On Spectacles and Other Embarrasments

And when he had disarmed the rulers and the authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the cross. Colossians 2:15

Spectacles have an origin. They don’t occur in and of themselves. They are fruits and manifestations of much more primary occurrences. If we hold to the belief that our lives in this world are but shadows of the occurrences that take place in the spiritual realm, which we do, then it should come as no surprise that the spectacles in our lives are mere reflections of an ancient and eternal truth that has been told through the story of the serpent’s rise and fall.

Herein is the key. The rise preceded the fall. The rise was not ordained by God, but fueled by pride, and so it led to the fall – as promotions of the self always do. In its final conclusion, the rise became nothing but a public spectacle, a convulsion of sorts.

It was Paul who noted that the narrative was more than mere history. An overseer of the church, he noted, must not be a new convert, lest he becomes swelled up with pride and fall into the judgment of the Devil. The story is a parable and the message is clear: The one who promotes him or herself will become a spectacle for the world to see. Their rise will not lead to glory but to shame. John tells us in his revelation that the dragon was thrown down to earth. Knowing that his time was short he persecuted the woman. He wished the same spectacle on her that he had become, and so he has tempted her since she first set foot on the planet with the very temptation that he himself had been tempted with, desiring to involve as many as possible in the spectacle that he had become. The first woman became the first victim. Her yearning for greatness led to shame. Both she and her husband were made spectacles as a result of their desire to rise up and be like God, and after them a multitude followed in their footsteps.

It was Jesus Christ, the second man, who reversed the order. His fall preceded his rise. He became nothing, we read in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Unlike Satan, Adam, Eve and every lost soul in the history of the universe, Christ did not see equality with God something to be grasped. He became nothing, and so God exalted him to the highest place. And herein we are given a second parable, and so since the dawn of time the people of God have been characterized by the fact that they are first a spectacle and then exalted.

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