Study Guide: The Sting

Sunday June 10, 2012 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

While we know that Jesus saves us from Satan and the cost of sin, we can’t always articulate how it happened. In this sermon, Greg shows us how God outwitted the enemy and completely destroyed every piece of ammunition that Satan has against us.

Extended Summary:

In the movie, Chronicles of Narnia, the character Edmund is charged with treason for betraying his sisters and brothers. The ice queen now controls Edmund’s fate because he broke the law. However, Aslan frees Edmund from the queen’s control by making the queen break her own law. This movie has many parallels for how Jesus freed us from Satan’s control and the costs of our sins.

When Aslan marched into the queen’s camp, the queen had no idea what Aslan was doing. When Jesus came to this Earth, the powers and authorities had no idea what he was doing. Satan tried turning Jesus to his side. The demons didn’t understand why Jesus had come. Even the disciples didn’t fully understand why Jesus had come.

The queen orchestrated the killing of Aslan, but she did not understand why Aslan allowed himself to die. Jesus walked into this world where Satan ruled. Satan and his demons didn’t know why, but they did know that Jesus was human, and therefore could be killed. Their eyes were fixed on that goal, not knowing that goal would bring about their destruction. It brought about their destruction because Jesus was innocent under the law that condemned all humans.

The queen could legitimately kill Edmund because Edmund had broken the laws of the land. But Aslan was innocent according to those laws. When the queen killed Aslan, she broke her own law by killing an innocent. Because of Aslan’s self-sacrifice, the queen lost all authority to condemn the lawbreakers because she herself had broken the law. This was how Jesus broke the power of the law over us.

When Jesus died and was resurrected, it cancelled our indebtedness to the entire system of law, sin, and death. It made a public spectacle of Satan and the powers and authorities because they were the cause of their own demise. Through their own viciousness and dependence on violence, they broke their own back and the system by which they hold humanity accountable. God pulled the greatest sting operation in history. Through God’s wisdom and character, he defeated the enemy by using their own tactics against themselves. And though it came with great cost, the powers and authorities were made powerless.

It is this sacrifice by Jesus that we are able to stand in God’s presence, free from the accusations of sin and death. We gain freedom through his death and resurrection. We are no longer under the law of sin and death. Instead, we receive this gift of free and beautiful grace. We live free from the enemy’s lies that we are still full of sin and in need of redemption. Live in the truth that God loves you, and that by Jesus’ sacrifice, you are free.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. If Satan and the powers and authorities were defeated and made a public spectacle, why do you think they still hold so much power over this world?
  3. The freedom bought by Jesus can be difficult to feel 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In what areas of your life do you feel that this freedom hasn’t reached?
  4. Since we are free from condemnation and Satan’s accusations against us, why should we seek to live a sin-free life?
  5. It can be difficult to break the habit of self-condemnation without help. Who in your life could help remind you, when you are feeling condemned, that you are free from condemnation?