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.
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 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. Nicodemus 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 Laughed
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.
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.