“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
“He made a public spectacle of them”
Jesus exposed the principalities and powers in a way a victor displays his captives or trophies in a triumphal procession. “Made a public spectacle of” means to cause someone to suffer public disgrace or shame– “to disgrace in public, to put to shame.” The book of Hebrews uses this word of putting Jesus to public shame (He 6:6). We disgrace Jesus in public when we do an end-run around the cross.
Matthew 1:19 uses this word of Joseph’s unwillingness to put Mary on public display because she was pregnant before marriage. Cyprian law used this word for an adulteress who had to cut her hair and subjected to contempt by the community. It connotes the idea of mock, expose.
“Spectacle” is an idiom = literally “in boldness;” in an evident or publicly known manner–”publicly, in an evident manner, well known.” Jesus publicly disgraced evil powers by bearing away sin. Sin was their claim on man.
Jesus openly branded them as his victims and spoil. He displayed the losers for what they were–failures in the economy of God.
Our Lord personally defeated demons publicly on the cross.
Many Christians worry unnecessarily about demons. They believe that demons have some mysterious power that they can use to shipwreck the Christian life. They think that they are at the mercy and whim of demonic powers. This passage says that Jesus openly branded demons as victims of the cross. In principle, the cross has already defeated them,
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).