Thursday, February 22, 2024

Reaction - The Chosen Season 4 Episodes 4-6

 Last weekend I had the opportunity to see The Chosen, Season 4 Episodes 4-6 in the theater. As with Episodes 1-3, I want to offer a mostly spoiler-free reaction, trying to limit my responses to what can be inferred from the trailer and a basic knowledge of the Gospels.

Also as before, you can find my review and analysis series here

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Chosen 2:3 — Matthew 4:24

Just as in Season One, the third episode of
The Chosen’s Season Two is an uncharacteristic aside from the narrative arc of the season as a whole. While in Season One, the third episode focused intensely on Jesus, who had only been seen briefly in the first two episodes, in Season Two, the third episode focuses on the disciples while their Master is otherwise occupied. It addresses one of those questions one almost never thinks to ask, but once asked, seems obvious and compelling: what were the disciples doing when “off camera” in the biblical narrative?

The title of the chapter is a scripture reference, short enough that we can quote it in full:

So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.

This is the kind of summary account that it is very easy to quickly read past without thinking through what it actually entailed. “Yep, Jesus healed and delivered all kinds of people. Must have been wonderful. I wish I could have been there to see it.” And then we move on to the next story.

What this episode deals with is the logistical nightmare of such a scene—all these people all trying to get Jesus’ attention at once, what the disciples had to do to accommodate all the crowds, and what it was like for them, from all different backgrounds, just getting to know one another, trying to figure out what it all meant.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

The Chosen 2:2 – I Saw You

Dallas Jenkins, the creator of The Chosen, often relates a story of how he directed The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, which ended up being a box office flop. Formerly viewed as a promising young director, Jenkins found himself out of favor in Hollywood and wondering if he would have a future as a filmmaker at all. He describes the experience as one of the lowest points of his life.


He tells that story partly to explain how The Chosen was originally born like a phoenix out of the ashes of his earlier aspirations, but also to explain how a lot of that experience went into his portrayal of Nathanael, who, along with Philip, are two future apostles introduced in this episode.

As always, the imagined backstories of these characters fleshes out what we see in the biblical text. The essentials of the two disciples’ introduction to Jesus is found in John 1:43-51. But as readers of scripture, we’re left with a lot of detail to fill in. Why does Philip seem to follow Jesus so readily? Why does Jesus’ mere mention of Nathanael being under a fig tree bring forth such a response of faith? These are questions that “I Saw You” explores.

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Reaction - The Chosen Season 4 Episodes 1-3

Last Sunday I got my chance to see The Chosen Season 4 Episodes 1-3. I want to give my reactions, but I’ll try to avoid any spoilers, so I’m going to restrict my comments to what can reasonably be inferred from the trailer, by anyone familiar with the Gospels. Nonetheless, if you really don’t want to be spoiled at all, you may want to stop reading at the break below.

Aside—if you came here looking for another installment of my review and analysis series, I’m having to cut back my frequency on those. I’ll try to keep posting one a week, but two a week I can’t manage. If you are reading those, I very much appreciate it.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

The Chosen 2:1 – Thunder

The Chosen Season One ended with Jesus having gathered several disciples and publicly revealing himself as Messiah to Photina, the woman at the well, with clear direction that she should tell others about him. Season Two will largely be occupied by Jesus gathering the rest of the Twelve, whom he will call his Apostles, as well as building up to the climactic point of delivering his Sermon on the Mount.


The first episode of the season, “Thunder,” does not telegraph all of this, though. We see the aftermath of Jesus meeting with Photina and his ministry in the Samaritan town of Sychar. It quickly becomes clear that Jesus will not conduct his ministry in a manner that any of his current disciples expect. The process of discipleship does not merely involve gaining new information, but learning a new way of looking at things entirely, and it’s not always easy.