In light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the need to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer, the elders, chairman, and Pastor Wagner have released a statement detailing our intent to honor the state and still praise God and receive from Him what He deigns to give us. Read it here.
Current/Upcoming DatesApril 05Palmarum, the Sixth Sunday in LentApril 09Maundy ThursdayApril 10Good FridayApril 12The Resurrection of Our Lord
Sundays, Divine Service, at 10am
Wednesdays in Advent at 7pm
Wednesdays in Lent at 7pm
Sundays at 9am
Adult Bible Study
Wednesdays at 6:30pm A Study of Lutheran Theology (not during Advent or Lent)
First President of the LCMS and it's Grandfather CFW Walther
Here is a list of Pastor Wagner's sermons. Most of them have been preached at Christ Our Savior; however, some of the earlier ones were preached at other locations.
You might notice that some of of the sermons do not have an audio player. These sermons were not recorded. However, all of the sermons do have a link to the manuscript.
The Baptism of Our Lord
The story was told again and again. Children would point to the stones at Gilgal and ask, “What does this mean?” Parents would tell their children the story of how the waters were parted, how the Children of Israel passed through the Jordan, how they finally made it into the land that God had promised to give them—how they had left behind the wilderness and all of it’s hardships and killings and that land of sin and slavery and entered into the land of life and bread and iron and copper. (cf. Deuteronomy 8:9) In short, they Children of Israel passed through the waters from death to life!
So, when I say that the crossing of the Jordan is a type of Baptism, you can see how that works. For you, yourselves has passed over from death to life by way of the waters of the font. Now, this font, and many like it, may never have or may never in the future contain Jordan water, but for your sake, the source of the water isn’t important, and that’s because your Baptism is connected to that of your Savior, Jesus Christ.
It was to the Jordan that Christ the Lord went in order to be Baptized by John. Here’s where things really get interesting. According to John the Evangelist, the location that John was baptizing as Jesus arrived was “in Bethany across the Jordan.” (cf. John 1:28) Where is this? Well, the name has changed slightly, but it’s all there in that phrase from St. John’s Gospel. The place where John was baptizing was at Bethabara, the place of crossing.
It was no coincidence that John was baptizing there with a baptism of repentance, but was chosen deliberately. Remember the stones in and across the river? They served as a reminder of the people of the work of God to bring the people out of bondage. The bondage then was slavery, but as John was baptizing with a baptism of repentance, the bondage he had in mind was to sin.
So, as it happened, before Jesus arrived, John spoke to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were coming to his baptism.
You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father,” for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10)
God’s wrath is coming, and it is inescapable. If there would be anyone guilty of not repenting of sin, it would be the Pharisees and Sadducees, who thought themselves sinless, though I’m sure at times you might include yourself in that group. Remember, it was of them that Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 15:31-32) So, John’s message was as much for them as it was for everyone who came to him at Bethany across the Jordan. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. What greater place than this, where the bonds of slavery were removed from the Children of Israel and they crossed from death into life?”
And what about “these stones.” It’s fascinating that that phrase is used both in Joshua and Matthew—these stones. That might be an indication that John was using either the monument at Gilgal or the twelve stones in the Jordan to make his point to the Pharisees and Sadducees. “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” The prospect of that is exciting, if you ask me. John points to a set of twelve stones, a reminder of God’s providence and mightiness, and tells them God can make from them His own children.
Anyway, to this spot—this spot from Joshua 3 and 4—Jesus, whose name in Hebrew is Joshua, arrives to be baptized, in order for He and John to fulfill all righteousness. Down into this spot in the River Jordan the two men descend, the place where the Children of Israel passed through on dry land, and place where, for all rights, had they done so without divine providence, they should have all drowned and died, and Jesus takes that death for them, and comes out of the water as their very life. But, He comes out of the water as your very life, too.
Remember that I said that your baptism is connected to His. In every step of Jesus’ life, He was fulfilling the Law and all righteousness for you, and that includes His baptism. He and John go down into the River Jordan at the place of crossing for you. He did it with you in mind and carrying you in His own flesh and blood, only to come out of the water to the words thundering from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” So, if you are there with Him, by way of your own baptism into His death and resurrection, then those words are as much speaking of you as they are of Him.
So, while you may have been baptized in this font or one quite like it, with water poured from this or another tap, with Christ you have been baptized in the River Jordan at the place of crossing. Your baptism is connected to His by way of His word and command—for it is the Word of God which makes this washing the sacred thing that it is—Jesus entered the Jordan for and with you, and tells you to be baptized in His name for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. And it is because of the command and Word of Christ that Luther included this sentence in his flood prayer: “Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin.”
Because Jesus was baptized for you, your baptism now grants you everything that His perfect life, death, and resurrection earned. So, by way of your baptism, God reached down and turned your dead heart of stone into a living heart of faith and life and the Voice from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” At this font or one like it, you passed through the River Jordan on dry ground, passing from your bondage to sin the freedom in Christ, from the death of the wrath of God to life everlasting for the sake of Christ. For, just as with the Children of Israel, without divine providence, you should be drowned and die yourself with your sin and all evil desire, but God has instituted baptism for a saving flood for you for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Once you were enemies of God, but in Christ you have been reconciled. Once, you lived on the east side of the Jordan, lost in sin and death, but in Christ, you have been crossed over to freedom and life. And while it is so easy to plunge back into death and enmity—to succumb to one sin or another, to lose yourself in one vice or another—remember this, you are still covered in the blood of the Lamb, the one that John pointed to at Bethany across the Jordan, and proclaimed him to be the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
You are one of those stones that John pointed to and said, “God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” The Sunday School kids get it right: “Father Abraham had many sons; many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you, so let’s all praise the Lord!” So, if you ever find yourself at Gilgal or Bethany across the Jordan, find that pile of stones, and see in them the Lord’s promise to you. Remember that you were brought through water to the Promised Land of peace with God and salvation. You have been taken out of death to life for the sake of Jesus Christ. The Father has said of you, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus Christ was baptized there at Bethany across the Jordan for you and with you—into this you have been baptized, and you are forgiven for all of your sins.
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
First, the flesh and blood of the Word of God is the same flesh and blood as yours. Assumed in the womb of the virgin Mary, the Word became flesh and dwelt among man. God gave Himself as His own creation to mankind in order to walk with them, talk to them and teach them, eat with them—kind of like what He did long ago, at many times and in various ways. But Jesus also healed them and forgave them. And He charged His church to continue giving Him to His people in Word and Sacrament.
So, the people continue to hear and receive the Word of God as He is proclaimed to them—without the visions and the wrestling matches and the burning bushes and dinners. None of those other things happen with any regularity or as a matter of new revelation—so, if they happen, they cannot be discounted out of hand, but must always be measured against the Scripture. Well, maybe the dinners still count with some regularity, in a manner of speaking.
You see, in the second place, the Word of God is still become flesh for you. In the simple means of bread and wine, the Word of God comes to you in flesh and blood, giving Himself for you for your forgiveness, life, and salvation. Up there on the altar, the Word of God makes these means what they are for you, because He still dwells among you in order to walk with you, talk to you and teach you, and, yes, even eat with you. He gives Himself to you to make you His own. That is His glory, which He reveals to you.
It was revealed on the cross, a most inglorious death, but by His death on the cross, He shed His blood and gave His body over to death in order that you would be forgiven for all of your sins, won back from death to life, and saved from this body of sin. In that, the Father and Son glory, for it is their victory over sin, death, and the devil—their enemies, and yours.
So, that you may continue in this, the Word of God, He continues to come to you in Word and Sacrament. There is no need to look for the visions, burning bushes, wrestling matches, dinners, or any other such thing for God to interact with you. He doesn’t promise to come to you that way. But He does promise to come to you in His Word proclaimed to you—flesh and blood comes to you in order to teach and heal and forgive and renew and restore. He does promise to come to you in Sacrament, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper—flesh and blood comes to you in order to teach and heal and forgive and renew and restore.
He gives to you all that you need for your forgiveness, life, and salvation. The Word became flesh and dwells among you. God lived and died for you. God rose again and ascended for you. God continues to give Himself to you and be with you, flesh-and-blood, so that when He returns, He will take you to be where He is for eternity. The Word became flesh, and you have seen His glory, full of grace and truth, and the truth is that you are forgiven for all of your sins.
Tutankhamun—affectionately known today as King Tut—was a boy king. He became Pharaoh at eight or nine years of age and ruled until his death at the young age of 18.
Mary Stuart was six days old when she assumed the throne of her father, James V, to become Mary I of Scotland. You might know her better as Mary, Queen of Scots. Regents ruled Scotland in her stead while she was young and lived in France. Interestingly, her father was 17 months old when he became king, and her son was 13 months old when he became king. Ruling young seems to run in the Stuart family.
Henry VI became king of England when he was eight months old. On top of that, he became king of France when he was 10 months old. His reign over France didn’t last long, though, as Joan of Arc was a force in taking the country back from England.
Ivan VI became Tsar of Russian at two months old. His rule lasted all of a year before he was deposed and kept in solitary confinement in one fortress after another for over 20 years. When he was 23, he was murdered by one of his prison guards.
John I became king of France on the day he was born! He died five days later, though. It is thought that his regent, Philip, who was also his uncle, poisoned him. It was Philip who assumed the throne on the death of John.
Not to be outdone, according to legend, Shapur II became Shah of the Sassanid Empire (think modern-day Iran) while still in utero! The legend states that Persian nobles put a crown on the belly of King Hormizd’s widow, and so was the first (and only, as far as I know), coronation of a fetal king. How they knew he was a he is beyond me, so I wonder if they would have called him something other than Shah had he been born a girl or if the coronation would have been declared illegitimate. I’m sure you could work some pro-life argument into this legend, too. Nevertheless, Shapur II is considered a successful ruler, having done so for 70 years!
More recently, Oyo was crowned king of the Toro Kingdom in Uganda. That happened 24 years ago, and he was three years old at the time. At 27, he still rules the Toro Kingdom, though his reign is more as a cultural icon than an actual head of state.
So, it’s not unusual that a child would be made king or queen. Such a monarch was surrounded by regents who would perform the duties of the king or queen in his or her name until such a time that the monarch was old enough to assume those duties him- or herself. Their age and vulnerability would also have made them easy targets of those who sought to usurp the throne, such as (possibly) in the case of John I of France. History is filled with young kings and queens, some of whom were even crowned as infants.
That said, there is only one case in history where a King became an infant. In all of those cases where an infant became a king, it was done so in order to rule and reign, either as the puppet of another or to preserve the dynastic line. There really is no other reason to crown an infant. But, in the case of the King who became an infant, that was done in order to save.
The angel said to Joseph,
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
The Son of God left His throne in heaven and took on the flesh of His creation. He was conceived in a virgin’s womb and born. Wrapped in swaddling cloths, nestled in the arms of Mary was the King of the Universe. Joseph would do as the angel commanded him; eight days after He was born, this Infant gets a foretaste of another coronation that He would undergo as He is circumcised and given the name Jesus, “[F]or he will save his people from their sins.”
Mind you, dear hearers, that this is no simple or ordinary abdication, though. In fact, this is no abdication at all. When you hear that Jesus left His throne in heaven, even as you might sing in some Christmas songs, an abdication is not at all what is meant. What is meant is what St. Paul described in his letter to the Philippians: “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
And so you have that wonderful hymn, found in Lutheran Service Book, number 539—Christ is the World’s Redeemer. The third stanza in very brief fashion describes the work that Jesus did from His crucifixion on: “Down through the realm of darkness / He strode in victory, / And at the hour appointed / He rose triumphantly / And now, to heav’n ascended, / He sits upon the throne / Whence He had ne’er departed, / His Father’s and His own.” (emphasis mine) From there, He lives and reigns to all eternity; His kingdom is everlasting—very much unlike the reign of any and all of those infants who became monarch.
It is well that He didn’t leave His throne in the sense that He abdicated it. Had that been the case, then He wouldn’t have been the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” Immanuel—“God with us”—would be a lie. When a king abdicates his throne, he is no longer king; if the Son of God would have abdicated His throne to become Man, He would no longer be God, so He would not have been “God with us.”
Were He not “God with us,” then He wouldn’t be your Redeemer. Only God can redeem you from your sin. Only man can shed his blood as propitiation. Only “God with us” could do both! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is your Propitiation, for He took on flesh and blood like yours in order to shed that blood on the cross and give that flesh over to death in order to save you from death; He is, therefore, your Redeemer, who bought you back from death to life with His own precious, holy blood the price.
But the Son of God did leave His throne, in the sense that St. Paul wrote. He did not come as Infant in order to rule with a mighty arm. The rod of iron is in His hand for those who reject Him, as the Psalmist wrote. (cf. Psalm 2:9) But this King sets aside His throne to come in grace and with favor for man, to serve man with Salvation, and to do so by way of His death, resurrection, and ascension.
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:10-11, 14)
He now rules from that throne as your most gracious King, ordering all things for your benefit, edification, and salvation.
And this King has regents, too. This is not in the sense of the regents of those infant kings, but in the sense that He has given authority to certain men on earth to forgive sins in His stead, proclaim salvation on His order, and distribute His treasure, His recompense, His reward, the great mysteries of the Sacraments, as He has directed. These regents, then, are stewards of the promises of God, pastors as you know it.
Therefore, in the stead and by the command of the King who became Infant, I joyfully proclaim to you that the Son of God is your Redeemer. The infant in Mary’s arms, Jesus is your Salvation. He is your Propitiation. He has come for you, and so you are forgiven for all of your sins.
What you heard from the Apocalypse this evening is the epilogue of the book. After granting the Apostle the beatific vision of the end of creation, with the signs in the sun and moon and stars and trees, the creatures with multiple eyes and heads and wings and horns—enough to drive any man mad—the angel tells him, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
Then Jesus tells him, “And behold, I am coming soon.” μαράνα θά!
What John was privileged to see and relate to the church was enough to drive men mad. To see creation being burned up, the sun and moon destroyed, the various beasts and creatures, and to hear the martyrs under the throne would be quite frightening. But not so for one such as John; not so for those who bear the image of Christ as John did.
Even today, to see what goes on beyond these walls, out in this world where the devil is allowed to reign for a time, it can be a frighteningly maddening sight—even more so when that which is perpetrated is directed squarely at the Bride of Christ or the individual Christian. Mockery and hatred and persecution and death—these are your lot in this Vale of Tears for bearing the image of Christ. What does the angel say about this? “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy…”
This can be your mantra, too, dear hearers. While you face evil and hardship from all sides outside of this refuge (and perhaps even in it, as this place is still a location in this fallen world), you, too, can say, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy.” Dear Dr. Luther wrote as much in his quintessential Reformation hymn: “And take they our life, / Goods, fame, child and wife, / Let these all be gone, / They yet have nothing won; / The Kingdom our remaineth.” Let the evildoers do their worst, they cannot rob you of your salvation!
Scripture is full of such exhortation for you. Jesus said, “[D]o not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28a) Both Peter and Jude warn of the coming scoffers in the last day, but that they are nothing to fear. Even Paul lets his listeners know that there will be evildoers to watch out for. Watch and be warned, they all say, because they are out to get you. But, do not fear them for what they can do to your body, but do not let them steal you of your salvation—do not let them drag out of the Church, do not let them cause you to doubt the faith that you have been given in Christ. Let them do their worst, but watch out for their schemes and games.
Knowing that they’re out there, knowing that they mean to cause you harm, spiritual harm, at the devil’s guidance, you should all the more desire the imminent return of Christ. After all, when He returns, those who do this evil will meet their end, and you will no longer have to concern yourself with them. So, the prayer becomes urgent as a result of the terror and evil all around. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Come now, O Lord! μαράνα θά!
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and the murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” There it is! Those who have washed their robes have a right to the tree of life. The evildoers and filthy are on the outside; they do not have that access that those who are clean do. You know it from another passage from Revelation. Upon seeing a great, white host, an elder asked John, “Who are these?” “Sir, you know,” he replied. “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14) It’s nothing other than the blood of Jesus which makes them pure, which grants them access to the tree of life. Those who are not purified by Christ are on the outside. The difference? Well, Jesus shed his blood on the cross for all; those on the outside refused the offer. In other words, if you’re saved, it’s all Jesus’ doing, but if your damned, it’s all your doing.
So, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” As Dr. Louis Brighton wrote,
Christ calls it my reward, not their reward; it is the reward which Christ himself earned, and which he freely gives to all believers by grace. The “reward” itself is the gift of eternal life in God’s holy presence, earned for God’s people by the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God. This “reward” is represented by the tree of life.
The reward is Christ’s, not yours. He’s the one who earned it. He’s the one who merited it. He’s the one who has done all the work in order to be rewarded—in order to be given a recompense. It is His! And what does He do with it? He gives it freely to you. To you, whom He has purified by His blood, given faith to believe and trust in Him for salvation, who take Him at His Word, He gives His reward: eternal life with Him in paradise, a place at His victory banquet, to be one among that great, white host who have come out of the tribulation.
μαράνα θά! Jesus said, “And behold, I am coming soon.” He gives you a picture of what His coming again is going to look like. It’s a frightening picture, but the outcome is a glorious one for the one who bears the image of Christ. “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book,” Jesus said. The one who keeps these words are the one who is kept in the Word, who bears the image of Christ. Therefore, the one who keeps the words of this prophecy is you, dear Baptized, one who is forgiven for all of your sins. Therefore, the one who keeps the words of this prophecy is the one who hears Jesus say, “Behold, I am coming soon,” and replies, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus,” “Come now, O Lord!
In the Second Reading for tonight, a woman is pregnant and giving birth. In the text, John described the woman almost like a princess: she is adorned with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown on her head. This woman gave birth to a male child who would rule all nations with a rod of iron. This rod of iron hearkens to a Messianic prophecy in the Psalms:
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:6-9)
This prophecy is confirmed to have been fulfilled in Jesus the Christ as Gabriel spoke to Mary,
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
St. John continued with the sign of the red dragon. This dragon makes himself out to look almost like the Lamb of God as described in Revelation 5. There, the Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes to signify that Christ is all-seeing and all-knowing. The dragon would use his seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns to make the deceptive claim that he and not the Christ is the all-knowing master and ruler of the earth. This dragon awaits the birth of the woman’s male child in order to devour it and prevent the salvation of the world. However, he didn’t succeed, as the child was caught up to God and His throne; more on that in a bit.
This very much sounds like Mary and Jesus, and much of Jesus’ life, death, and victory over the devil all wrapped up in a mere 6 verses. John seems to be giving—seems to have been given—a recap of events he knew of and even witnessed in many cases, being one of Jesus’ disciples, but in a metaphorical sense common to visions, where there is an air of reality, but also much symbolism. That is the case here, the woman is Mary, the male child Jesus, and the red dragon the devil.
Even the child being caught up to God and His throne fits into interpretation. That sounds very much like Jesus’ ascension. Dr. Louis Brighton, the now-sainted seminary professor and Revelation scholar, asserts however that,
[T]he incarnation and the entire ministry, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ are compressed into the words “snatched up to God.” “The Seer shortens the Gospel history.” John’s purpose is to emphasize the final outcome of Christ’s incarnation and passion and resurrection, that is, the dragon’s failure to destroy the Child and the victory of the Christ over the enemies of God’s people.
So, it is the ascension of Christ, and so much more. And this “snatched up to God” phrase, as Dr. Brighton translated it, back-fills the rest of the pericope and makes is so much more than Mary and Jesus; more on that in a bit.
From there, the 12th chapter moves on the the War in Heaven, whereby Michael and his angels cast out the dragon and his angels from the counsel of God; he now prowls on earth defeated and with great fury, because he knows his time is short. (cf. Revelation 12:7-12) Yet again, John relates how being “snatched up to God” is the victory of the Christ over the dragon, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan.” The devil knows his time is short because he is defeated by the blood of the Lamb, the real Lamb of God.
The woman fled into the wilderness for 1260 days. 1260 days is 42 months, which is 3 and a half years. This number signifies a time of tribulation. It is likely based on the time that Antiochus IV Epiphanes terrorized Jerusalem from 167 to 164BC—roughly 3 and a half years. Elsewhere, this period is noted as “a time, times, and half a time;” though not a specific length of time, but 1260 days isn’t supposed to be specific, either. It is a time of tribulation. Here, the male Child is “snatched up to God,” and Mary endures a tribulation…
But, as I said, the “snatching up to God” back-fills this text to make it mean something more than this. You see, Jesus didn’t just come from Mary; He came from the whole people of Israel. That is to say, that Jesus is Israel reduced to one and that He came from from the Jews. The genealogies in the Gospels would indicate as much, for one thing. Jesus is a Jew of Jews, a Hebrew of Hebrews, come from a long line of Hebrews and Jews, and even a member of the royal line!
Therefore, the woman adorned like a princess, with the crown and stars would indicate that she is God’s crown jewel, His pride and prized possession. You might know it better as the Chosen Nation. They were the least among the nations, a nation of slaves who had to be rescued from that slavery by divine intervention, but that divine intervention is also their chosen-ness. God chose Israel out of all of the other nations precisely because they were the least of the nations—God has a way of working His will to His glory through the least and weakest among mankind, and even in the weakest of mankind’s moments. Remember, victory over death, hell, and the devil was won by the death of God on the cross, a most ignominious death!
The woman, then, is the Chosen Nation of Israel. The twelve stars are the twelve tribes. From this nation came salvation, as God was incarnate of one of her members, a member of the tribe of Judah. God comes to earth—to man—as a child, the least of all people, a member of the Chosen Nation, the least of all nations, and saves by dying on the cross, the least of all deaths.
And the child was caught up to God and His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness for 1260 days.
But, let me back up again. The “snatching up to God” continues to back-fill this text and make it mean something more. Yes, the male child is Jesus. Yes, the woman is Mary. Yes, the woman is Israel. The woman is also the Church. The Church is the crown jewel of God, His prized possession, or so writes St. Paul: “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) Jesus may have come from the Jews, but He came for all of mankind!
Christ has come, died, rose, and ascended and His Word is spread throughout all the world. The death of Christ is proclaimed to a world in need for the forgiveness of sins, because the world is very evil, and you have a part in that! Word of Him spread by the Apostles, now making those twelve stars in the woman’s crown the 12 Apostles. The Church, Old Testament and New Testament, is bound up in the woman from whom and for whom the male Child came.
So, Christ has been “snatched up to God” and His throne. Jesus sits on the throne in heaven. The woman—the Church—is fled into the wilderness for 1260 days. Remember, that number is indicative of a time of tribulation. Jesus’ visible presence is removed from the Church, but His physical and manifest presence is not. The Church is in a time of tribulation, the 1260 days between Christ’s ascension and return. Notice, though, that while the church is in the wilderness—in this realm of sin—that God continues to nourish Her there because He has prepared a place for Her there.
Dear hearers, this is that place—well, this is one of many such places. Here, you find refuge as you live in this wilderness of sin, a place of solace, comfort, and peace, because the male Child, Jesus the Christ, was “snatched up to God.” Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again—and all of this for you. And because Christ is for you, you are forgiven for all of your sins.