Study Guide: The Lion and the Lamb

Sunday March 9, 2014 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Many people see Jesus as coming back to this Earth as a roaring lion that will seek its vengeance upon our enemies. However, in this sermon, Greg shows us how God’s power is best expressed by a sacrificial lamb, and it will continue to be expressed that way in the future.

Extended Summary:

There are times throughout history where we see an apocalyptic fever that runs amok. This seems to be one of those times. Our culture is fixated on things that might end our existence. Hollywood has many movies depicting disasters, viruses, and other ways that the world might end. The word Apocalypse comes from apocalyptic literature, but over time, the meaning of apocalypse has changed and come to meant more about the end of the world than a revealing.

In order to understand the book of Revelation, we need to understand the letter and who it was written to. This book wasn’t written to a future church, but was written to the Christians of the first century and still has application for us today. To understand this application, we need to understand what was going on. One of the most important things going on in Revelation was showing how God’s power works.

People want God to be a roaring lion that devours our enemies. This expression of God goes back to the Old Testament, where the Israelites wanted their Messiah to defeat the nations that had conquered them and restore Israel. This expression continues today, as people see in Revelation a Jesus who will come back with the sword and spread his vengeance.

But the book of Revelation shares that God’s power is expressed in a slain lamb and not a roaring lion. It shows that only one has the character to show God’s power in its true form, and it is the slain lamb. Not a God who exacts vengeance with a sword. Not a roaring lion that devours its enemies. In fact, the power of God is best expressed by a slain lamb on Calvary.

Therefore, the message of Revelation is not only to believe in this revelation of a lamb-like God but to follow that lamb regardless of the cost. The message is that we should, in all times, refuse to conform to our Babylon. We must trust in the power of the lamb and not the lion.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. Why is it important to see Jesus as a slain, little lamb instead of a devouring lion?
  3. If self-sacrifice is the true power of God, then how should we act as images of God? In what ways is self-sacrifice difficult in our culture?
  4. Why is a macho, sword wielding, and vengeance-driven Jesus so attractive?
  5. The idea that Christians are going to be suctioned out of the Earth reflects an escapist theology that is unbiblical and has dangerous ramifications. Why is it dangerous? Why is it important to focus on our Kingdom work here on Earth?