20C19. Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10. Jeremiah had prophesized that, since the King of Jerusalem had made an alliance with Egypt against the Chaldeans, the Chaldeans would defeat Judah and take everyone into captivity. For this, Jeremiah was hated and thrown into a muddy cistern to die. However, God was merciful by sending a court official to get the king to have Jeremiah drawn out of the cistern so that he not die there.
Psalm 40. God had come to the aid of Jeremiah and will come to the aid of anyone who calls out to him. He is our help and deliverer.
Luke 12:49-53. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were blazing!’” In John 12:31, 14:30 & 16:11, Jesus refers to Satan as the ruler of this world who will be judged and condemned. Those who are followers of this world, its ways and its leader, Satan, are dedicated to fighting against Jesus and his followers to the very end. Jesus said to Pilate in John 18:36: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” Jesus’ followers do not belong to this world (John 17:14) any more than Jesus does. There can be no peace between Satan and his followers and Jesus and his followers, only war to the end. To be at peace with Jesus means to be at war with Satan and what is his, this world. “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” The baptism Jesus is referring to is the fire of pain and death in which he will be immersed and subjected to by Satan and this world. Waging war against Satan and this world has and will always give us pain and suffering but will also always result in glorious victory for those who remain loyal to the Lord.
Hebrews 12:1-4. Paul writes, “Persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith.” What can be a more wonderful way to grow in holiness than to have in mind and heart that I am now following Christ, saying within ourselves, “Lead me, Lord, lead me! Jesus said to his first Apostles, “Come, follow me.” The ordinary daily tasks of life and even the seductive temptations of sin can lead us to lose focus on the Lord.