"Get Used to Different"
Put away all of your preconceived ideas of the humanity of Jesus and prepare to be amazed. Get used to different.
In Dallas Jenkins’ The Chosen, my husband and I were surprised, delighted and inspired by Jonathan Roumie’s poignant portrayal of Jesus and the actors who represent His apostles in the crowdfunded, multi-season TV series, which is based on the Gospels. The interweaving of the divine and human was unlike any other depiction of Christ we had ever experienced. The more we jumped in the water, the clearer our perspective became. Each episode seemed to renew a spiritual movement in us, an awakening of something tangible and relatable. Even the opening song and graphics set the stage for something unknown, mysterious and alight with possibilities. We knew this was the beginning of a long and faithful relationship with future seasons of The Chosen.
In each of the eight episodes from season one, we met ourselves in the human Jesus – in dressing a wound He receives while camping; in rubbing sticks together to build a fire for cooking; in teaching children and playing with them on their level; in dancing at the wedding feast at Cana; and in laughing with glee as Simon and his fellow fishermen haul an abundance of fish into their boat.
In addition, Jesus has to abide the idiosyncrasies of each apostle with patience and gentleness – even engaging in a bit of lighthearted sarcasm. His calm demeanor and soothing voice speak volumes about His Divinity. The few miracles in the episodes are performed without over-the-top theatrics, as they have been in so many past movies of Jesus, yet they unfold with compassion and reverence. We witnessed the healing of a leper, a paralytic, and Simon’s mother in law, to name a few.
As impetuous, high-spirited Simon emerges on the scene, we were drawn into the complexities of this compelling characterization of the fisherman we are acquainted with from the Bible. The first episode lays the groundwork for his character, and although it took a while, we were eventually smitten with all that he becomes. His hesitancy to cast his net out one more time, as Jesus bids, is understandable, but the intriguing gaze of Jesus captivates Simon and the net is cast.
The impossible becomes believable as the net threatens to break under the weight of so many fish, and the previously skeptical Simon falls to his knees and weeps. The scene is so tender and provocative that I was brought to tears myself. How can he now refuse the Messiah’s “follow me” directive? His future as “the Rock” is now set.
When we meet Mary of Magdalene, she is possessed by many demons. She is a tortured soul and on the brink of self destruction, yet after her healing by Jesus, she is forever changed. We found her serene charm captivating; her steady presence on the screen delighted us.
The strong character of Nicodemus is present in most episodes. His portrayal is brilliant. We became enlightened on Jewish tradition, society, and the celebration of Shabbat. There are also short flashbacks to the Old Testament that help shed light on upcoming scenes. He struggles with believing Jesus to be the Messiah, yet his desire to do so is remarkable. His secret meeting, under the mantle of darkness, on a rooftop with Jesus is tender, riveting and unforgettable.
Then, there is Matthew. We are introduced to his unconventional character in the first episode. How can I capsulate Matthew in a few sentences? It’s impossible. He is fastidious, calculating and autistic.
He’s a number’s man; it works. Guarded by a Roman soldier who becomes, “mildly fond of him,” he is despised by both the Jewish citizens and the Roman occupiers. However, his endearing personality, with all its quirkiness, enabled us to become enamored with his character. Eventually, the penetrating, yet gentle, gaze of Jesus urges him out of his tax booth, and at that moment, he is drawn to the magnetism of this Rabbi who has captured his heart.
There is a strong inclination on my part to disclose every detail of this profound and lucid production, but that would spoil any chance of discovering the beauty, tranquility and grace on your own. Don’t try to grasp the mystery with your own understanding. It’s like that certain melody that speaks to your soul. The beauty is not only heard with your ears, but with your whole being. It seeps into the essence of who you are. You are loved, you are redeemed, and you are chosen.
You will be different after viewing The Chosen. Get used to it.
To watch the series on an iOS or Androd app, go to www.thechosen.tv/app. To get more information about the series, go to https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen/. Several episodes are also available on YouTube.