August 12, 2013
READ: Colossians 2:13-24
[Christ] disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities (v.15).
Hospital chaplain Matt Marino received a call to go to a patient’s room. He expected to find someone gravely ill, fearful or clinging to life. Instead, he was surprised to find a “strikingly attractive 23 year old sitting up cheerfully in the hospital bed, holding her infant daughter and chatting with family and friends.” Confused, Matt quietly asked the nurse why he had been called.
“Oh,” the nurse said, “she looks fabulous, feels great—and wants to go home.” “Then why am I here?” “Because we will be disconnecting her life support in 3 days and you will be doing her funeral in 4.” The young woman’s liver was shutting down, but she wouldn’t admit it.
There’s a moment in Paul’s letter to the Colossians that expresses a similar disconnection. But it’s not as it might appear to be. Paul announced that by Jesus’ brutal, unjust death, He “disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities” and “shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
But wasn’t Jesus disarmed, stripped naked and subjected to ridicule? Wasn’t the cross the shameful place where the Roman Empire made a public spectacle of Jesus, demonstrating their authority?
Not at all. Jesus disarmed the authorities by gathering onto Himself all their violence and injustice. The forces of this world exhausted themselves on Jesus, leaving them disarmed, with nothing left. Furthermore, Jesus made a “public spectacle” (v.15 NIV) of them by revealing on the cross what these powers truly were: incapable of righteousness and incapable of correct judgement.
The cross stripped the powers of their pretentious self-righteousness, and the resurrection asserted Jesus as Lord over all. —Winn Collier
Read Colossians 3:1-4. After the cross, what did the resurrection enact? What does it mean for us today?
What powers of this world need to be disarmed by Jesus? What does it mean for you to know that Jesus’ power is ultimate?