18 July 2019

Welcome to Thursday’s Podcast. Our reading today is John 19: 1-16a but today I will read verse 11:

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’


I love sunny weather. How about you? I love this time of year and on a lovely warm sunny day I often find that I check my weather app to see how long the lovely weather will last.

In the summer months when in my heart of hearts I expect and hope for lovely sunshine all season I can notice my mood drop when it’s overcast and wet – it’s like my internal thermometer has dropped and I dream of living in a warmer climate.

I’ve heard this metaphor used… Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

Do external circumstances of life affect your inner life: a sense of peace; safety and internal confidence? If the answer is yes then that’s the thermometer. In the same way a thermometer responds to temperature.

A thermostat sets temperature. That’s the difference.

Take for example politics. My neighbours, and parents I know from school, share an abiding sense of despair. In a few weeks Prime Minister Bo-Jo could well be moving into no 10; who knows if and when we’ll ever leave the EU.

Does this affect me? If I’m honest, then yes they do.

If we’re to grow this year at STC then one way we may need to grow in is our ability to move from a thermometer to be the thermostat. In other words growing more in faith – being less affected by what is around me to being content with what is within and grow to become the person who sets the temperature around me in the places we find ourselves.

For example to be the person in the office that sets the tone – a Godly tone. To be the person who changes the atmosphere for the better – to be known as somebody who brings life in a culture of despair.

So how can we do that?

I’ve read the following passages many times. Every Holy Week or at other points in the year – they have become familiar so I’d like to take fresh look and see something I haven’t seen before.

The context is this: Jesus has been arrested, flogged and humiliated and is returned to Pilate for what will be their last conversation. Pilate has hoped that the flogging will encourage Jesus to defend himself but it doesn’t.

Pilate says to Jesus ‘Don’t you realize I have the power to free you or to crucify you…’

To be honest I’ve never really taken much notice of Jesus’ response but it’s incredible.

It strikes me that his own internal thermostat is so strong that he is not shaken by Pilate one bit. In fact he reminds him who really is in charge.

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…’

What does this mean?

Jesus is reminding us that he is submitting to an officer of the Roman State (Pilate) because God allows it – Pilate isn’t standing before Jesus representing the power of Rome – there is one greater and more powerful than Rome who allows the weak and broken government to exist.

Jesus’ internal thermostat is set on the truth that his Father in Heaven holds the whole thing together – not Pilate and certainly not Rome.

I need to be reminded that Brexit is not the defining narrative of my life. Perhaps that might be helpful for you today.

Or perhaps its your work place – you’ve been through a tough season and your boss’s comments have meant that you’re a bit like a thermometer – responding to what is around?

Set your internal thermometer on the truth that God is control and what he says of you and what he calls you to is more important than the Pilate that stands in front of you!


Father I pray that we may able to stand firm today. Whatever we face – knowing that you are working your purposes. Amen

READING: John 19:1-16a

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they slapped him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.’ When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’

But Pilate answered, ‘You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.’

The Jewish leaders insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, ‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’

‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked.

‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.