Tuesday, December 19, 2023



This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on December 17th 2023  by Navaz. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.


Luke 2:22-


Do you know that movies are not made with just one camera?  Several cameras are shooting the same scene from various angles.

The 4 gospels are like that. They all bring different dimensions to the same story.

Luke is writing to a Roman official Theophilus who probably became a Jesus follower. Luke’s account is a thorough documentation to help Theophilus be certain of what he was taught and, in some ways, present a report that authenticates this new Faith.

We looked at how a Priest handled Hope. Today in our frame are two people little spoken of when it comes to the Christmas story but very important to our theme and to showing how Jesus’ birth was not just foretold, and there was nothing random about it. We will look at how a Prophet and a devout Person handled hope.


V25 – A man in Jerusalem Simeon who was righteous and devout would regularly go to the temple. He waits for the “consolation of Israel”. This is an old English phrase. In our school, we used to have a consolation prize! The word means “comfort”. So, the prize is given to someone very good but did not get the prize. It does not mean that here. It means the one who would bring comfort to all of Israel. (Remember Is 61:1-2 to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion)

This is another name for Jesus – Consolation of Israel!

What do we know about Simeon? He is a devout man. That is how Luke describes him – it meant he visited the temple regularly, observed all the feats, said his prayers, kept the Sabbath, and lived a righteous life. We do not know whether he is married, or whether he has children. It could be that in that culture it was assumed that he was married so there was no need for that information.

We are told that the Holy Spirit spoke to him in his heart that he would not die until he saw the Messiah!! Now we can read this and just move along!! What we need to realize is that the Messiah was long awaited since the fall of Adam and Eve!!!!

Have you ever had a prophetic word over your life that has taken years to come to pass? What have you done with it?

Work in the waiting

In the Biblical sense, waiting is not passive. It is engaging with all that you presently know you are supposed to do and do with gladness and with hope in your heart where you continue to believe that “you will see the goodness of God in the land of the living”.

Simeon did not stop going to the temple. It was the natural place for him to encounter the Messiah, but he did not know how.

V27 – Then came a day like no other. Simeon, moved by the Holy Spirit went to the temple. Maybe it was not his usual day to go. He arrives at the exact time Mary and Joseph are there. Is God not in charge of time? He functions out of the construct of time. Time was created for us humans. And in that context, God was bang on time!

What I see in Simeon is that he lived so tuned to the Holy Spirit. He could have missed that prompt or ignored it and would have missed being a part of history recorded!! Here is my takeaway – be alert because sometimes things come your way, that may look ordinary – like reading your Bible every day, coming to church, going to your Gym Group, and attending the church prayer.

These are some of the means of grace given to us by which we hear God speak to us and we could miss that chance to hear an encouraging word.  Can you miss out? Yes, you can. This is not about Salvation. The fulfilment of God’s promises in your life requires the right response from you.

So, because Simeon obeyed that prompting, his long-awaited Hope was fulfilled. Simeon went into the temple. Did he know what to look for? We don’t know. Was he to look for a grown man, a baby? We don’t know. But once he entered the temple, he was drawn to this young couple that had come to dedicate their baby boy! There must have been so many other parents there that day.

We can only marvel at the accuracy of how the Holy Spirit speaks if we are willing to listen and take steps of faith and obedience.

V29 – Worship in the waiting

Simeon takes the baby in his arms. Imagine holding God incarnate in your hands!!! He prays a prayer of thanksgiving and worships – acknowledging God as having fulfilled His promise.  And he makes a prophetic declaration in line with scripture – “a light to the Gentiles”. Jesus – the Light of the World! You see up till this point, even though it is in the Old Testament, the Jews had a very myopic view of the Messiah – that he would come to save them, to save them from political oppression and that he exclusively belonged to them. But here is Simeon echoing Isaiah’s prophecies – that the Messiah is not just the Saviour for the Jews but for the Gentiles as well – all the nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Is 60:3).

He also predicts in some measure that while the Messiah’s life is extraordinary, He would expose systems and hearts by whether they accept or reject Him as Messiah. This child would cause a great deal of sorrow to His mother – an indication of the death he would die.

Now the camera pans right – another person walks in at about the same time. This person is a woman!


V36 -For some reason, we know far more about her than Simeon. I think we need to track what Luke is doing. As you know 1st Cent. Jewish culture did not take women seriously at all. She was not to be heard in public places, not to be seen with men other than from her household, and she was not even considered a reliable witness. So, while Simeon needed no character certificate other than that he was old and devout, the reader needs to know more about Anna to establish her credibility.

We know she is the daughter of Pennuel who comes from the tribe of Asher. She was married for seven years and then a widow for the rest of her life!! And we were told was 84. Some translations say she was a widow for 84 years.

Here is another thing to her credit – she spent all her days worshipping in the temple.

V37 What did she do? – She worshipped, prayed, and fasted regularly.

V38 – I am sure she too was prompted by the Holy Spirit. And she must have walked up to Mary and Joseph and at that moment she felt prompted in her heart to speak out that this was no ordinary child, but the one all Israel was waiting for – for their redemption. And she does not keep this news to herself. She tells people around her. Maybe this is how Luke came to hear of this as well and now it is recorded in history. And we know that Mary treasured all these things in her heart. And she must have told some people too!

What was revealed to them was huge. So many people in those days claimed to be the Messiah and people got fed up and lost hope in the waiting. Even now, so many people claim to be Jesus or try to predict the second coming. It was huge in the 1980s. People sold their houses and lived like it was the end of the world!! This happened many times and now many Christians live like the second coming is either far, far away or a fairy tale.

I think it is no coincidence that the three people who were part of the plan of ushering the Messiah are old i.e., Zechariah (and Elizabeth), Simeon, and Anna. They represent the era that is about to close and now a new Era with the advent of the Messiah was upon them. They represent the last of the Old Covenant people.

It also shows that the coming of Jesus is not in conflict with the Old Covenant, rather He comes to fulfil the law and what the prophets foretold. By doing this Luke is rooting the significance of Jesus’ birth and the “new faith” in Jewish history. Therefore, these Jesus followers are not rabble-rousers rather they are people who wholeheartedly believe in the Old Covenant and now living in the good of its fulfilment. He wants Theophilus to see this as a legitimate expression of faith and not some strange cult or sect. That is why he stressed it four times – according to the law in v22, 23, v27 and 39.

Also, Simeon’s prophecy ushers in the Era where the Kingdom is for all who will believe – Jews and Gentiles alike.


What is my biggest takeaway from this passage?

Two people waited silently in Hope. They had a very long wait that spanned decades (symbolic of the centuries Israel waited for the Messiah). Yet you do not see a trace of bitterness or lethargy.

Why should we wait?

Because all the promises in God are yes and Amen!

How should we wait?

In prayer, worship, and hope.

Where should we wait?

 In His presence on the job.

What do we do in the waiting?

 Continue to do what you were always doing. There is something for our generation of entitlement, name it, frame it, claim it. Can we wait? And can we continue to serve God diligently, worship Him wholeheartedly, hold on to the prophetic and keep listening for His voice, and pray without giving up Hope?

What happens when we don’t wait well?

We can create Ishmael, the golden calf, or give in to pressure and do what we ought not to do like King Saul.

I want my life to be fine-tuned to the Holy Spirit.

 I do not want to miss out on His call on my life because I was not paying attention to His voice. God’s timing is perfect.

I do not want to miss out because I got fed up with waiting and missed the cue of the Holy Spirit.

I do not want to miss out because I gave into doubt or bitterness.

I do not want to miss out because I think I know better and try to make things happen in my flesh.

Which ones would you be tempted to do or have done? Let us repent and seek God’s forgiveness. And you know that He is faithful and just to forgive us and give us a second chance. 

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Prisoners of Hope - Part 3


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on December 10th 2023  by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

At Christmas, we are celebrating the coming of God as man. Many cultures claim that god has come to earth. How do we know that he is the one true god? Because his birth was prophesied and he was born of a virgin. 

Today we are going to look at the word son. If you look at a colour, there are so many names of the same colour- blue, azure, cyan… In the same way, Jesus was called the Son of David, Son of God and Son of man. 

  1. Son of David : 15 times in the Bible, Jesus is called the son of David. God coming in the form of man - why should he be called the son of David? 

What did David do? 2 Sam 7:1 

”Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent." And Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you."“ - ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭1‬-‭3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

David was passionate concerned about the dwelling place of God. Because of this he was rewarded. 

”And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'"“ - 2 Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

That’s what God said to David. What was it about David that god looked at? He was a sinner!

He wasn’t a perfect man. But what singled him out is that he was a man after God's own heart. He was passionate about the presence of God. Even in his old age he was passionate about building a house of God. Do we have that passion for the house of God today? 

David gave generously towards the temple. He was generous in worship. Can we also be generous towards the building of the temple of God? 

Matthew 1:1, Jesus’ genealogy starts like this : ”The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.“

”And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" And stopping, Jesus called them and said, "What do you want me to do for you?" They said to him, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.“ - Matthew‬ ‭20‬:‭30‬-‭34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The amazing thing here was that the blind can see who Jesus is. They called him the son of David. The Pharisees did not recognise him. 

”Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.“ - Revelation‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

One day when Jesus returns, everyone will see and recognise who he is. But may the lord open our eyes to see him now and worship him as God. 

”concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,“ - Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Jesus is the fulfilment of all the ancient promises e find in the Old Testament. There are over 3000 promises for us in scripture! When we look at the mess the world is in today, we can be unsure. But we can be sure that one day Jesus will come back and will bring everlasting life for those who trust him. 

2. Son of man - Jesus is fully god and fully man. About 80 times in scripture he is referred to as the son of man. 

”"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.“ - Daniel‬ ‭7‬:‭13‬-‭14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When Jesus came he fulfilled this prophecy. 

  • His divinity - ”For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."“ ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭27‬-‭28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  • His humanity- people may not understand you but he does. ”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.“‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭15‬ ‭ESV‬‬ ask any religious leader “have you always obeyed what you thought was right?” The answer would be no. But Jesus was sinless. Because of that he could live and give his life for us. 

Application- are we a people who are willing to take on servanthood? Jesus came to serve and die. That’s the model for each one of us. Without the cross there is no glory. For the joy set before him, he scorned it’s shame. 

3. Son of God - 40 times he is called the Son of god. This speaks of his nature and ability to save us. 

”And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."“ - Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

”"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.“ - John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬-‭18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and see the transformation that will happen. Ask any one of us, Jesus has transformed our lives. Jesus frequently referred to God as his father. 

A gift was promised. That a son would be birthed through a virgin. This son was the son of David. He was the son of man and he is the son of god. He has come to offer salvation to all people. Our responsibility is to proclaim the gospel. 

This Christmas season, what are we celebrating? We are celebrating the birth of Jesus who came to save us. Whenever I die, I will be with Jesus forever! 

What do we need to get hold of this morning? Let’s reflect

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Friday, December 8, 2023

Prisoners of Hope - Part 2


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on December 3rd 2023  by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

The Sign, the Son, the Saviour

Have you ever heard of unusual births?

I read about Octomom who delivered 8 babies. Most people ask how tall the baby is, the weight of the baby, etc. But if you consider the age of the mother, the oldest mother that gave birth to a baby in recent times is 70 years old. The most unusual birth ever is the birth of Jesus. During Christmas time, we can treat the extraordinary and supernatural as ordinary. We lose the marvel of what Christmas is about.

Thirty years ago, there was no WhatsApp and messaging. All of us used to write letters. We take things like communication for granted. Let us take time to linger and read the scriptures.

Matthew 1:18-This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 

Mary and Joseph were engaged. In those days, if anyone wanted to cancel the engagement, they were supposed to get divorced. After Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he did not want to disgrace her. He thought of divorcing her quietly.

Matthew 1:20-23 - 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

Matthew was quoting the verse from the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f] 

Luke 1:11 - 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 

The 400 years of silence were broken when the angel Gabriel spoke to Zechariah.

Luke 1:26-38

This passage is an amazing account of Mary.

The sign that was mentioned in the book of Isaiah was “born of a Virgin.”

Why was this sign given? In those days, many people claimed to be God. Hence, a sign was given.

Many people may wonder why Mary was chosen.

Mary was not like she was better than others. It is only because of the grace and favour of God.

Luke 1:35 - 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God.

God’s Spirit came upon Mary, and she conceived. We may think how blessed Mary was. But it was different for Mary.

In Roman Catholicism, there is something called as immaculate conception. Which means Mary was kept sinless from birth to conceive Jesus. But this is not true. We will understand it from verse 46.

Luke 1:46-47 - 46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Mary calls out God as Saviour. If Mary was sinless, she wouldn’t need a Saviour. Jewish people have been waiting for centuries for Jesus. Some of you may be waiting for something to happen. Nothing is impossible to God.

Luke1:37 - 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:35 - 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God.

Mary was a virgin, but the Holy Spirit came upon Mary. The power of God came upon her.

When we have impossible situations, as we wait in God’s presence, God comes through. The impossible becomes possible.

This Christmas we are going to celebrate a miracle - The supernatural conception of Jesus.

The birth of Jesus was natural, but the conception was supernatural.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Let us meditate on the above verses as we are in this Christmas season.

Will continue the sermon next week.

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Prisoners of Hope - Part 1

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on November 26th 2023  by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

Prisoners of Hope - Zechariah

Reporter at an event - interviews all the witnesses to understand the event. There has been no greater event in the history of mankind than the miraculous birth of Jesus.  Looking back we can say that this was a turning point in history, but in reality, it was the darkest of times and as Isaiah prophesied in Is 9: 2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” They were like prisoners who had but a glimpse of hope that they would see the light again. Zechariah, prophesying about the coming messiah, calls them in Zech 9:12 “Prisoners of Hope”. So this Christmas season we will be doing a series called Prisoners of Hope looking at the lives of some key people who were witnesses to the birth of Jesus.

While the other gospels start with the birth of Jesus or the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke takes a step back and starts with the origin story of John the Baptist - the very first witness in the story of the birth of Jesus. 

Luke 1: 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

The story is rooted in history, during the reign of Herod, who was a puppet king of the Roman empire,  Zechariah was a priest married to Elizabeth. They were considered righteous before God and walked blamelessly - they were faithful to all that was commanded in the scriptures. But they were childless. Faithful yet unfruitful. 

Now Zechariah and Elizabeth lived in a time when the voice of God was silent for over 400 years after the prophet Malachi - it was a time of toxic religion when barrenness would have been attributed to sin. Imagine what this would have done to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Even when they were misunderstood and perhaps despised, they remained faithful. In the middle of it all they lived righteous lives. They probably waited for a long time with eager expectation that God would bless them with a child, but now it’s too late. Through the life of Zechariah lets learn about the God of hope - When hope is heavy, when hope is hurting and when hope is lost, how can we continue to be prisoners of hope? 

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 

This was significant in the life of Zechariah because a Priest would only get to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense once in a lifetime. There were so many of them to serve at the temple that by the time it was your turn again you were most likely dead. Isn't it strange that when it comes to serving in the church today we think of it as a burden rather than a privilege? A lot of this priestly serving in the temple looked very practical - washing vessels, cleaning the altar, sprinkling the blood, etc. Today it may look like serving on sound, putting up curtains, cleaning the bathrooms, but it is still serving the house of God. Now that Jesus made a way for us to enter his presence day or night, because he has become more accessible, let us not assume that he has become common. Everything we use in the context of service to God, becomes set apart. 

AP: Let us reflect on how we view serving here at Word of Grace. Do we see it as an honourable task to the King of Kings or do we think of it as “Oh I will help out when I can” or “ I am helping these people out” 

It is in the course of this service that Zechariah has a supernatural encounter! 

  1. The Sting of Hope: 

11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Hope feels very good when we first receive it. When a prophetic word is spoken over you, when you have a dream or a promise from God, it is exciting! But as you keep holding on to it, it starts to sting a little. Pro 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick”. It is not likely that Zechariah was praying for a child when he was burning incense. He must have prayed for it in his 20s, and 30s, he would have really prayed hard in their 40s, it’s the last hope. But now, he’s beyond the point of hope. Have you had promises in your life that have become like that? 

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 

Hope stings when we give more weightage to our disqualifications over God's qualifications. Zechariah doesn’t realise that the prophetic word that is being spoken over his child is the fulfilment of the very last words of the OT. Malachi 4:5-6 “5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” 

But Zechariah was too despondent to hear that. His heart was sick. He forgot the promises of God - he forgot about Abraham and Sarah, about Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, he forgot that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was also His God, he is also our God. But hope was not lost because the name Zechariah means God remembers. 

  1. The Silence of Hope

19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news (gospel). 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple.22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived. 

When we struggle to believe God, sometimes it's just better to be silent. But Silence is a place of reflection, of waiting on God. Zechariah was mute, but he could still do something. He definitely had something to do with Elizabeth’s pregnancy, he must have been helping Lizzie around the house, taking care of her, he probably started pondering the words of the promise in his heart, remembers the promises of old - Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Hannah, remembers the promises of the coming Elijah, the coming messiah and his heart probably started becoming well again in that silence. Even though it looked like a punishment for unbelief, this silence must have served Zechariah well. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus practising this as well- where he would withdraw from the public and go off by himself. 

AP: If you’ve been just going through the motions and finding it difficult to believe the promises of God, can I encourage you to find time to meditate on the word of God in silence? 

But I think there would've also been frustration. Mary, after receiving the good news from Gabriel, comes to visit Elizabeth. Then Elizabeth blesses Mary, Mary sings a song of praise… while the women are doing all this, imagine Zechariah, quietly in a corner, unable to speak, unable to give thanks to God for this miracle, unable to share the good news of the coming Messiah! 

Today, we too have good news that is preached to us, we know the messiah has come, we know that we are saved by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, and we have the words of eternal life and yet we choose to be mute. There is no angel from heaven that has caused that but we can become prisoners of our choices. It’s not that God’s promises are hindered, but our enjoyment of it can be. 

AP: This Christmas season, can we be more intentional to be vocal about the good news of Jesus Christ? Invite your friends and neighbours to the Christmas carol evenings, lets share the good news that we have been so privileged to receive.     

  1. The Song of Hope

Elizabeth delivers a child. On the 8th day, he is circumcised when he is to be named. This is when all the neighbours and relatives poke their noses and ask, what's his name? Elizabeth says, John. But they say, no one in your family is called that… i.e. it is weird. So they say, what does she know? Let us ask Zechariah. He writes it out on a tablet and says, his name is John. The minute this happens, he can speak again and he starts praising God! 

Luke 1: 67-79 - “And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

This is a completely different man from the one who encountered the angel Gabriel. This is a man whose hope has been revived!  He is not simply thanking God for giving him a son, he is filled with hope for all the promises of God. he is speaking into the future! He is remembering the promises of God right from the time of Abraham and he is releasing a blessing upon his son and upon all God's people. The song of Hope, reminds us of God's promises, revives our soul and restores our faith. We need songs of hope- we need to take hold of the promises of God, and push it forward. 

Zechariah - a prophetic picture of the nation of Israel 

Like Zechariah, the nation of Israel was waiting for the coming messiah for so long that when he appeared, their hearts were too hardened and hopeless to receive him. In fact till date there are so many of them who are unable to believe the good news of the messiah because they are carrying the sting of hope. 

Just as God was silent for 400 years until the things that he promised came to be, Zechariah was silent until the birth and naming of his son. But this silence did not mean that God was not doing anything. He was birthing the promises (over 300 prophecies of the OT came to pass in Jesus - in the fullness of time), he was working in the waiting. 

As Zechariah spoke and gave hope to people, Jesus the word himself became flesh and the living hope to all mankind. He is the inexhaustible supply of songs of hope. 

Today as we have surveyed the life of Zechariah, let us take a moment to reflect on our own hearts and our hope. Are you suffering with the sting of hope that has hardened a part of your heart? Have you silenced your hope because of the fear of rejection, or doubt? Do you have some songs of hope to release that you are unsure about? 

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.