On Easter Sunday, Angel Studios released hit series The Chosen’s season 2 opening episode. Here are three things I loved about the episode and one thing I would’ve recommended they do differently. Warning: spoilers to follow.
3 THINGS I LOVED
- I loved the opening where the Gospel writer is interviewing the apostles, family and disciples of Jesus. It’s been a while since I watched season one (which I loved and wrote about here), so it took me a few moments to recognize it was John (the beloved disciple) asking the followers for reflections. I first guessed Paul (would’ve been cool–because I think the case is strong that Paul extensively interviewed the apostles to learn about Jesus’ ministry and prepare him for his missionary journeys). Next, I guessed it was Luke, because the questions were precise and seemed to come from an analytical thinker. As a historian and doctor, Luke made sense to me. Finally, I realized it was John (third time was the charm). Regardless, I appreciate how producer Dallas Jenkins shrouded his identity at the beginning to build suspense.
- I still love Matthew’s social awkwardness. It’s a good storyline, and I think it makes for a series of lighter moments especially as Peter routinely gets annoyed with his nerditry (if that’s a word). I’m sure there were friction points between the twelve from time to time.
- Thomas and Rema’s emotional break with Rema’s father. Jesus told his followers there would be division among families over Him. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Jesus explained the cost of following him would be painful at times, and devotion to Him–trust in Him–must be complete. He informed followers (and potential disciples) they could have “no gods before Him”–including family members (Exodus 20:3).
1 THING I WOULD’VE DONE DIFFERENTLY
Jesus hands James and John, the Zebedee brothers, the nickname “Sons of Thunder” in this episode. He does it after they lose their temper and want to call fire down on Samaritans who insult Jesus. I didn’t like this producer decision or the timing of this incident. Luke 9 makes it clear this conversation happened much later in Jesus ministry (after the Transfiguration). It is likely Jesus’ gave the Zebedee brothers this nickname earlier in his ministry and did so to fortify their faith. Sons of Thunder conveys a meaning that they will speak with divine power. Thunder is associated with the divine in near eastern culture. Basically, Jesus was saying they would deliver the Gospel with divine power as sons of God. Jesus gave Simon the faith-fortifying name of Peter–which means “Rock.” He changed it from Simon (which means reed–conveys weakness) to Peter which signals strength. God did the same with Jacob (deceiver)–changing his name to Israel (triumphant with God). However, the way The Chosen portrays it, Jesus gave them this nickname after a moment the brothers would rather put behind them and forget–not remember. I think that was an unfortunate decision.
Please don’t misconstrue this criticism. I’m still a HUGE fan of the series. No series will get everything perfect. It’s an impossible task. Jenkins and The Chosen skillfully continue to present the life and ministry of Jesus in an extraordinary way, and I’m very grateful for them and the millions of supporters making this project a reality. The Chosen is a gift we should be thankful for as it is a great tool to explain Jesus to outsiders. The series stirs up affection for King Jesus and is a great resource for messengers of hope proclaiming the Gospel to a lost and dying world. If you haven’t seen The Chosen yet, you can watch the entire first season for free from The Chosen website or app. You can also watch season two episode one for free on the website or app.