Monday Colossians: Triumphing Over Them in Him (v. 2:15)

[15] He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15 ESV)

Back in Chapter 1 of this book, Paul gave us some valuable insight into his ministry in verses 28 and 29:

[28] Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. [29] For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. 

Because we know his aim, we should, therefore, pay very close attention to what he is telling us.  After all, his is striving that we all be presented “mature in Christ.”  We had, hopefully, this in mind as we dove into chapter two and reached this section of Scripture:

[9] For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, [10] and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. [11] In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, [12] having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. [13] And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, [14] by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. [15] He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:9-15 ESV)

This is an amazing passage of Scripture and over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at this section a verse at a time so that we can ponder it a bite at a time.  Today, we are up to the last verse in the section, verse 15.  Let’s take a look at this verse again:

[15] He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Here, we see three things happening:

  • [15] “He disarmed the rulers and authorities…”
  • [15] “…and put them to open shame…”
  • [15] “…by triumphing over them.”

In particular, there are two things that should catch our eye here:

  • This verse is referring to a military-type of victory won by Jesus and at first it may not be apparent where Jesus accomplishes this; and
  • The verb tense here — i.e. “disarmed” — appears to be past-tense indicating this has already been done.

So, given these two observations, what is actually going on here?  The simple message is this:  this passage refers to the complete and total victory that is in Jesus Christ.  The battles may not be over that we will face, but the the final victory is won and it is won in Jesus Christ.  His victory ensures that “rulers and authorities” are “disarmed.”  And He has triumphed — already triumphed — over these “rulers and authorities” and “put them to open shame.”

Philippians 2:9-11 reminds us of this total and complete victory that Jesus has already won:

[9] Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

This is the truth.  This is the way things stand.  Jesus Christ is the Victor.  It doesn’t matter what the news reports.  It doesn’t matter what’s on the Internet.  It doesn’t matter what our favorite political party says.  And it for sure doesn’t matter what the local professor says.  This is the truth.  What matters is how we respond.  Will we respond by faith and abide in this Jesus?  Or will we bow our necks and be forced in the end to bow our knee?

My hope is that we all will respond by faith.  I hope this for myself, for my wife, for my kids, for those with whom I work and for those in my community.  And that’s my hope for all that will hear this message.  Though we have a strong Savior who has won the victory, the Bible also tells us this,

[17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV)

Though we are guilty, God has made a way to us through Jesus Christ.  May we take this offer.

Amen and amen.


“Monday Colossians” is a weekly Bible study series from the book of Colossians.  All Bible quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible translation.  You can read all of the posts in this series by clicking here.  


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