by Jonathan Lunde
Paperback, 320 pp.
Mark 2:14 says, “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he arose and followed him” (ESV, emphasis aded). It is here that “Jesus summarizes His call to discipleship” (p. 25). So what does it mean to follow Jesus? This is what Jonathan Lunde seeks to answer in his book Following Jesus, The Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship.
The title of the book is loaded with meaning, making a brief explanation of the words and phrases necessary. As Jesus, He calls people to follow Him as their leader. As Servant Jesus “has come to serve, and give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, Jesus is seen serving various kinds of people, culminating with His death on the cross, thus fulfilling the role of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. As King Jesus gives commands to His disciples which “mirror the relationship God had with Old Testament Israel” (p. 26). Jesus is the promised Davidic king who rules His disciples and makes sure “God’s covenantal stipulations were upheld in the nation” (p. 26). As a biblical theology the book explores discipleship as the theme progressively unfolds from the OT to NT. Finally, as a covenantal discipleship, Lunde explores the overall meaning of discipleship through the lens of the covenants (Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic and New Covenant). He defines this covenantal discipleship as,
Learning to receive and respond to God’s grace and demand, which are mediated through Jesus, the Servant King, so as to reflect God’s character in relation to him, to others, and to the world, in order that all may come to experience this same grace and respond to this same demand. (p. 276)
On the grand scale the book is structured around answering three questions. First, “Why should I be concerned to obey all of Jesus’ commands if I have been saved by grace?” (p. 28). If Jesus has fulfilled the righteousness of the Law for me, why does He give me any commands to follow? Lunde seeks to counter both “lackadaisical” and “legalistic” disciples (p. 30). Second, “What is it that Jesus demands of his disciple?” (p. 29). To answer this question, Lunde focuses on a few of Jesus’ many commands as examples for how to understand them all. Finally, “How can the disciple obey Jesus’ high demand, while experiencing His ‘yoke’ as ‘light’ and ‘easy’?” (p. 30?). Obeying commands seems to be such a burden. How can Jesus say His “yoke is easy” and his “burden is light” (Matt. 11:30)? read more