THE CHOSEN (2019) series review

I’ve been a student of the Bible my whole life, seeking through it for treasured truths. The Psalms have given me comfort through deaths and pain, losses and heartbreak. The Proverbs are like fortune cookies, each one you open surprises you with wisdom for the day. The stories of Jesus through the gospels are beautiful and fascinating. The Old Testament prophecies align with New Testament fulfillment’s. I love the letters to the Philippians and Ephesians. I’m challenged by Romans and the Peters and Corinthians. I’m in awe over Acts. I don’t know what to do with Revelation.
I’ve never liked movie versions of the Bible. I despise poorly made Christian films. I feel that if God is creator and we are called to be His, that our work should reflect excellence, like His does. Shabby, poorly written and acted excuses for entertainment parading a message do not reflect a person that people would want to follow. It’s disappointing that so many Christians forget that.I need to be careful what I put in front of me. I feel deeply with characters, live the films I watch. I always have. I was going to be eaten by dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park when I was seeing for the first time as a kid. I was crane kicking with The Karate Kid, and swore I saw dead people after the Sixth Sense. Like I said, I have to be careful. But this sensitivity and ability to belong inside the films and characters I invest in works well for me too. I see the Lord’s message more clearly in beauty, in good story. I see Jesus in beautiful films because I feel I can look for Him there. I am challenged by the art form. I catch glimpses of His redemption message in so many moments in movies. I remember reflecting on true sacrifice in Gladiator, on forgiveness in Good Will Hunting, on grace in Unorthodox, on feeling called to more than what I see before me watching Luke look longingly at the distant moons to his own theme song in Star Wars. Perhaps I’m wrong, but for me, great films lead me to look heavenward so much more than films yelling a message over cheap cinematography. Jesus himself used stories when he spoke, didn’t he?The Chosen has surprised me in many ways. The filming is beautiful. The acting top notch. But what has astounded me truly is the writing. The overlap of story details that are true in scripture that I hadn’t thought of before. The tax collector would have been hated by the very men he becomes brothers with. The miracles of the wine at the wedding, ridding a woman of demons, the great catch of fish. I’ve seen them in my mind as such singular instances from a time long ago. I’ve wondered how the Lord can understand my circumstances. They’ve never seemed as real as this. I’ve been to Israel, walked the Holy Land, and wasn’t the one to leave astounded. Call me a Thomas, but what the trip did for me was give context to what I had read, a dip in reality. But it didn’t change my life.

Today I wept watching each episode center around what I’ve never before seen represented in scriptural stories: women. Today I felt seen.They were there all along, of course. Usually wives, mothers, dutifully following in silence. But here, women have voices, strong minds and hearts, a place alongside Jesus as He begins His ministry. No they don’t shine like angelic purveyors, they simply are. They are there, asking questions, listening and learning, trying and failing. They simply…are. As I am. One in billions, here, asking questions, listening and learning, trying and failing, being called by Jesus to follow Him. And I am grateful.

The Chosen is an episodic film series on the life of Jesus as no one has presented it before. Faces are smudged. Huppahs are crooked. They run out of wine. Pharisees are befuddled. Demons are terrifying. Fish are heavy. Weddings are expensive and in laws are exhausting. Jesus smiles, laughs hard, weeps. It’s life, and it’s real. This is the largest, fully crowd-sourced series, set up in a pay-it-forward context. It’s easy to download an app and watch the whole season free because people who have found themselves encouraged and challenged by it have paid for others to get to watch it. So, feel free. Watch and enjoy.

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