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 was holding my breath watching The Chosen last night. It was a very good thing. I was so engrossed in the show that I forgot to breath. I was holding my breath excited to see what happened next. I know the Biblical account they were portraying so I knew exactly what Jesus would do. I have read the passages involved many times. It was just so thrilling to watch it play out perfectly on the screen. I couldn’t wait to see how they would depict what I already knew would happen. I was not disappointed once. The Chosen is just that good.
I list it as my favorite Christian movie of all time even though it is not technically a movie. 33 Great Christian Movies to Grow Your Faith It is so worth watching I want it to be your first choice!
My whole family is in agreement. It is the best 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. We are also Jesus people. We love the Lord and His Word. We love Christian movies.
The Chosen surpasses them all. It is that good!
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. Watching it feels like you are transported back in time. You are there with the disciples watching the works of Jesus play out before your eyes. It a very personal and often emotional experience.
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 with all of the amazing complexity, humility, and humanity that involves. 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. I recommend it for those who don’t know Jesus! If you are curious, Jesus was a real historical person. You can get to know Him.
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 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. 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. I sure hope he is able to get it done with the results so far.
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 Samaria to preach the Gospel. Some fictional aspects are added but not at the expense of doctrinal accuracy.
This is not the old flannelgraphs of your Sunday School or a church drama production – as much as I love those. The Chosen presents a fuller picture of the people and culture involved in a rich and compelling way. It is overflowing with the love and grace of Jesus. It is also intentionally relatable but not watered down. The makers add in modern elements to help you see yourself in the characters.
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. This type of music was not invented in 1st Century Jerusalem. It’s not the usual background music. Yet, it is perfect for the scene. It captures and relates the mood of these early disciples as they start their battle for Christ. They are eager and on mission. They joyfully charge into enemy territory, 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. It is something you must be on guard for in any depiction of the Bible. The fact that the studio involved is Mormon adds to the concern. A little bit of leaven is very dangerous and I don’t shy away from identifying it.
The Chosen is faithful to the Bible in its stories. It deftly 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 you know about them to tell a story consistent with the Biblical account.
It takes Nicodemus, for example, 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. He 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. Importantly, it stays true to the Bible’s information about Nicodemus while also telling a story…and what a story it is. You will relate to Nicodemus’ struggles to decide between Jesus and his “duty” to his wife, job, and traditions. You will root for him and feel his pain. It is not meant to demean Nicodemus but to help you understand his humanity and your loving Savior.
For more on Nicodemus’ Question about being “Born Again” read
The Chosen depicts the “Nic at Night” encounter between him and Jesus magnificently…and tenderly. I ended up filled with more love for both Jesus and Nicodemus and praising God’s goodness. It is one wonderful scene among many. Intimate love and grace are so central to the Christian faith and they can get lost in times in movie and TV Bible stories.
Jesus Loves the Little Children
Another great example is the episode centered around Jesus encountering a group of small children. It is not in the Bible. It is therefore fiction. Yet, it is my family’s favorite episode. It is also consistent with the Biblical depiction of Jesus.
The story shows Jesus tenderly welcoming the children when they find his camp. He befriends them and over the course of days gently teaches them the message of the Gospel. Jesus is patient and kind with the kids. His love for them is obvious. It is meant to be a picture of His relationship with His disciples and the world. It works beautifully.
Jesus’ interactions with the children reveal his tender heart as expressed in the Bible. It highlights why the little children loved coming to Jesus. The conversations are peppered with Bible verses. Jesus’ teachings from the Bible are expressed through the dialogue naturally and correctly. This is consistent throughout the first season.
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. His eyes are filled with amusement and love with His creations.
The Woman at the Well from John 4 is depicted, for another example. She asks Jesus why He is trying to convince her that He is the Messiah. He responds to her question with a loving, amused chuckle, “You are the first one I told, I hope you believe me.” The response captures the accessibility and heart of Jesus so well. He is Lord of the Universe with all power and truth. Jesus called the woman out for her sins with all truth. He is also lowly and full of love. He weeps over Lazarus. Jesus also 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 of these great Christians – though again it is “coloring in” the backstories.
A Story of Redemption and Love
The Gospels are so well known and loved by millions. Creating media that depicts these stories authentically, 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. This is the Jesus who I preach:
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. There are other great Christians films to check out there as well.
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.