Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship (Biblical Theology for Life) is a new book out by Jonathan Lunde, Professor at Talbot School of Theology. This is the second book in Zondervan’s Biblical Theology for Life Series, the first being The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (Biblical Theology for Life) by Chris Wright which was highlighted a lot at Cape Town 201.
The goal of the series is to apply serious academic biblical theology to ministry challenges. His definition of discipleship is,
…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).
This definition comes after carefully examining three key questions:
- Why: Why should I be concerned to obey all of Jesus’ commands if I have been saved by grace?
- What: What is it that Jesus demands of his disciples?
- How: How can the disciple obey Jesus’ high demand, while experiencing his “yoke” as “light” and “easy”?
Under the “why” heading Lunde guides us through the covenants (Eden, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the New Covenant) and shows how Jesus fulfills it. Lunde argues that every single covenant came with an expectation on behaviour – failing to live righteously completely misunderstands what it means to live in covenant with God.
For the ‘what’ question Lunde exams how we can view Jesus as filter, a lens, and a prism. These chapters focussed on Jesus’ interpretation of covenant and law and how he often reinterpreted the law, often raising the bar.
Under the “how” heading Lunde attempts to apply some of the previous learning, under the headings of looking at the servant who is representative, redeemer, restorer, and reigning king.
My main critique of the book is that it is certainly a serious academic study – therefore it’s not a particularly easy read which along with the time delay of international postage, is why I didn’t manage to finish it in time for the Book Tour. I wonder if it’s the kind of book that a smal group of ministers would enjoy discussing a chapter or two each week allowing a development of the application.