Two thousand years removed from the time of Jesus, it isn’t always easy to imagine what it must have been like to walk with the Messiah. The gospels give us a concentrated insight into the disciples’ journey with Jesus, but even they admit that “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25 NIV).
That is what makes The Chosen series about Jesus’ life and ministry so remarkable. The creators of the series have drawn back the curtain of time to give us a glimpse of what it must have been like to be one of the disciples of Jesus, one of the confused, disoriented, underwhelming disciples who followed Jesus clumsily, from different backgrounds and trades, with different personalities and opinions, possessing all the same ambitions, fears, insecurities, and hopes as any other common man. Just like me.
The Chosen, Season 3
I’ve been watching The Chosen on and off since the summer of 2021, and every time I reenter the first-century world, I am moved to tears. In the first two episodes of Season 1 of The Chosen, I was struck by the humanity of Jesus. In episode three of Season 1, the creators of The Chosen offered us a glimpse into what Jesus’ life and interactions may have looked like prior to the start of his public ministry. The Christmas special, “The Messengers,” released first in theaters last Christmas and available through streaming services now, reminded me how mundanely sacred the birth of Jesus—and the birth of every other life—is, how Jesus came into the world screaming, how Mary cried in pain, how Joseph worried over this confusing and scandalous pregnancy.
Every episode in the first two seasons has built upon the reality of God-with-us, God with us in our messy humanity, God with us in our striving and reaching, God with us in our good intentions and our fearful wandering.
As the series continues, relationships between the disciples become more complex, evolving under the strange and powerful and beautiful guidance of Jesus. The first two episodes of Season 3 focus on how the disciples respond to the Sermon on the Mount.
Finding the Love: Faithifying Your Viewing
Just a couple of years ago, my husband and I watched White Christmas for the first time. Somehow, we had gone our entire lives without anyone insisting that we watch this classic film, referenced in Christmas Vacation and featuring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. There is a moment very early in the film, set during World War II, when Crosby and Kaye lead the soldiers in a song, “The Old Man:”
“We’ll follow the old man wherever he wants to go
As long as he wants to go opposite to the foe
We’ll stay with the old man wherever he wants to stay
As long he stays away from the battle’s fray
Because we love him, we love him
Especially when he keeps us on the ball…” (From Lyrics on Demand)
The first time we watched the film, I was struck by all of these grown men singing the words, “We love him, we love him.” How unabashed, how unashamed, how dedicated these men were to each other, how sincere was their love and devotion!
This moment came back to me again as I watched the disciples respond to Jesus’ sermon in the beginning episodes of this season.
As Jesus preached his most famous sermon, the camera spotlights each of the disciples as they receive his words. Later on, Andrew visits John the Baptist in prison. John asks Andrew what Jesus said. “There’s always something He said that was just for you,” John tells Andrew.
It is as if the sermon on the mount holds 1,000 different keys, each custom fitted for 1,000 different hearts. Unlocked, the disciples are able to humble themselves, forgive each other, and love vulnerably their brothers and sisters in ways you don’t witness prior to this sermon.
The disciples are not unlike modern friend groups. They don’t always understand each other. They don’t always agree. Some are loud and ambitious. Others are quiet and reserved. Jesus’ words penetrate through their differences to bond them together in love. In these first two episodes, we get to watch the disciples begin to learn how to love each other the way Jesus loves them. Their reservations and guardedness wither under the magnetic love of Jesus.
There aren’t enough men who exhibit this brotherly love between one another in our world. There aren’t enough men who will stand with arms around each other and recite a psalm of David together, men who unabashedly embrace a brother, with joy and tears, men who will humble themselves and apologize, men who will be merciful and forgive. Could we be people who follow Jesus as sincerely, who try to love each other as uninhibited as these? Could we sing with no reservations, “We love him, we love him”?
Jesus tells his disciples, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:12-14 NIV). He was speaking to a group of devoted men and women who were gathered with him to eat the Passover meal before his arrest. These are not soldiers. These are not men and women at war. They are students. They are friends. And some of Jesus’ final words to his disciples are to remain in his love for each other.
What a beautiful ambition for our lives and relationships.
Angel Studios has secured crowd funding for four of the seven seasons of The Chosen. If you want to make sure all seven seasons of The Chosen are able to be produced, go binge watch something that will enrich your faith and then support the future production by visiting The Chosen’s website.