Jeremiah 11:18-20—Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies who seek to kill him.
Jeremiah feels like a lamb led to the slaughter by his enemies and he asks to see God’s vengeance upon them. Jeremiah cries out for vengeance upon those seeking his life. God informs Jeremiah that his enemies were out to destroy him. Jeremiah felt like a “lamb led to the slaughter.” His enemies were offended by his preaching of judgment, doom, and the captivity of the nation. Like other prophets (Elijah and Amos), Jeremiah experienced persecution: beaten, threatened with lynching, imprisoned, and thrown into a pit to die. Even his family was a part of a plot to kill him. Jeremiah calls upon God not only for protection but for vengeance upon his enemies.
Sunday’s Theme, The Christian and his opposition can be clearly seen in the three main readings for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson - Jeremiah 11:18—20, Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. In the Epistle - James 3:13-4:10, opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel - Mark 9:30-37, Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Christians live in a hostile world, for friendship with the world is enmity to God.
For the second time, Jesus tells his disciples of his upcoming passion at the hands of the religious leaders. Also, opposition breaks out among the disciples as to which one of them is the greatest. Jeremiah in our Old Testament lesson feels like a lamb led to the slaughter by his enemies and he asks to see God’s vengeance upon them. James in our Epistle lesson says the wars, quarrels, dissension and strife have their source in earthly wisdom. From the Psalm 54 we go back to the theme, for the Psalmist’s life is threatened, as were Jesus’ and Jeremiah’s and he finds God as his helper who rescues him from death.
Jeremiah compares himself to a lamb. Like a lamb that has no idea of its coming slaughter, Jeremiah was innocently walking toward his death. Indeed, he was innocent, for he had done nothing worthy of death. Telling the truth is no capital offense! Jesus was another Jeremiah, for he was the “lamb of God” who was slaughtered for the sin of the world.
Like Jeremiah, Jesus knew who has enemies were and what they would do to him. This reading was well chosen to harmonize with the Gospel.
Collect for Pentecost 17–Keep, we pray You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
 The Crucifixion, Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
 Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
 Collect for Pentecost 17, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis