A TV series that shows the life of Jesus, told through the stories of those who knew Him best.
The largest crowdfunded media project of all time.
A show about Jesus paid for by people who love Jesus.
I’m not going to share all of the technical details, instead, I’m going to tell you a piece of my story and share my heart.
This article is for anyone who will read it, regardless of your religious background or your beliefs about God. I’m just a person, like you, and this a conversation from my heart to yours.
I have known God is real my entire life. My parents are believers, and I was raised in a home where Jesus was a regular part of the conversation.
My mama read me Bible stories and I watched Bible stories onscreen.
But it goes deeper than that. God called me to Himself. He chose me.
Many children who are now adults have many of the same ingredients to their origin story that I do, and yet they have never met God for themselves. Nor do they realize the value of who they were created to be.
To them, Jesus was just another topic around the dinner table, or maybe He is merely their parent’s “thing”. Here’s a common one, “He was a good man and teacher with good ideas but nothing more“. Calling Him something as wild as the Son of God on earth is like something out of a fantasy story, right?
I beg to differ. My life is not built on a fantasy, in fact, it has been quite the opposite. My life has been just as grounded and down-to-earth as anyone else’s.
I’m mature enough now to honestly tell you this, “I have a lot to learn.”
But there is one thing I am confident of in this crazy world of unknowns.
God is real Person, He is GOOD, and He called me.
How did God call me and how do I know it was Him?
God is the Creator of the Universe, He knows all things, He knows all people because He created all people.
He speaks your language before you do. Each person has a unique collection of interests and dreams that set them apart from others. Where do those things come from? From a Creator, Someone Who lovingly made you an individual.
Because I am a storyteller, God called me to Himself with the stories of the Bible. God touched my artistic soul with my love for the beauty of the world that I felt came from somewhere deeper. He used my strong memory and intuition to communicate things to me that some would say I was too young to understand, but I did.
I have never experienced anything like that anywhere else. It was more real, more wonderful, and more powerful than anything we humans can create on our own.
Life in a fallen world happens, we grow and we are faced with pain, suffering, and broken people. Doubt enters the picture and creates room for lies that hide the truth of God’s love.
During my walk with the Lord for the past 19 years, I have fallen prey to many of the lies that made me doubt His love.
God as a “Loving Father” seemed more like a phrase used to sell Christian calendars rather than what God actually was.
I felt that He was far away, harsh, and constantly disappointed with me. I was really good at failing as a Christian/human, I must be a shame to Him. I didn’t believe I was going to hell, but I didn’t really think God liked me that much. Nor did I feel that I could trust Him with the deep needs and desires of my heart and life.
You live frightened, confused, angry, sad, judgmental, and empty. That’s how I felt so much of the time. And so have so many others.
This is not the entire summary of my walk with Him during those darker years, He still reached me where I would dare to open up to Him. But it was a slow, sometimes really painful process.
My heart was longing for more.
The things I had experienced as a child, the things God had used to call me to His heart were still in there, but they were buried. I had a deep heart cry, a question that I carried with me.
Is there more? God, are you more???
The Chosen series Season 1 gently inserts us into the lives of normal, broken people living in first-century Judea.
God feels distant and unreachable, while his problems are threatening to tear his life away from him. Does God really care about his needs, or has he already failed so badly that God will never acknowledge him again?
She once was loved, she once believed, but she has fallen so far, had so much taken from her. The words of prophecy regarding a Savior her father taught her seem like useless garbage in the face of her constant torment.
He’s alone in his own little world where no one understands him, nor do they care. He’s considered a traitor to his own people, so why would God acknowledge him?
Everyone around him seems content to carry on with the traditions they have been taught for generations, he desires to respect what he knows but he keeps hoping against hope that God is more.
As if life isn’t hard enough, Rome’s conquering presence is all around them, fear is a regular part of every character’s daily reality.
And their lives are suddenly turned upside down.
You’d think that people who lived 2,000 years ago would have nothing in common with those of us living in this futuristic world of the 21st century. While the show creators do an excellent job of painting the first-century world with great detail and richness, the core elements of the story and characters confirm this: these people are just like you and me, and they are asking the same questions we ask today.
“Am I going to be okay?”
“How do I get through tomorrow?”
“How do I take care of myself and my family?”
“Does God actually care about me and my needs?”
“Am I worthless? Should I just end it and be done?”
“Is this truly all there is? I feel like there should be more.”
Israel was the nation of God’s chosen people. They had known God for literally thousands of years. Their story was God’s story, His miracles and words are a part of their very DNA and culture. You would think out of everyone on planet earth THESE people would have it figured out! Much like the Church today, you would think these people would understand God!
One glance at these characters in their various walks of life testifies for the opposite.
Simon (the fisherman) fears God’s judgment and believes in His disinterest.
Mary (the broken woman) feels forgotten and unloved by God. She’s too unworthy to be saved.
Matthew (the tax collector) struggles with anything he cannot explain, but this Jesus keeps doing the inexplicable. Matthew is fascinated, but he expects to be rejected by Jesus as he is by all Jews.
Nicodemus (the Pharisee) wonders if he is just an old fool for wanting God to be more. He also fears what his peers will say about him for seeking beyond what they already know.
Does any of this sound familiar? Whether you are a Christian or not, this is familiar to the human struggle with questions about God and our relation to Him.
I myself have asked many of these same questions, even though I have known God is real my whole life. Even though I met Him and His true heart at age 5, I still had/have questions.
And the older I got the more I became desperate for answers, much like The Chosen characters are at various levels of desperation when we step into their lives onscreen.
Let me show you something really special from Episode 4, The Rock On Which It Is Built.
Andrew, brother of Simon the fisherman, comes to him in a flurry of excitement. He’s seen Jesus. “It’s Him, it’s the Messiah. The Lamb of God.”
“I don’t need a Lamb, I need fish.” is Simon’s reply. (The Chosen, Episode 4 – The Rock On Which It Is Built)
Simon is out of options, he’s so in debt to the tax collectors that if he cannot pay an exorbitant amount by the next day he will be taken to prison, or be killed. His family will likely fall into ruin without him. It’s an awful, awful circumstance to be trapped in. He’s desperate, and God seems to be ignoring him, and he believes he deserves it.
His brother and fellow fishermen help him cast nets all night. Nothing.
Jesus arrives on the shore of the lake in the morning following an entire night of desperate, useless fishing. See what happens.
At Jesus’ word, he lets his nets down one more time.
And his boat almost sinks for how many fish are in his nets.
Jesus watches in pure delight as 5 grown fishermen splash and scream for joy because their desperate need has been met by the Lamb of God.
This God whom Simon has been avoiding out of shame and fear came to him in his moment of need and loved him like no one else has, unconditionally and overabundantly.
He didn’t expect it. He didn’t think he deserved it. He as much as said he didn’t need a Lamb. He’s broken so many rules of the religion and done much that he knows is wrong.
If God is who Simon had expected Him to be, angry and judgmental and only rewarding of those who always “do” good, Jesus would have walked right past him without a second glance.
Jesus loves Simon so much, and that love is captured in this scene in such a raw and beautiful way.
This kind, beautiful, compassionate, humorous Jesus is taking people by surprise. It’s both beautiful and sad all at once.
Our world and our perspective are so broken that we are truly taken by surprise when the Man who literally came to earth to die an excruciating death that we might be saved actually loves us.
To see this truth of a loving, real-life Jesus played out on screen the way it is portrayed in The Chosen is shocking people, many of them Christians.
As for non-Christians, this is probably a new version of Jesus to you too.
What happened to that really solemn, super “holy” guy? Where’s the Jesus who is constantly put out by the disciples’ failings? What happened to that angry God who hates you because you are sinful? Whatever happened to earning your rewards, your favor, your place in the world? Whatever happened to someone wanting something from you before they help out?
You know, like how our world works. Whatever happened to the Jesus who barely tolerates us?
What is it with this guy who just shows up on people’s worst days and completely changes everything with a heart so kind it almost frightens our abused, broken hearts?
Romans 5: 6-8
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)
I can hear potential accusations from some very confused people in the Church.
That’s not really Who Jesus is, this is Dallas Jenkin’s (creator of The Chosen) version of Jesus, a watered-down mushy version aimed at getting people in the door without actually convicting them of their sin!
I can hear the doubts of people who are suspicious of all things Christian.
He can’t be that good, you all are just making up a really shiny story so that we get sucked in by a lie! And then we’ll end up as miserable as you all are because your God is mean!
To the first group, my brothers and sisters in Christ, I reply to your doubts and criticisms with my testimony.
In 2016 I was less than a year out of being graduated from high school, and I was searching for the next thing in my life. Little did I know that my world was also about to fall apart dramatically and everything I thought I could count on would be turned upside down.
It was at this time that my need to know if God was more began to burn to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I couldn’t bury it for fear that I would be disappointed.
That’s what had held me back all of these years, fear that God would be just as miserable as I thought He might be. Fear that the loving God I hoped for would just be another instance of my unrealistic idealism. And if that was the case, would I give up?
Perhaps it was because I was already asking a lot of new questions as a green adult that there was a new space for God to move in my life.
I believe He knew it was time, and I was ready.
One day I saw a documentary called Finger of God. It was about God and His heart for us, His Created Ones.
I saw things that blew my mind. I saw people being touched by a love so radical, so pure, so joyful, so unearthly that it changed the entire course of their future in a moment. I saw people being healed, inside and out. I saw people tasting what I had tasted the moment I had asked Jesus into my heart.
Radical, unearthly joy and a love so powerful that you can literally feel the warmth of on your skin.
As I write this it is a shiny new year, 2020. In the four years that I have lived in between that day in 2016 and now, I have walked the hardest, darkest, most shattering days of my life.
And God has never been so real, so good, or so full of love.
Logic says that if someone is going to fall away from God, it would be when the worst of life and people smack us in the gut and leave us bleeding out. We see this happen all the time. And we know the questions that get asked,
God, if You really are good then where are You? What happened? Why did You let me down?
But we are talking about human logic here, human logic based upon broken perspective and limited experience. God logic works differently, He goes beyond what we expect and loves us more than we know what to do with. He comes bursting into our worst moments in surprising ways. He doesn’t base His decisions upon a small window of experiences or choices, but rather upon His never-changing Heart for us.
I got desperate and curious enough to reach, and this is what happened.
Jesus was God on Earth, and He only did what He saw His Father (God) doing. He didn’t walk in His own agenda, He walked in His Father’s will. (John 5)
So to those who fear the Jesus portrayed in The Chosen, this is what I have to say to you.
The Chosen does not scare me because I already recognize the Jesus I see portrayed here.
I know this guy! I see the Heart of God that I have been getting to know apart from this show for the past 4 years!
In 2016 The Chosen was just a twinkle in God’s eye and Dallas Jenkins hadn’t even crossed paths with the idea yet. I cannot blame the Jesus I know on Dallas or anyone else involved with the show, because I have already met Him in my own life.
Let me clarify, The Chosen is not meant to be a replacement for Scripture. The creators of the show have said this repeatedly. The stories told in The Chosen, the miracles shown are 100% true. The characters were real people that even secular authorities will confirm existed.
Some of the arrangement of these stories and the fleshing out of these characters has been worked with and adjusted by a team of people to create a watchable show.
But I recognize the fingerprints.
There are more than just men and women working on this show, I believe that God’s Hand and Heart are woven into it as well. I think God is tired of seeing His children fear Him. I think He’s tired of seeing the lost people in the world only view Him through lies. His heart is bursting with love for us and by its very nature Love needs somewhere to go and someone to touch.
Now, to the second group, my brothers and sisters of the human race who are not Christians.
I get it, there are a ton of really mean and really unhappy Christians out there. There have been so many instances of cruelty, harshness, and hurt in the Church. I get it, I have been touched by it myself. But to you, this is what I want to say.
Having worked with children in professional settings before, I can attest to the truth of this statement.
The children who are more confident in their parents’ love and their own identity in their family are far calmer, more secure, and less easily given to offence. They are far easier to get along with and they have a greater trust for authority. Often they take direction better and are teachable. They are more likely to treat those around them with kindness even if the person is different from them. While not perfect, they stand apart as someone enjoyable to be around.
The children who feel less confident in their parents’ love and their place are either very shy and insecure or very loud and insecure. Their feelings can be easily hurt, they are often harder to manage, and they expend a lot of energy trying to be admired or at the very least noticed. It’s harder for them to trust and harder to get them to respond to instruction or discipline. They can be mean very quickly and form fast grudges. These children, while every bit as precious as the first type of child, require a lot more energy and patience to be around.
There have been thousands of people throughout the history of the Church who have never understood their own Father’s love for them.
Therefore, they are miserable, and they often spread that misery to others.
That’s why. And on top of that, just know this, Christians aren’t perfect.
I, a Christian, make mistakes. I make choices that are wrong, sometimes consciously, just like anyone else. The difference is that because of Jesus inside of me, I am counted as righteous in God’s eyes and He looks on Jesus’ sacrifice of blood on my behalf, not on my shortcomings.
There is a whole array of characters shown in The Chosen that represent each one of us where we are at right now, Christian or not. We have only begun to meet them, and over more seasons (8 Seasons are planned) even more beautiful characters and more incredible stories will be shown.
As a summary for Season 1, this is the message I hope to convey to those reading this review.
Each one of the characters represented by the above questions finds their answer.
And it’s the same answer I myself have found.
Yeah, I know, it’s crazy different. Different from what we have known, what we have heard, and often what we have experienced. But to quote an awesome line in Episode 7: Invitations.
Get used to different.
Friend, whether you are already a Christian, or at least brave enough to read this whole article #youareawesome, this is what I want you to walk away with.
You do not have to be afraid of God.
You do not have to be afraid of His Son Jesus.
Love has come, and His name is Jesus.
The Chosen has created a beautiful open door for people all over the world to step into an introduction to get to know the beautiful, radically loving heart of Jesus our Savior and of our Father God.
God is already using The Chosen powerfully to reach people in some of the darkest places and in every country in the world.
People in Iran who have lived a life without hope are watching it. People in China living through the coronavirus are watching it. People living in the US who have everything and yet nothing are having their hearts broken open by Love.
If you want to give the first episode a watch it is completely free on The Chosen‘s YouTube channel.
You can follow The Chosen on:
And you can download TheChosenApp for FREE to watch all 8 episodes of Season 1.
TheChosenApp on The App Store!
Also, check out the gorgeous soundtrack on Spotify! This soundtrack has already made my “you’re obsessed with it what is your problem” list made for me by Spotify. I hope you enjoy it too.