The color green increases our creativity, according to a recent study. When people looked at a green rectangle for two seconds prior to doing a given task, it boosted their creativity, compared to when they looked at other colors such as red or blue. Researchers believe this happened because the color green is linked with growth.
Zechariah’s creativity in today’s reading, on the other hand, was inspired by the Holy Spirit (v. 67). This song demonstrates how far he had come. On the day he entered the Most Holy Place, he had already spent a lifetime in vocational ministry and earned a reputation for godliness (v. 6). Nonetheless, his faith proved too flimsy to rise to the challenge of God’s words spoken through the angel Gabriel. After nine months of doing business with God, Zechariah had clearly grown in his faith and spiritual maturity.
Zechariah’s prophetic song, filled with Old Testament allusions, was the Lord’s answer to the people’s question, “What then is this child going to be?” (v. 66). John was going to be the one who prepared the way for the Messiah, God’s “horn of salvation” and the Light of dawn breaking into this dark world of sin (vv. 69, 76, 79; cf. Isa. 9:2). John would preach repentance and forgiveness. His ministry, like those of the prophets before him, would highlight God’s faithful, covenant-keeping nature, as well as His mercy (vv. 72–78). His life and work would be further evidence of how God acts to love and redeem His people.
Zechariah did speak of his son, but the overall prophecy focused on God’s Son. Zechariah’s family’s stories, like ours, are nested within God’s larger story. Though the occasion was John’s naming day, it is the name of the Lord that was glorified!