I have been reading through Colossians and, as frequently happens, a passage jumped out at me and captured my interest.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. 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. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. – Colossians 2:13-15 NIV
We see Jesus crucifixion clearly pictured in each of the gospels, and referred to throughout the epistles. As Christians we look to it for our salvation and celebrate it, along with his resurrection, at Easter. The cross has become one of the primary symbols that represents Christianity. But while we look primarily on the physical side of the cross, because that is what we can best see and understand, this passage paints a view from the other side, the spiritual world.
The powers and authorities in this passage refer to spiritual rulers, and usually refer to those in opposition to God. And they had a legal charge of indebtedness drawn up against us. We had sinned, rebelling against God, and his enemies had claimed ownership of us.
But God took that legal document that condemned us, and nailed it to the cross alongside Jesus. And doing so accomplished two things. Our sins were forgiven, making us alive in Christ. And the powers and authorities bringing charges against us were disarmed. They had lost the weapon they had to use against us, and were left with nothing.
This was apparently a quite an unexpected turn of events for these powers and authorities and they were left in a state of humiliation. You can picture them celebrating Jesus death and their victory over him, when defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory; their victory cheers turning into wails of anguish. God has taken their crowning moment, the cross, and turned it into triumph over them.