Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Lesser Known Jesus - Part 2


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on November 27th 2022  by Navaz D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.



“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” Luke 2:14

Jesus’ birth is not just a great event, it is the event of all mankind, and of all time! As Carol rightly says – The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

This Christmas season you will hear this refrain in songs, posters, Christmas cards etc. Like Lasya said last Sunday, we can get overfamiliar with some of these texts and not stop to ponder the weight of these words. Why is the announcement of this birth so special?  

Luke 2:11-14 “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Today or this day – it is a day recorded in history. Jesus was born in a real historical time during the rule of Caesar Augustus. He was born in Bethlehem to fulfil all Messianic prophecies. Even though Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth, God orchestrated history that everyone needed to register in their home town for the census which caused Mary and Joseph to make that journey.

Many historians record Jesus as a real person and the natural events that surrounded His death – they talk about the eclipse of the sun and the rocks shattering etc.

       Josephus wrote of Jesus in the Antiquities of the Jews

       Lucian was a Roman Comedian who wrote mocking Christian while treating Jesus as a completely historical person.

       Justin Martyr (a Christian) in his writings in 150AD mentioned roman historical documents reporting the events of the crucifixion of Jesus. He mentions Pilot’s report to the Emperor about what happened with Jesus.

       Luke writes his letter to Theophilus who is a real person in history.

There are other God men who are also historical figures but none like Jesus who fulfils every prophecy made about him hundreds of years before His birth by people of different generations. Not just that, His resurrection is witnessed by hundreds and that is the pivot of our faith: That Jesus came, lived among people, died and rose again!!! Without that our Hope is hopeless!!


 Never before, and never since has anyone’s birth been heralded by angles and never with these words.

Glory to God in the highest – i.e. in every realm from the highest heavens to earth below. God will be magnified and acknowledged. His splendour will be made known through this child wrapped in swaddling clothes. And wherever He is glorified there shall be no end to the rule of His government and peace. Habakkuk prophesied this too “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord” (Hab2:14). This will happen and is happening as many people become children of God and spread His shalom or peace through their demonstration of Kingdom lifestyle.

Today let us look at this announcement that the angels made: “Peace on earth and on whom His favour rests”


Peace on earth!

Why such a greeting? The Jewish world and the known world then was in turmoil. Many countries were being conquered by the Romans or under the threat of an invasion. There were wars and oppression. The earth was far from any peaceful existence. The Jews longed for the Messiah because they believed that He would overthrow these gentile rulers and bring be their King or Prince of Shalom as Isaiah prophesied.

The most common way the word “peace” is used is to describe the absence of conflict or war. However, the Biblical understanding of peace – is a state of mind and heart and much more. And this comes from the presence of a person – the Prince of Peace. 

Is 9:6-[1] For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. happened. That is why Isaiah talks about the Prince of Shalom.


The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom and the Greek word is Eirene.

Shalom when used as a verb means to be “complete or whole”. It can refer to a rock that is shalom i.e. with no cracks or gaps in it. It could refer to a brick wall that is well-made with no gaps in it. You would say the wall is shalom.

In life when things are not right, we do not have shalom. When we put things right in terms of our priorities, values, relationship with God, and relationship with one another we are said to have shalom. Let us stop to examine – is there a lack of shalom in any area of your life?

Shalom, therefore, is multi-dimensional.

But let us look at the starting point of having shalom. We cannot have shalom until we know the Prince of Shalom.

PEACE WITH GOD – it came at a price  

In order to have Shalom, we need to have Peace with God to have the peace of God.  

Everyone wants peace and is searching for it. People think if they do this they will get peace. 

We may enjoy temporary partial peace without God. However, to have lasting peace into eternity we must have peace with God. Can anyone have the peace of God?

Mankind has been hostile to God from the beginning of time. As we know back at the beginning of time God, Adam and Eve lived in shalom. Then sin, rebellion, doubt, and self-rule destroyed their union with God and took away that shalom. And since then, man has been restless, “nasty, brutish and short” – Thomas Hobbes (Thomas was a clergyman who wrote a book in 1651). Modern-day philosophers are critical of his assessment. His assessment is bang-on and lines up with the bible. Read Romans 1 if you have any doubts. We are all capable of the vilest of sins and yes, our life is short without a Saviour. It ends in 80 to 90 years and then eternal darkness and damnation.

But Jesus came to restore Shalom bet God and man Why and how does Jesus’ birth bring peace. 

Jesus came to first bring peace between God and man because without that we could not become children of God.

Eph 2:13-[2] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

This peace came at a price! He became that perfect sacrifice for the propitiation of our sins. You heard that word last Sunday. The righteous holy, sinless God needs to see justice done by punishing sin. Without that there is no shalom. Jesus took our punishment upon himself. 

Jesus took our sins that separated us from a Holy God upon himself, and standing in our place became the perfect acceptable atonement for the sins of the world. His death on the cross restored the shalom between God and humanity.

Isaiah 52:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.

This was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah about Jesus long ago.

In order to come into God’s favour we need to acknowledge Jesus' death on the cross and seek forgiveness for our sins. Only the blood of Jesus can bring us into the right relationship and shalom with God. This favour is available as a gift only to those who acknowledge it and accepted Jesus died for their sins. Only then will you live in the good of God’s favour. 

So the Shalom of God can rest only on those who have favour with God. Only those who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Saviour can enjoy the favour of God.

What is this favour?

It is the goodwill and blessings we enjoy as children of God. It is a grace gift that gives us access to all the heavenly blessings and riches in Christ. It is an expression of God’s love and extravagance toward you. Rejoice in it and be thankful.

What kind of peace did Jesus bring?

Jesus came to bring a different kind of peace – not the peace that the world gives John 12:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 

Jesus says this of Himself therefore it must be true. He gives us a different kind of peace – that is lasting, that is with God, that keeps us during trials and storms. 

This peace is perfect, it is lasting. It is a peace that sets a guard over our minds and hearts. When we keep our eyes on the Prince of Peace it acts as shield against anxiety and worry.  We can also replace our anxious thoughts with thanksgiving, and prayer.

Since Peace is a person, we have Jesus with us 24/7. Shalom has taken residence in our hearts. We just need to keep our minds fixed on Him.


There is a false sense of peace we can get in escapism through sex, alcohol, drugs, gaming etc. Only when we acknowledge Jesus as Lord and live to bring him glory can we begin to experience the shalom in our lives. We can be at peace with ourselves once we have experienced the peace that Jesus gives us through his death on the cross.  We can never bring wholeness to ourselves. Only Jesus can remove our guilt, shame, and anxiety. That is why He leaves us His peace. Only God can do that for us, and He does that through us abiding in Him, through us meditating on His word in a way that challenges and shapes our life.

For some, it means you need to forgive yourself for some of the mess-ups in life. Allow God to come in and heal those broken places. Only God can give beauty for ashes and bring wholeness to a fractured life.

For some, it is celebrating how God has made you. Be at peace with your looks, gift mix, personality and calling. 


Paul starts most of his letters with a familiar salutation “Grace and peace”.  Another important factor to enjoying Shalom is true biblical fellowship. It is only when we have experienced the grace of God can we also know the shalom of God. In Jesus, the longed-for Shalom is found and experienced. It keeps us secure in the midst of any political, financial, or personal turmoil. You can experience Shalom despite the chaos around you.


When we become children of God, we get His DNA. So, we become peacemakers.

Matt 5: 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”.

We are not peacekeepers. Peacekeepers do nothing to bring the real shalom of God. You can keep the peace by completely avoiding an unpleasant situation and having no Shalom. 

Peacemakers have difficult conversations and bring about restoration. We are Christ’s ambassadors who have been given the ministry of reconciliation.

“So, peace takes a lot of work because it’s not just the absence of conflict. True peace requires taking what’s broken and restoring it to wholeness, whether it’s in our lives, our relationships, or in our world. And that’s the rich biblical concept of peace.” Bible Project – Advent

Peacemaking is the most difficult part because the first two are within your control or what you choose to respond to.

This one is dependent on how the other person responds. That is why Paul encourages us in Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

I am also reminded of the prayer of St Francis that has been put to song 

Make me a channel of your peace

Where there is hatred let me bring your love

Where there is injury, your pardon Lord

And where there is doubt true faith in You


Since Peace is a person, we have Jesus with us 24/7. Shalom has taken residence in our hearts. We just need to keep our minds fixed on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.

Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We must do something. We need to take our minds off worrying thoughts. We need to replace that with thanksgiving, and prayer.


Let’s live in the joy and privilege of knowing the Prince of Peace as our personal Saviour. 

Col 3:15 - Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since you were called to peace as members of one body. And be thankful.


Eph4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

As ambassadors of Christ, everyone has a responsibility to be ready to share the good news or the gospel with everyone who asks. Christmas is a season when people are more willing to hear about the story of Christmas. Let us grab those opportunities. When we do this God will be glorified and His ever-increasing peace will come to earth.


[1] Of the increase of His government and peace, There will be no end,

We are promised that Jesus will bring us peace in ever-increasing measure. Shalom is what a King is supposed to help bring about his kingdom and it rarely

[2] For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace.

Rom 5:2 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Lesser Known Jesus - Part 1

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on November 20th 2022  by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here. 

Jesus is famous. In all history, philosophy, religion etc., he is well known. But do you feel sometimes that we are all too familiar with him the way we might be familiar with a movie star? We are entering the season of advent when we sing songs that are familiar, cook food that is reminiscent of our childhood and recreate memories that are nostalgic. In all that family magic, we can think of Jesus as just another decoration, an adornment. He is well-known but the question is how well we know him. 

We generally do this during worship, but let me ask you - who is Jesus to you? 

We are beginning a new series in this advent season to get to know the nature of Jesus better. We will be picking up on the names and traits of Jesus that are not as well-known or discussed. The series will be called “the lesser known Jesus” and today we will look at getting to know Jesus the High Priest, the Mediator and the Advocate

All three of these characteristics are Jesus as an intermediary between God and Man. 

  1. High priest 

In the Old Testament, the High Priest was the Levite whose job was to make the sacrifice for the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest would first atone for his own sin and then for the sins of the people. It was supposed to be a life sacrificed to be an intercessor. But it had become political and the High Priest was viewed as a governor or leader of the Jewish people. 

Heb starts with talking about an ever greater king, the supremacy of Christ but then it goes into this hierarchical structure between humans and angels and God. Then it talks about how Jesus broke that hierarchy and came down to earth and explains why…  

Heb 2:9-11; 17 - 18 “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.….17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.The miracle of Christmas is not the baby being born in a manger, but that the king of heaven, set aside his divinity to descend and become a merciful and faithful high priest. 

The word propitiation is very important - it means to appease/ satisfy the wrath of God. Another word for it is conciliation which is where we get the word to reconcile from. Propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving, it only renders it consistent (with his character) for him to exercise his love towards sinners. Because the wrath of God was satisfied on the cross, he is able to turn towards us in love and mercy. 

Q. How was Jesus different from the High Priests who came before him?

  • He doesn’t have to atone for his own sins 

  • He is merciful - he is able to sympathize with our weakness because he was tempted in every way. 

  • He is faithful - 1 Samuel 2: 35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind.The Bible also says that he is faithful in all of God’s house.  

Q. So how does this role of Jesus as our high priest affect us? 

Heb 4: 14-16 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  1. Hold fast our confession

  2. Draw near to the throne of grace with confidence 

  3. Enter the rest ( Heb 3 and 4) 

  1. Mediator

There are 3 places in the NT that refer to Jesus as the Mediator. 1 Tim 2:5 “ For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

The High Priest makes a way for us to enter, but the Mediator makes a place for us at the table

Q. Why is Jesus the mediator?

Hebrews 9: 11-12; 15 - 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant”  

So what does the mediator do? He makes sure that you receive the covenant promises. This is different from every other world religion because the mediator (a guru, sadhu, whoever) will make sure that they take from you what you need to give away. But Jesus the mediator is giving us what is due to us in the covenant - forgiveness, grace, mercy, blessing, and the power of the holy spirit… that’s what his death achieved for us. That is why in 1 Tim Paul says, there is only one mediator. Nothing else stands between us - no religious leader, no saint, no pilgrimage/ building. There is no other way to God except through Jesus. Jesus is the perfect mediator - the perfect elder brother who gave up all his rights so that could have all of his blessings. 

  1.  Advocate 

1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the Righteous”

There are 2 reasons why we need an advocate:

  1. Because we sin. 

If there is no sin there is no need for an advocate. But we are saints who are being sanctified. So we need the help of an advocate.

  1. Because we have an accuser: If we sin and nobody saw it, did we sin? But with God, not only does he see everything, but so does the devil. 

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

His destiny is to be thrown down, but until the fullness of time, he stands before the throne of God accusing us. 

Advocacy in the Jewish court - not adversarial but inquisitorial. There is no lawyer standing between the accused and the judge. The Judge himself helps the one standing before him if he sees that he is unable to defend himself. 

Romans 8: 33- 34 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

So when we sin and come before God the Judge, even if we are not aware of our covenantal promises and blessings, Jesus the advocate steps in and pleads our case. Jesus is our compassionate advocate, who is also the judge. 

Q. Does that mean we go on sinning? (Romans 6) No. Remember Jesus is a compassionate advocate but he never condones sin. 

 John 8: 3-11 “3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”” We can no longer go on sinning because it’s no longer our nature once we’ve encountered Christ. 

How shall we respond to the High Priest who makes way for us, the mediator who makes a place for us at the table and the advocate who makes a case in our defence?

Heb 10: 22- 25 has 3 let us statements and this is the response:

“22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

The passage ends by saying “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.