The Chosen, Season 4
Episodes 1 & 2
In cinemas for seven days from February 1; streaming to follow
This crowdfunded TV series about the life of Jesus begins to head towards the pointy end of his ministry in Season 4, as opposition from those in power increases.
As ever, there is much to like and it’s excellent to have considered backstory and character depth for the men and women around Jesus – just as long as we remember that, as deeply informed by Scripture as the series is, the action we see is the writers’ version of events and not Scripture itself. After all, in the lead-up to Herod’s great banquet, mentioned in Matthew 14 and Mark 6, I can’t imagine the husband of Joanna actually said to her, “Is that what you’re wearing? It looks great!”
So yes, some of the lines are cringeworthy, but people who’ve already seen Seasons 1-3 will be aware of this. For those who haven’t yet given The Chosen a try, if you can live with some below-par dialogue you should be fine: cast performances are solid, as are the makers’ efforts to provide cultural context.
After all, in watching this series we’re essentially following the story of our Lord and Saviour and that will hold deep emotion for all believers.
As regularly happens in The Chosen, Episode 1 of Season 4 takes us back in time in order to fully appreciate the narrative in the present. It begins with the visit of Mary to Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist and rejoices in the knowledge that this child will prepare the way for the promised Christ (Luke 1).
The story of Elizabeth and Zechariah, and the loosening of Zechariah’s tongue to praise God after John’s birth, is one of my favourite moments in the Bible. To juxtapose their joy at the miracle of John’s birth with his end after Herod’s banquet is very poignant and beautifully done, as is the response of Jesus (Jonathan Roumie) to the death of his cousin.
The theme of Episode 2 is forgiveness, wound around Simon’s (Shahar Isaac) confession of Jesus as Messiah, and the renaming of Simon as Peter: the “rock”. The very human frailties of the other disciples upon having Simon singled out in this way shows up the foolishness of the petty envies and concerns we as God’s people often dwell upon, rather than trusting in his plans.
I love the way the disciples are helped to understand the truths they are blind to – such as the need to ask for, and grant, forgiveness. How thankful we can be that, like them, the Lord understands our weaknesses and patiently guides us along the road of faith.
The Chosen is not perfect by any means, and we could probably do without a subplot here and there, but it genuinely seeks to present us with the Jesus of the Bible and how he transforms those who believe in him. I’m confident that those who’ve been waiting for Season 4 won’t be disappointed.