And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
To the eye of reason the Cross is the centre of sorrow, the lowest depth of shame; to the Jew a stumbling-block, and to the Greek foolishness. How different, however, to the eye of faith — a token of glory, a field of triumph, the chariot in which Christ rode when He led captivity captive.
I. CHRIST MAKING A SPOIL OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS.
1. The contest. Satan, leagued with sin and death, had made this world the home of woe. He found our first parents in Eden; they became his slaves. Yet the voice of mercy was heard even while the fetters were being rivetted — "Ye shall be free." The earth groaned and travailed in its bondage. In the fulness of time, the Deliverer came forth born of a woman. Then came the Temptation; eventually the Passion; at last the Cross. Hark how the Conqueror cries, "It is finished." Where are now His enemies? All defeated.
2. The division of the spoil.
(1) He disarmed His enemies. Satan had in his hand a sharp sword called the Law. This was wrested from his hand. Death was deprived of his darts, which were broken in two, and the feather end returned that he might never destroy the ransomed. Sin, Satan's armour bearer, was despoiled of his shield.
(2) Victors carry away all the treasures belonging to the vanquished. Satan had taken away all our possessions — Paradise with all its joy and peace — not that he could enjoy them — but Christ has gotten them all back.
(3) Victors take away all the ornaments from the enemy, the crown and jewels. Satan's crown is taken away, his sovereignty is gone. He may tempt, but he cannot compel, threaten but not subdue.
3. What says this to us? If Christ has spoiled Satan, let us not be afraid to encounter him.
(1) If he accuse you, reply, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?"(2) Ii he condemn you, ask, "Who is he that condemneth? "(3) If he threaten to divide you, shout, "I am persuaded," etc.
(4) If he let loose your sins upon you, dash the hell dogs aside with this, "If any man sin," etc.
(5) If death should threaten you, exclaim, "Oh death, where is thy sting?" etc. Your battles shall turn to your advantage. The more numerous they are the greater the spoil. Your tribulation shall work patience, etc.
II. THE TRIUMPH.
1. Most of the old commentators refer this to the resurrection and the ascension; Paul refers it to the Cross, but the Cross as the ground of the ultimate triumph when Christ shall enter on His reign over an undisputed universe.
2. Picture this triumph. The pearly gates open, angels crowd on the battlements.
(1) The vanguard of the redeemed approach the city. Abel comes in alone, and then follow the patriarchs, prophets, heroes, of four thousand years.
(2) The Prince of the House of David, with Satan, sin, and death in eternal captivity.
(3) Then the great mass of His people — fathers, reformers, etc.
(4) I might describe the mighty pictures at the end of the procession, for in the old Roman triumphs the deeds of the conqueror were depicted in paintings, the towns he had taken, the battles he had fought. I might present hell destroyed; heaven's gates opened by the golden lever of Christ's atonement; the grave despoiled. Conclusion: Where will you be? Among the captives or in the Conqueror's train?
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.