“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
“triumphing over them in it.”
The words “triumphing over” mean to lead prisoners of war in a victory procession. The picture is of a military procession leading captives of war. It means to demonstrate one’s successful conquest of the opposition. A general could lead his captives through the streets of Rome. Behind him, the wretched kings, princes, and people of the defeated nation would follow. They were openly branded as his victims and spoil. This was one of the highest honors a Roman general could achieve. This was a common cultural phenomenon in the Roman period of history.
Certain prerequisites were required for this honor.
This general must have been the chief general in the field of battle.
The campaign must have been completely successful.
A large number of enemy soldiers must have fallen in battle.
He must gain an expansion of territory for the Roman Empire.
Jesus met all these conditions.
He was the commander-in-chief in the field of battle — the cross.
Jesus completely paid for our sins on the cross.
Satan and his emissaries fell in defeat.
He secured salvation and eternal future for those who believe in him.
Jesus led the fallen angels in his victory procession. He leads the way with his victorious cross, “but thanks be to God who always causes us to triumph in union with Christ,” 2 Corinthians 2:14. Jesus vanquished fallen angels and led them in triumph in Colossians 2:15 (display of the defeated); in 2 Corinthians 2:14 those led are not captives exposed to humiliation but displayed as the glory of Him who leads.
On occasion, the general’s sons, with various officers, rode behind his chariot. In this case, the main thought would be to display.
Jesus disarmed the demonic principalities and powers by fulfilling the demands of the law. He delivered the believer from the powers that drive legalism.
Colossians Gnostics believed in cosmic powers with its classes and grades of angels and demons. Matter was an evil kingdom. Paul argues that the cosmic Christ has defeated the enemy. Jesus stripped them of their weapons and made a display of his defeated enemy. Jesus made it evident to the angelic forces that he thwarted the spiritual forces against him.
Jesus gained an immortal victory through his death. The last word, “it,” refers to the cross. The fight was fierce; the combatant died, but in dying, he triumphed (1 Corinthians 15:57). His enemy did not count on his resurrection. Jesus routed the enemy by the resurrection (Romans 8:37; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). The Devil overshot his mark again. The fallen angels thought for sure that Jesus was dead and gone.
Jesus won for us an inestimable and final spiritual victory on the cross over Satan’s forces.
As the curse of the law was against us, so the power of the devil is against us. Jesus disarmed the devil and all his powers by the cross. This was the first gospel preached in the Bible, Genesis 3:15
“And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman [Eve], and between your [Satan] seed and her [Eve] Seed; He [Jesus] shall bruise your [Satan] head, and you [Satan] shall bruise His [Jesus] heel.”
Jesus dealt the devil a mortal blow, whereas Satan only dealt Jesus a non-mortal blow (“heel”). We do not have to defeat an already defeated enemy.