I recently stumbled upon a television series about the lives of the disciples as one by one they cast aside their lives to follow Jesus. The series, now in its third season, is called, The Chosen. It is free to watch at that link as the series has been produced entirely via crowdfunding. So no pesky network executive producers interfering to ruin things.
It is without a doubt one of the most refreshing shows that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. The entire production is superb in every aspect. I love that it shows Jesus as being human in addition to His divine nature. He has infinite patience as He helps His followers navigate the perils of their petty human sins and weaknesses.
The disciple Simon Peter is an excellent example of this. He is a natural leader but also impulsive and prone to immature squabbling in order to get his own way. Jesus views this with amused detachment and steps in only when He needs to so as to keep things on track for His message and mission.
But my favourite character is that of Mathew, the tax collector turned follower of Jesus. He is wonderfully portrayed as a somewhat autistic savant, excellent with numbers and bookkeeping but rather obtuse when it comes to basic human interactions. He looks on in bewilderment as the rest of the group attempt their various power plays, yet at the same time when presented with an objective political problem he knows immediately how to solve it in the best way possible.
Jesus, on the other hand, simply knows. When he farewells his beloved cousin John the Baptist who is off to give Herod a piece of his mind, Jesus understands that this will be the last time that He sees John on this earth. It is a poignant moment, and like every scene it is done subtly without bashing the viewer over the head. In fact, the secular viewer will probably not grasp the greater meaning of that small scene. This is intelligent television, something which I have not had the pleasure of seeing for some time.
But above all, the production has a sense of humor, and often a quirky one at that. There have been several moments where I have laughed out loud, for example at a freaked out Andrew who has just been informed that the room he is to share with Jesus is apparently haunted.
This Holy period of Lent is a wonderful time to dive into this ongoing series. Just try not to binge watch all of the episodes at once. It is Lent, after all.
It has come to my attention that there are some issues with this series, particularly concerning Holy Mary. Father Nix has a concise article outlining the problems from the episode in question. I must admit that I felt that something was off when viewing that scene but I gave in to the benefit of the doubt as I had read that there are two Catholic priests giving guidance on the series. It seems that they must be rather lax.
Originally published at Pushing Rubber Downhill. You can purchase Adam’s books here.