by Charles Gardner
With so much media interest focused on the crisis within the British Royal Family, I would prefer to draw attention to a hugely inspiring television series on an even more important household to which the Queen herself pays tribute.
The Chosen presents Christians with a perfect opportunity to introduce friends and family to a truly awesome, and beautifully scripted, take on the life of Jesus.
Produced by VidAngel and already viewed by 50 million people around the world, the characters of the gospel stories are brilliantly brought to life, with creative back-stories and intriguing sub-plots adding much artistic imagination to the greatest story ever told.
Flagged up as the first non-Hollywood production of its kind, the central figure, played by Jonathan Roumie, is depicted as very down-to-earth and approachable – and clearly Jewish.
In fact, there is a very clear emphasis on the Jewish roots of the gospel story enabling events to be seen in their true context. This is so refreshing and will do much to help Christians re-connect with their Hebraic heritage. For example, an entire episode is dedicated to the importance of the weekly Shabbat celebration, still so central to Jewish life.
Viewers will see Jesus, and first century Israel, through the eyes of those who knew him best against the backdrop of the day-to-day difficulties of life under the Roman occupiers in the very early stages of the Messiah’s public ministry.
Playing a lead role from the start is Nicodemus, the senior rabbi who became a believer, who initially tries to help the demon-possessed Mary Magdalene, before deciding she is too far gone to be restored. When she is eventually healed by a stranger quoting Isaiah’s words that he had come to ‘redeem’ her, everyone (including the rabbi) is amazed at her transformation.
Episode 3 focuses on our Lord’s relationship with children, obviously developed around his recorded willingness to bless them, “for of such is the kingdom” (Luke 18:15-17). It is seen as a kind of practice run for his public ministry as he teaches them to pray, answers their questions and generally has a lot of fun with them. It is beautifully done. And there is a deliberate nod (as you discover from the post-episode discussions) to the perceived risk of children being alone with adults, as the Saviour keeps his distance.
Director Dallas Jenkins chose three biblical consultants for the series – a Roman Catholic priest, a Messianic rabbi and an evangelical theologian – to help him reflect a tone and nuance that would be true to the biblical record while also respecting the various traditions.
The discussions on The Chosen Unveiled are a treat as you learn so much. For example, that Jesus wasn’t a carpenter as tradition would have us believe, but was really a stonemason/craftsman, for which there is apparently plenty of evidence.
We are also told that the three Hebrew letters making up the word for ‘stone’ would appear to suggest ‘the Father revealed in the Son’. This makes more sense of Jesus being seen as “the stone the builders rejected” which has become the cornerstone (Psalm 118:22).
The Chosen is being screened by TBN on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 p.m. ET) and 9:30 p.m. PT (12:30 a.m. ET). It can also be watched on PCs (thechosen.tv) and phones (via iOS and Android apps). The Chosen Unveiled, a specific teaching relating to the series, airs on TBN. Check their site for times.
Charles Gardner is the editor of CMJ UK Prayer Focus and the editor-in-chief of ProphecyToday.uk. This article first appeared on ProphecyToday.uk and is republished with permission.
Images courtesy of The Chosen.