Following Jesus is not a book to read for the sake of reading it. It is rather a handbook for understanding the life, times, and message of Jesus. Beyond that, it is a call to discipleship; a call to understand the radical claims of the gospel and put them into practice. Peter Roennfeldt, a pastor and church planting specialist, developed this book over 10 years as part of a small group of men who met once a week “to share God’s Word, encourage each other, and pray together.”
The fact that the book is divided into five phases, and 50 chapters (guides), suggests that the author intends readers to take their time as they journey through it, not binge on it in a few days or weeks. Each chapter is loaded with notes about Bible times and customs, a harmony of the Gospels, and suggested chapters to read from Messiah, Jerry Thomas’ paraphrase of The Desire of Ages. Each chapter is loaded, but still easy for lay readers to read and digest.
While Following Jesus is an excellent resource for personal study, it is also a perfect companion for small groups that want to encounter Christ on a personal level. Roennfeldt suggests using this as a springboard for writing one’s own responses and reflections in a personal journal. There is also space in each chapter to write answers to questions and put into words one’s own reflections that can either be shared with others or kept to one’s self.
In Following Jesus, Peter Roennfeldt has done readers a great service. Rather than using the Gospels as a collection of proof texts, he uses the Gospels to introduce readers to a Person, a Savior who changes lives. By the time you finish, you will say with the disciples, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).
Read this book—either alone or in a small group—and enjoy the journey.