“He set aside [the legal brief against us], nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:14-15 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
In the Bible, “rulers and authorities” can refer to human governments. But when we read that on the cross Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities” and “put them to open shame” and “triumphed over them,” we should think of the demonic powers that afflict the world. One of the clearest statements about these evil powers is Ephesians 6:12. It says that Christians “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Three times Satan is called “the ruler of this world.” Just as Jesus was coming to the last hour of his life he said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). The death of Jesus was the decisive defeat of “the ruler of this world”—the devil. And as Satan goes, so go all his fallen angels. All of them were dealt a decisive blow of defeat when Christ died.
Not that they were put out of existence. We wrestle with them even now. But they are a defeated foe. We know we have the
final victory. It is as though a great dragon has had his head cut off and is thrashing about until he bleeds to death. The battle is won. But we must still be careful of the damage he can do.
*This is taken from John Piper’s book “The Passion of Jesus Christ,” which was later released under the name “50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die.” Please visit Desiring God’s Website for more gospel-centered resources from John Piper. You can also download a free PDF of “50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die” here.