Pictured here is what is known as the “Arch of Titus.” This carved stone contains the image of the plunder taken during the first Jewish Revolt. This arch is located in the Roman Forum in Rome and was carved in 82 A.D. You can clearly make out the Menorah (the seven-branched lantern) and table of Showbread that were taken from the temple by the looters.
Titus (the general who led the Romans to vicory) paraded the Jewish survivors along with vessels taken from the temple in an official triumph before the people of Rome. This triumphial prade is what is being depicted in the arch carving. At the end of the triuphial prade, prisioners would be executed as a public spectical and offering to the “gods.”
2 Corinthians 2:14 begins with this statment:
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession
Paul uses the familiar imagery of those being led captive in a prade of triumph to express to the Corinthians the power of what Christ had done on their behalf and the role that they take in the process.
It was God who won the victory over His enemies, through Christ. Thus, Christ, as the victorious general, is awared a triumphal parade. Paul was the prisioner that was taken captive by Christ, because he was a slave to sin (God’s enemy). However, instead of this parade leading to Paul’s death, Christ’s prade ends in eternal life for the one who becomes “captive to God.” Along the procession God was using Paul, and wants to use us, to make his victory known. God took Paul all over the world, showing people the power Christ has to transform lives. Paul, who at one time killed Christians, became the man who proclaimed Christ most!
It is facinating that as a captive in Christ’s triumph, Paul is able to participate in the vicotry with Christ and become His ambassador (2 Cor 5:20). This happenes because God makes us His children.
This is good news! Our lives, like Paul’s, are to be spent making Christ famous everywhere we go, because we are the trophy of Christ’s victory. If we have trusted in Christ as our only hope for salvation, Christ has won a great victory in our lives over the enemy of God. We were once dead, but are now alive. We were once strangers to God, but now we are His children. We were once controlled by the sinful nature, but now we are controlled by the Spirit. We were once in the kingdom of darkness, but now we are in the Kingdom of Light!