Yesterday I left you with a scripture to ponder. It is from Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse. The new believers in this ancient city asked many of the same questions we ask today. “Who is Jesus?” topped the list for many people and there were no shortage of answers. False teachers mixed elements of astrology, magic and Judaism to come up with a Jesus who was merely an angelic being, not the triumphant Son of God. Paul wrote to combat these false ideas and restore pure belief in the deity of Jesus.
. . . Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.Colossians 2:13-15
These verses speak to me of Jesus’ triumph over the powers of darkness. His victory is complete! He made me ALIVE, he FORGAVE ALL MY SINS, he CANCELED the charges against me, taking it away! He DISARMED AND SHAMED the spiritual rulers and authorities when he died on the cross.
I find a great deal of satisfaction in this description of Jesus’ work on the cross. Not only because my sins are forgiven, canceled, gone — but because Jesus put the enemy to shame and publically disgraced him. That might be the human part of me rejoicing in his humiliation.
In ancient times, when a king conquered another nation, he brought the conquered king in front of everyone and to signify his defeat and to shame him. There were different ways this was done, but several are mentioned in scripture. One way was to cut off the conquered king’s thumbs and big toes.
5While at Bezek they encountered King Adoni-bezek and fought against him, and the Canaanites and Perizzites were defeated. 6Adoni-bezek escaped, but the Israelites soon captured him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7Adoni-bezek said, “I once had seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off, eating scraps from under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there.Judges 1:5-7
Another form of disgrace was to line up the conquered kings and put the foot of the conquerer on their neck.
22Then Joshua said, “Remove the rocks covering the opening of the cave, and bring the five kings to me.” 23So they brought the five kings out of the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24When they brought them out, Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on the kings’ necks.” And they did as they were told. 25“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.”Joshua 10:22-25
Jesus died to secure your freedom and he publically disgraced the enemy. This was language these people understood. I believe Jesus says to us what Joshua said to his men that day, “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! Be strong and courageous for the Lord is going to do this to all your enemies!”
What does it mean to you that your debts are canceled? How do you feel knowing your enemy has been disgraced publically?