A Pastor’s Review of The Chosen TV

“Sorry to The Passion of the Christ but The Chosen is the greatest Christian entertainment I have ever seen” – Faith, 17 yrs old

I realized I was holding my breath watching The Chosen last night.  It was a very good thing.  I was so totally engrossed in the show that I forgot to breath anticipating what happened next.  It was funny.  I knew the Biblical account they were depicting so I knew exactly what Jesus would do.  I have read the passage many times.  It was just so exciting to watch it play out perfectly on the screen.  I couldn’t take the waiting to see what I already knew would happen.

The Chosen is just that good.  I listed it as my favorite Christian movie of all time recently even though it is not technically a movie.  33 Great Christian Movies to Grow Your Faith

My family is in agreement.  It is the best Christian depiction of the Gospels we have ever seen.  It is our favorite picture of Jesus and His disciples that we have encountered.  If you read the movie reviews here, you will understand that means a great deal.  We have seen most of the Christian movies and TV shows out there.  The Chosen surpasses them all.  God is love and The Chosen gets this.

Real Life with Jesus

The Chosen takes the accounts of the Gospels and vividly brings them to life.  It looks and sounds like 1st Century Israel.  It doesn’t stop there, though.  It is so well done that it feels like it takes us, the viewers, back in time.  It feels like we are there with the disciples watching the works of Jesus play out before our eyes.  I cried as I watched the healing of Mary Magdalene.  I laughed as Jesus playfully interacts with children, and the disciples begin to learn their calling.  I wanted to shout “Hallelujah” as Jesus heals His first of many lepers.  I felt like I was there for each of these events and more from the Gospels.  Jesus is so much more than a preacher or solemn man of God.  He is fully God and fully man and this comes through each episode.The-Chosen-Review

The Chosen is a masterpiece of Christian entertainment.

If you haven’t watched it, go out and do so.  You will not be sorry.  It is also a great introduction to Jesus for those new to the faith and those searching.  The Chosen just gets Jesus right.  That is hard to do and makes it worth showing to anyone who will watch.

The Chosen is a dream project for director Dallas Jenkins.  Those in the Christian world will recognize him as the son of Jerry B. Jenkins of Left Behind fame.  Dallas Jenkins is an accomplished filmmaker on his own.  He has had a long career in the movie industry.  His movie The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is excellent in the Christian genre.  Yet, The Chosen is the project he always wanted to make…and it is a very ambitious one.  The Chosen is meant to be a multi-season series about the life of Jesus. As far as I know, there has never been a similar series, but with the results so far, I sure hope he is able to get it done.

Jenkins has done a beautiful job in bringing the world of Jesus and His first disciples to life.  He does so without sacrificing any of the wonders of the Bible in the process.  The episodes include both the backstories and first encounters with Jesus of Mary Magdalene, Peter, Andrew, Matthew, and Thomas.  They also include great Biblical characters such as Nicodemus, Salome, and Zebedee, father of James and John.  The season concludes with the Woman at the Well, Jesus, and His disciples marching into her city to preach the Gospel.

This is not just the old flannelgraphs of your Sunday School or a church drama production – as helpful as they are.  The Chosen presents a full picture of the people and culture involved in a rich, compelling, and relatable way.  It is also overflowing with the love and grace of Jesus.  It does so by incorporating both the full doctrines of the Bible in the Gospels as well as adding fictionalized elements to the stories and modern touches.

My family was excited as we watched a scene with Jesus leading His disciples into a city to preach for the first time as a group.  Jesus walked at the head of the men and women down a path towards ministry.  Yet, rather than presenting a scene of serenity or fear, a modern country rock Christian song plays in the background and sets the stage for these early disciples.  They are eager to get into working for Jesus on mission.  They are joyfully charging into the lost world following the King of Kings and they know it.  I wanted to charge Gates of Hell with them after the scene.

I know you likely have warning bells going off right now with the mention of “fictional elements” added.  I did too, initially.  But The Chosen balances a clear and authentic telling of the stories of the Gospels with some fictional “coloring in” of the actual men and women involved.  It uses what we know about them to tell a story consistent with the Biblical account.

It takes Nicodemus, for example, and the Pharisees and Jewish society in general, and adds backstory leading up to his interaction with Jesus in John 3.  The Chosen’s depiction stays true to the heart of the Bible and the historical record.  The-Chosen-Review2Nicodemus is depicted as an honorable man who loves God and is earnestly trying to understand Jesus while struggling against the pressure of his role as Pharisee and “the teacher of Israel”.  It also adds in a gripping backstory for Nicodemus explaining how he ended up face to face with Jesus.  It is superb storytelling. It stays true to the Bible’s information about Nicodemus while also telling a story…and what a story it is.

The Chosen depicts the “Nic at Night” encounter between him and Jesus magnificently…and tenderly.  You end up filled with more love for both Jesus and Nicodemus and praising God’s goodness.  It is one wonderful scene among many.

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Another great example is the episode centered around Jesus encountering a group of small children.  Most of the story deals with this interaction.  It is not in the Bible. It is therefore fiction. Yet, it is universally our family’s favorite episode. It is also consistent with the Biblical depiction of Jesus.

The story shows Jesus tenderly welcoming the children as they first find his camp.  He then befriends them and eventually teaches them the message of the Gospel.  They are pictures of His impending relationship with His disciples and the world.  It works beautifully.  Jesus’ warmth and love for the children demonstrates his tender heart as expressed in the Bible.  It highlights why the little children loved coming to Jesus in a fictional account.  The conversations are also peppered with Bible verses and Jesus’ teaching expressed naturally and correctly applied.  This is consistent throughout the first season.  The dialog does depart from the strict quoting of verses from the Scripture.  Usually, when it does so, it is to add additional theology we know from the full understanding of the Bible.

Jesus Wept and LaughedThe-Chosen-Review1

The actor who plays Jesus captures the love, tenderness, and accessibility of Jesus in a way that I have never seen.  He is serious and intensely focused on doing the work of the Father.  He is also warm and gently teasing with eyes filled with amusement and love with His creations.  The Woman at the Well asks Jesus why He is trying to convince her that He is the Messiah.  It is a moment in a scene that has accurately quoted much of the back and forth between the two as captured in the Bible.  Jesus has called her out for her sins with sincerity, gentleness, and love while also calling her to Him.  He responds to her question with a loving, humble chuckle, “You are the first one I told, I hope you believe me.”  It may not translate here, but the response captures the accessibility and heart of Jesus so well.  He is Lord of the Universe with all power and truth.  He is also lowly and full of love.  He weeps over Lazarus.  He also has a sense of humor that is clear in the Gospels.  Jesus laughed, and it was a pleasure to see this side along with the holiness and obedience.

Peter, Mary Magdalene, Andrew, and the other disciples are depicted equally as well.  Wait until you see the storylines of Matthew and Thomas.  They are brilliant in their characterizations – though again it is “coloring in” the backstories of these two amazing men.

A Story of Redemption and Love

The Gospels are so well known and loved by millions.  Creating media that depicts these stories authentically and true to the Bible, while also in a way people can relate to, is a huge challenge for anyone.  I am overjoyed to report Dallas Jenkins and The Chosen exceeded all of my hopes and expectations for the series.  They have created a series that is a testimony to our wonderful Lord and Savior.

It is a great story of the redemption of the unredeemable and love for the unlovable – just as it should be.

I highly recommend watching it.  I love Christian films and TV shows.  I have watched most of them out there.  The Chosen is by far my favorite.  It is just that good.  When I polled my family for their favorite Christian movies for my this list,  33 Great Christian Movies to Grow Your Faith, everyone immediately agreed The Chosen should be #1.

FYI – I am not in any way affiliated with The Chosen or receiving anything for this review.  I just loved it and want you to see it.

The Chosen is available free on The Chosen app, which connects directly to streaming devices. VidAngel also has the whole season for those who subscribe to this filtering service. (Which is great btw)

Here is the first episode.  They get even better in the later episodes once you get to know the show.

 

 

 

12 thoughts

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with all you have said. The Chosen has depicted the humanity and holiness of Jesus. I have fallen so in love with him from watching this show.

  2. Wow, The Chosen, There really isn’t enough that could be said about it. You know how to pick the seemingly right people for each part. Each actor and actress performed amazingly. God is with this whole production. Im delighted that it’s a serious, so that you can take your time through each meaningful performance. It’s the most accurate to scripture that I’ve ever seen. Which I would imagine isn’t easy when there is imagination at play to help us look closer into what their lives could have been like. The first one, at the very end, when Mary got delivered. When He spoke those words to her, “you are Mine”, I literally broke. I since meditate on that whole first verse in Isaiah 53,I believe it’s transforming me. As soon as I can, I’m going to contribute. I have to, I’ve gotta have those cd’s. I’ll be praying that God show you what passages and portions of the bible to include for what the public needs a revelation on. THANK YOU, for obeying the call. Phx

  3. I’m not posting to be confrontational. I could not disagree with you more about this show. I’ve viewed it multiple times and cannot get past the misrepresentation of the disciples. This alone should give every educated Christian pause. Bringing Christ down to our more relatable human level because we like Him better than way is wrong. Scripture is the one book that is not up for creative license. Frightens me how many are embracing this.

    1. Hi DB – no need for confrontation, disagreeing in the Body of Christ in love is normal and healthy. I understand your point but believe since it is clearly labeled as fiction – decidedly not inspired – it can be enjoyed as such. Thanks for the comment!

  4. I agree with DB. It is the best Christian film I’ve ever watched. I do have several concerns and cultural inaccuracies is one of them; but my main concern is that in the end we will have a different Jesus preaching a different gospel. The seeds of the social gospel have been planted here, and they will certainly grow. That “gospel” may be popular and easily embraced by the world, but it is void of repentance and holiness. Sin is redefined and sinners can comfortably stay in sinful lifestyles. Unless everyone who watches this reads the Bible, I fear that in the end this series will not lead people to the Jesus of scripture, merely the Jesus of The Chosen.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts, DL. The series is not meant to be the Bible. It encourages people to read the Bible and is clearly marked as fiction. But, to your point, how is the Chosen preaching a different Jesus? The Chosen certainly is a fictional depiction of Jesus but do you oppose anyone portraying Jesus or going outside the Biblical dialogue?

      You mention sin and I agree holiness is important to our Christian lives. How do you think the Chosen does not endorse repentance and allows people to stay in sinful lives? Matthew leaves tax collecting, Peter leaves fishing and Mary is completely transformed by Jesus.

      If you read my reviews of The Shack, for example, https://pastorunlikely.com/the-shack-movie-a-christian-movie-review/ I disliked that movie immensely for the heretical depiction of Jesus.

      1. I have two doctrinal concerns with the movie. I appreciate the commenters who also had concerns and posted respectfully, which I would like to do.

        My Two concerns are:

        1. The scene where Mary and Joseph found Yeshua at the Temple, Joseph pointed out to Yeshua His transgression for staying back in Jerusalem. And Mary told Him “don’t do that again”. That’s a big turn off for me. He had ZERO sin… He was doing the Will of The Heavenly Father. The movie shouldn’t have even made light of it.

        2. On the way to the wedding Yeshua states that the most important person at the wedding is His mother. Over Yeshua?! Really. We all know what Religious Flavor that is when putting His mother over Him.

        The movie is entertaining and you can’t help but love the characters but they Humanized Yeshua way too much. He is the Son of G-D… I like the intimacy of His relationships with his disciples, the children, and the community…. but at the expense of His deity?! Skirting a fine line, imho….

        How many people will read their Bible because of this movie? You are taking about a society with an attention span of seconds. But hey who am I?

        I can handle artistic license but not doctrinal error. Sorry.

        Thank you for allowing me to post

        Shalom!

      2. HI there – thanks for the comment. I agree that the makers have a really hard line to walk. They are trying to depict Jesus in all of His wonderfulness – both God and man – and that is really hard to do. I also agree that there are a couple of moments I would not have included. The comment about His mom and the wedding struck me as well, but I am from a Catholic background so I am sensitive to it. It does makes sense that Jesus would love and honor His mom though so I think intent is important on that one.
        On the comments when Jesus was a young man, I don’t think they were saying that Jesus sinned. He was doing the will of His Father but if you read that passage as a parent, it had to be scary for Joseph and Mary. I thought they were just expressing the human reaction to raising the Son of God – not inferring Jesus was a sinner.

        I think a similar moment occurs when Nicodemus is going to kneel before Jesus and they have Jesus say you don’t have to do that. I understand they are trying to protray the intimacy and deal with people’s feelings of a far off God, but I would not have included that moment either. Is it doctrinally wrong, I don’t think so but Jesus allowed people to worship Him as it is His right.

        It doesn’t make me throw out the entire work though.

        But with the humungous task they took on, I do think they did a great job avoiding such errors and potraying Jesus.

  5. I apologize. I transposed two words. I meant to ask, “in the end ‘will we’ have a different Jesus” — not state ‘we will’. Many of my concerns come from dialogue shared by Dallas Jenkins from season 2. There were a lot of red flags in some of that dialogue with Mary, but there were issues for me in season one as well.

    You hit the nail on the head, though. I am wary of fictional representations of Jesus. I guess what makes me so uncomfortable with them is the second commandment.

    I don’t see the examples you point to as clear messages regarding the Bible’s teaching on sin. However, I was talking about the social gospel. The social gospel stays away from the subject of sin, and I think this series has already made a good beginning in the social gospel direction. It wants this to be relatable to a 21st century culture — the roles of women, for example, were nothing like this series presents, but it will appeal to feminists. I am a woman, but I am not a feminist. It went very far afield with many of the cultural realities of that time to make this relatable. I guess one of the reasons I am so skeptical of this is that if it went so far afield with the little things, what will happen with the big? Luke 16:10, “Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” I’m not sure fictional representations of Jesus get a pass on that.

    Another serious issue, though, is does this add to scripture? I am still wrestling with that question. It’s not like the series has added anything to the Canon. Our Greek texts have not been monkeyed with by Dallas Jenkins. And it is a far cry from the heresies of “The Shack”. But this is still fiction. The danger comes from those who do not, and will not, read the scriptures. I know many people are reading the Bible because of this series, and that commends the series to me all by itself. However, not everyone who watches this series will read the Bible. For the biblically illiterate, this series may be as close as they ever get to the New Testament. They will form their views of Jesus and the apostles based on fiction. In that scenario, it seems that this does add to scripture, and it certainly alters it. Anyway, something about it unsettles me, and I’m not sure I can really put my finger on the bullseye.

    Thank you for letting me express my concerns!

  6. Pastor, I have thought long and hard about this and regret my comments here. If the gospel remains intact, I take Paul’s words to heart. Philippians 1:17-18, “The former, however, preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can add to the distress of my chains. What, then, is the issue ? Only that in every way, whether by false motives or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” If Paul could rejoice even when people preached the gospel out of selfish ambition, surely I can rejoice when people of good intent do so. I pray this series brings many to Christ.

    1. Amen! I appreciate your diligence and heart. Yes, indeed, let’s rejoice that the gospel is going forth! I will join you in that prayer as well. God bless you.

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