You may not know it, but celebration parades like this have a long tradition. And by "long" I mean hundreds and even thousands of years! But instead of holding parades to honor athletes, parades in the old world were frequently held to honor soldiers who had just come back from a successful battle or campaign. Much like celebration parades now, throngs of people would come out to wave, cheer for, and honor the "home team". (I'm not sure if confetti or ticker tape had been invented yet!) But there was often a slight twist to their parades that you don't see today...they frequently forced some of their vanquished enemies to march in the parade too! This would certainly stretch our modern-day notion of good sportsmanship, wouldn't it? Can you imagine if the NY Mets were forced to march in Kansas City's celebration parade today, with their heads hung in shame?? But in the first century, this was a common occurrence, especially amongst cities and colonies of the Roman Empire. This public shaming of some of the defeated enemies was a way of proclaiming how complete the "home team's" victory had been.
It's very likely this sort of scene is what the Apostle Paul was envisioning when he wrote Colossians 2:15. (See Colossians 2:9-15 for the entire thought.) In describing Jesus Christ's complete victory, Paul uses an image of a military parade, saying that Jesus "made a public spectacle" of the "powers and authorities". These powers and authorities aren't earthly ones, but common biblical lingo for demonic powers. And I love this amazing imagery of Jesus Christ— having canceled our sin and guilt and the Law's condemnation against us—holding a parade of sorts in which he publicly shames the demonic powers that would oppose Him. His victory was complete. And while taunting the losers is normally frowned upon as an example of horrible sportsmanship, when the enemy is Satan, and it was your very soul that was at stake, I think this is an appropriate show of Christ's power and victory!
So, celebrate the Royals' victory if you like. (If it can't be the Mariners, I'm at least happy when the AL team wins!) But better yet, celebrate Jesus Christ's complete and dominant victory over sin and death on your behalf. That's a parade!!
- Pastor Paul