5 things 'The Chosen' gets right about Jesus — and why you should watch it!
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
In this scene from season 1, episode 6 of The Chosen, Jesus (Jonathan Roumie) touches a man with leprosy. Image courtesy of VidAngel Studios and used under the terms of license CC BY-SA 4.0
“A charismatic fisherman drowning in debt. A troubled woman wrestling with real demons. A gifted publican ostracized by his family and his people. A religious leader struggling with his beliefs. See Jesus through the eyes of those that met Him.” — The Chosen
NOTE: This article mentions some details from Season 1 and Season 2 of The Chosen. Keep reading if you’ve seen the episodes or if you don’t mind finding out a few non-spoiler details, and if you’d like to know what makes this show so special.
Have you ever stared at the Blessed Sacrament and just cried uncontrollably? Have you walked out of Confession feeling truly seen, understood, and forgiven? Or have you experienced something that only you could truly appreciate, that you knew without a doubt the Lord brought it about just for YOU?
Over the years, I’ve gotten to meet and know the person of Jesus through experiences like the ones I just mentioned. And each time, I feel so overwhelmed at how very real, personal, and loving our God is.
This past year stretched my faith to see God in the midst of a pandemic, and while I am grateful He has never left me, I miss the ways I’ve gotten to meet and see Him pre-pandemic. So when close friends introduced me to The Chosen last year, I knew I had to watch it.
And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
The Chosen met me at a time when I was longing for closeness with God. This show gets as close as any digital recreation can get to how I feel when I meet Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. That’s how powerfully this show conveys Jesus’ personal love.
So, in chronological order, here are my top 5 favourite moments that beautifully capture the person of Jesus (as of writing this article).
#1: Jesus calls us by name
In the final moments of the very first episode, we find a woman struggling with a very difficult spiritual battle. She feels helpless, but just when she leasts expects it, she encounters a man. His caring gaze changes something in her and she has a searing headache. She runs away from the man, but suddenly we hear him say:
“Mary… Mary of Magdala.” He walks closer to her, gently wrapping his arms around her in an embrace. “You are mine.” Three simple words, and she is healed completely.
Jesus says it so sincerely that I feel as though He is reaching out to me and calling me by name. You are His. I am His. We are His. Hearing Him speak the truth of His love for you and me cuts through my skin like a paper cut I forget I have: I don’t realize His love for me, but when I am reminded of it, I feel it deeply.
It’s very easy to get lost in our troubles, but whenever we do, Jesus is that quiet voice that pulls us back to Him, calling us by name and claiming us as His beloved.
#2: He delights in our prayers
Jesus loves children. In Matthew 18:3-5, He calls each of us to rekindle our childlike spirit so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s how important children are to Him.
In Season 1 Episode 3, we see just how much Jesus delights in the children of God when He hears them pray the Shema. His eyes well up with tears as He gazes at each child reciting the prayer. What a beautiful image of Christ to behold! I’d like to think that Jesus looks at us with that same loving gaze when we pray to Him and His Father in Heaven. Next time you pray, try meditating on that image of Jesus, smiling at you and tearing up as you welcome Him in prayer.
#3: He consoles us
In the Bible, Nicodemus is the Pharisee who helps Joseph of Arimathea properly bury Jesus’ body. Before this, he secretly interviews Jesus at night, which is where the famous John 3:16 verse comes from.
In Season 1 Episode 7, they highlight this intimate conversation so beautifully. We see a Pharisee struggling to reconcile his knowledge and beliefs about Scripture with his knowledge and beliefs about Jesus.
Have you ever had questions and doubts about what you believe? Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the world and just need some guidance from God? Though we may not see Jesus in the way Nicodemus could, we are still in fact approaching the same God. The same Jesus who meets Nicodemus and hears his many questions and concerns is the same Jesus we turn to when we have questions and concerns of our own.
Whether it’s during the day at church or privately at night, we can always meet with our Messiah. No time of day is too late or early for Him.
Jesus (Jonathan Roumie) and Nicodemus (Erick Avari) in a scene from season 1, episode 7 of The Chosen. Image courtesy of Vidangel Studios and used under the terms of license CC BY-SA 4.0
#4: He does it “just for you”
Season 1 is bookended by Jesus’ interactions with two women, both struggling in life and judged by their community. In the first episode, we are reminded of Jesus’ personal love for us and how He calls us by name. In the finale, this notion is echoed when He comes face to face with the Samaritan woman at the well.
“I came to Samaria just for you. Do you think it’s an accident that I’m here in the middle of the day?”
“I am rejected by others.”
“I know, but not by the Messiah.”
“Just for you,” is how our Messiah loves. He will stop at nothing just to show you how much He cares for you. Even if it means waiting in the sweltering heat until you finally arrive with your empty buckets, ready to replenish them with water. He will happily fill them just for you.
#5: He loves us selflessly
I won’t share any details from Season 2 Episode 3, because if you’ve already seen it, you know what scene breaks my heart the most, and if you haven’t I hope you’ll check it out. It is not so much in what Jesus says but more about what He does that shows just how much He loves us selflessly.
Why this series captures my favourite depiction of Jesus
Jesus being the Word Incarnate, fully God and fully man, is hard enough to grasp in real life, so trying to depict this truth on camera is in itself a major feat. Oftentimes, films portray Jesus’ divine nature beautifully but at the expense of losing touch with His human side. Yet, into this arena comes The Chosen, a multi-season show about the life of Jesus. Viewers have been drawn to the portrayal of Jesus because it reminds them that Jesus is Lord, yes, but that He is also man. That God chooses to humble Himself by taking on our humanness, precisely because He loves us and desires to be with us. When we watch this show, we are reminded that Jesus, like us, laughs, cries, does menial tasks, cracks jokes, and goes through life’s ups and downs like we do.
I cannot recommend this show enough! If you have not seen it yet, I promise you this show is something different. “Get used to different!”