“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15
I hope you still marvel at the overwhelming and lavished love of God that He would offer up the life of His beloved Son in order to purchase your redemption and forgiveness at the cross. As our brother Paul wrote, “He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13b-14). As someone who has come to understand even some of the weight of my former sinfulness and indebtedness, I am eternally grateful for this gift!
And yet, Paul went on in his explanation of God’s great purpose for the cross and the wonder of what our Master accomplished there. He turned his focus from the defeat of our sin to the defeat of the spiritual powers that have long held the world in bondage and oppression. Notice that Jesus did three things to “the powers and authorities” when He submitted to death on the cross of Calvary: He stripped them, He publicly humiliated them, and He utterly defeated them. Ironically, each of these is what the Romans did to Jesus as they crucified Him!
When Romans crucified people, they stripped them of all covering and all defense. Any armor, weaponry, and even clothing was stripped off so that the criminal/victim was powerless against their liturgy of torture and death. (I’m sure you recall that soldiers were gambling for Jesus’ clothes as He hung to die.) What was unrecognized and unexpected at the time of Jesus’ stripping, however, was the stripping of armor and weaponry going on in the spiritual realm. Jesus, as He died on the cross, stole away the effectiveness of the armor and weaponry of the dark spiritual powers!
This means that as He sends His servants into the world to drive back those powers and expand the kingdom of the true King, it is an unfair fight. We go clad in the divine armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and wielding divine weapons of war in both hands (Ephesians 6:17 and 2 Corinthians 6:7). Our spiritual enemies have been stripped of their armor and weapons and must give way to our onslaught.
It was with absolute confidence that Jesus declared that the gates of Hades (the realm of death) would not withstand the attack of the assembly He would build (Matthew 16:18), and surely this is why. When Jesus came, anointed by the Father and filled with the power of the Spirit, He did what He described in Luke 11:22: “But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him [the strong man], he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.” Let’s join in the joyous plundering of the Enemy’s house, Disciple! Let’s press on in this fight that is so tremendously stacked in our Master’s favor. The greatest work of victory has already been accomplished at the cross, now let us live every day to bring in its harvest.
Waging war on a stripped foe with you,