are expected to be found chosen and faithful in our course, seeing it to its completion.
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for Paul’s understanding of his ministerial calling. Please help me to understand mine more thoroughly, so I can increase my knowledge and desire to fulfill your service.