Surprisingly this is not a difficult chapter to decipher. Think about Jesus, and Mary, and the church, and the historical accounts that took place in Scripture. We have a woman who is about to give birth and a dragon that is waiting for her to give birth so that he can devour her child. The child is born and is swept away from the dragon and taken to God and his throne and the woman flees, away from the dragon.
In Luke’s account we have a virgin Mary who gives birth. You can imagine the birth pangs that were involved for her. You have Herod who is waiting anxiously for the wise men to report back to tell him where this newborn Jesus is so that he can swoop in and take him out. Jesus is born, a male child who holds the keys to heaven and hell, and he and his family immediately set off for Egypt as refugees to run away from a dangerous regime. Herod misses his opportunity and orders the slaughter of the innocents out of desperation. Find a painting below which depicts that slaughter. Reubens is amazing, but almost too realistic.
The people of John’s community are certainly feeling like those who were being led to the slaughter. They needed to hear that while the dragon may be angry and he may be making war on the rest of humanity, he will not win. We probably need to hear the same thing as well. We will win simply because God is on our side.