“They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha . . . And they crucified him. . . There was darkness over the whole land . . . And the earth shook, and rocks were split . . .” (Mark 15:22, 24, 33; Matt. 27:51)
In biblical times, natural phenomenon were understood as part of God’s activity in the world. Earthquakes, for example, were associated with God’s power and wrath (Exod. 19:18; Job 9:5–6; Ps. 18:7). Even darkness held meaning. Because God is the author of light and life, darkness was associated with the realm of the dead (Job 10:21–22, 38:17; Ps. 107:10, 14). Consequently, concerning the events surrounding King Jesus’s crucifixion, the darkness and earthquake would have felt to the Jews of that day like the end of the world had come.
The Beginning of the End
The darkest day on earth surely must have seemed a victory to our vile enemy Satan, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Perhaps he had forgotten God’s pronouncement of his demise so long ago in that perfect garden paradise, but God did not (Gen. 3:15).
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15 NIV
In Colossians 2:15, the “powers and authorities” represent demonic powers (see 1 John 3:8 and Heb. 2:14). In biblical times, when a king returned home in victory, he would parade his enemy captives through the streets, stripped naked, putting them to further shame (Isa. 20:4). The Greek word translated “disarmed” in Colossians 2:15 includes the idea of “stripped” or “taking off.” Therefore, when Jesus triumphed over sin and death on the cross, not only were the demonic forces relieved of their weapons, but they were completely stripped of their power and position.
What difference does it make that the demonic forces have been “disarmed”?
What difference does it make to you?
Taken from the Bible study, LEGION: Rediscovering the God Who Rescues Me, based on the fascinating story of the man rescued from a legion of demons.
Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies.