A new television series has started to gain traction – and viewing numbers. The series is … different. It is called The Chosen and it follows the gospels, looking at Jesus and His followers from the eyes of those who were there; at the impact on those who encountered Jesus.
It is a drama, not a documentary and it is not your typical ‘Jesus movie.’ It is the first multi-season show about Jesus and is essentially a 56-hour film in 7 series, each of 8 episodes. Globally, it has had over 190 million views to date, in over 50 languages.
It is not controlled by studios or corporates, requiring a return on their investment and taking poetic licence for maximum effect. It is curated by biblical, cultural and historical accuracy and, of those three, biblical accuracy is pre-eminent.
It is certainly a high-quality production and both impresses and engrosses through the quality of the filming and direction, the acting, music, sets and costumes. As for the writing quality, well, as the production team say, that was all done centuries ago when the Bible was written. Their job has simply been to lift those stories, records and anecdotes and faithfully re-tell them in today’s language.
In looking at Jesus and His ministry, The Chosen poses some questions and seeks to find answers. For example, given that the Disciples did not all grow up in the same household or even street, what was it like when they were getting to know each other?
In another article, I shall mention possibility and plausibility, but it is appropriate to introduce it now. There is input from many experts in theology and Bible studies, history, culture and geography. They look to the Scripture, and if they are providing some backstory or other element that is not expressly in Scripture, they do not just look at what is possible (what it might have been like) but at what is plausible (what it probably was like given Biblical references, cultural norms and historic evidence). For example, we know that Nicodemus was a pharisee, a member of the ruling council. We know Jesus told him “No-one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3) which prompted a conflict in Nicodemus: “How can someone be born when they are old?” (John 3:4) Was age a concern for him? In The Chosen, he is portrayed as old enough to be a grandfather. Expressly stated in Scripture? No. But from our knowledge of culture and history, it is not only possible that Nicodemus was older, but it is plausible as well.
I am utterly taken with The Chosen (at the time of writing, we are in season 2 which looks at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry after season 1 opened by introducing us to Jesus as he called His initial disciples. So we have 13 episodes already released. And watching is both easy and free. It is not controlled by corporate investors because it is crowd-funded. It is the largest crowdfunded media project in history, with some $10 million raised from over 19,000 people, and growing. All this enables the show to be produced, distributed and watched on a free platform, without adverts.
You can watch it by going to www.thechosen.tv and you can even download an app (IOS or android). It is also free on YouTube, but with adverts in episodes.
Jesus said, `Come and see.‘ (John 1:39). So come and see for yourself!
[from Timothy Pitt]