In a rather confronting Gospel passage this week, we hear how Jesus’ message of peace will not always find receptive hearts. The increasing hostility to his message that he encounters will come to a climax as he approaches Jerusalem, the city of destiny. This leads him to see himself as a person who provokes prophetic hostility rather than peace. It seems best to understand the ‘fire’ that Jesus says he has come to bring to the earth as the gift of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist had prophesied that the coming One would baptise ‘with the Holy Spirit and fire’ (Luke 3:16). And indeed at Pentecost the gathered disciples will receive the Spirit in the visible form of ‘tongues as if of fire’ (Acts 2:3). But the Spirit cannot be given until Jesus has faced and gone through the destiny that awaits him in Jerusalem.