Perhaps you’ve seen Facebook ads about that Jesus show. Or, you have a certain friend who keeps posting articles, links, and videos about it. Maybe you were scrolling through your Netflix account and The Chosen caught your attention, but not enough to actually check it out. Well, I’m here to do my best to convince you to give The Chosen a shot.
For those who don’t know, The Chosen is a multi-season television series centered on the lives of Jesus and His disciples. It is based on the Biblical accounts found in the Gospels but adds plotlines, background information, and other plausible material to flesh out the story for television purposes. The Chosen is created and directed by Dallas Jenkins and is the biggest crowdfunded television or film project in history. It has been viewed by over 100 million people across the globe.
Those are the stats. The facts about the show, its success, and its popularity. And those are all good things. But at Rambling Ever On we don’t write about things simply because they are popular. We write about things when they catch our attention and fulfill one or more of the defining traits that undergird all that we do here. Our goal, as often as possible, is to find and celebrate truth, beauty, and joy in the world. The Chosen is full to bursting with all three of those things and we think that is worth celebrating. So, here are five reasons you should watch The Chosen.
You should watch The Chosen because it’s good.
I’m not trying to be cute here. (I couldn’t pull off cute if my life depended on it.) I wouldn’t recommend something unless I felt it was of high quality. The Chosen is good television. Even more, it is good art. The majority of religious programming is average at best. Much of it is terrible. It is preachy, manipulative, and poorly made. The Chosen is none of those things.
Written by Tyler Thompson, Dallas Jenkins, and Ryan Swanson, The Chosen is as good as anything you will find on television. The writing is smart, witty, compelling, engaging, and most of all impactful. The characters in the show are given three dimensional lives, with all the accompanying struggles and successes. And to make it even more incredible, the writers do a wonderful job of maintaining fidelity to the Biblical accounts.
Good writing is important but if the actors are unable to bring the words to life on the screen, the best lines in the world wouldn’t matter. Fortunately, the acting is good to great across the board. Standouts include Liz Tabish as Mary Magdalene, Shahar Isaac as Simon Peter, and Jonathan Roumie as Jesus. More on him later. All the disciples are carving out their place in the group and watching the actors sink their teeth into the characters has been a lot of fun to watch. Each of them brings something unique and important to the table.
Every aspect of the show is top notch and gets better with each new season. From cinematography, wardrobe, makeup, and music. Speaking of music, Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay) and Matthew S. Nelson hit all the right notes with the musical score. (I promise that will be my one and only cheesy pun.) And singer Ruby Amanfu adds a wonderful texture to the score with her vocals.
If you haven’t watched The Chosen because you thought it was just another cheesy “Christian” show, now is the time to rectify that error.
You should watch The Chosen because it is good for you.
I won’t belabor the point here. There are thousands of television shows and movies you could watch. Some good and some bad. Some edifying and some that will poison your heart and soul. The Chosen is quality television but it’s more than that. It’s edifying. It’s uplifting but not in the saccharine-sweet way most Christian shows or movies are. The Chosen will move you because it earns the big moments. It takes the time to set them up and then pays them off with expert skill and precision. And it will do all these things without polluting your mind.1
There are plenty of “safe” things to watch with your family. Unfortunately, many of them are poorly made or lack any artistic merit. The Chosen is good art and good for your family to watch.2 But more than just being good, The Chosen will build you up, not tear you down. It will inspire you.
You should watch The Chosen because it has the best visual portrayal of Jesus ever.
There have been some good portrayals of Jesus in the past. Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ. Brian Deacon in The Jesus Film. Ralph Fiennes in The Miracle Maker. There have also been many terrible portrayals. Too many to list. The Chosen upends all of that and gives viewers the best Jesus ever put on screen. Frankly, there isn’t a close second.
I’ve written about this before in my first article about the show which you can read here if you want. Jesus in The Chosen is approachable, kind, engaging, authoritative, powerful, funny, confident, and most of all, loving. Jonathan Roumie is simply remarkable in bringing all of that to life on screen. As history has shown, Jesus is an easy character to get wrong. Most TV or film portrayals of Jesus are unapproachable and remote. They seem distant – like strangers or aliens quickly passing through. The Chosen gives us a Jesus who is fully God and fully man. He jokes, he dances, he sings, he eats, he sleeps, he plays, he hurts, he tires, he teaches, he loves.
Give The Chosen a shot for this reason alone. It’s worth it.
You should watch The Chosen because it will challenge you.
Yes, The Chosen is wholesome and good for your family. But like Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chosen is not safe in every way. It will challenge you. It will make you think. It will stir your soul.
Difficult questions are asked throughout the show. Why does God allow suffering? Why is God silent? How do we obey when we do not understand? What happens when we fall back into our sins? These questions and many more are dealt with in a compelling and complex manner. The show doesn’t avoid painful subjects or hard to answer questions. The Chosen is true to life and understands the human condition better than most shows I’ve seen. Don’t expect everything to be wrapped up neatly at the end of every episode or season. Don’t expect easy answers or cliché solutions.
The theme of Season Three was “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There is no rest without Jesus. But there is also no need for rest without the weariness and the heavy burdens we all carry. The Chosen does not shy away from the realities of life. And it is better for it.
You should watch The Chosen because it will lead you to the Bible.
I have read too many examples of this to dismiss it. And it has been true in my life as well. Perhaps the biggest side effect of watching The Chosen is how many viewers are rushing back to the Gospels to read the Biblical accounts. So many people are diving into the Word after watching this show. It’s pushing people to the inspired Scriptural accounts.
The makers of the show do not claim to be inspired Scripture. They have clearly and repeatedly stated that this is a dramatic interpretation of the Gospel story. They have no wish to replace the Bible. In fact, they hope the show leads more people to read the Bible for themselves. Well, mission accomplished.
The Chosen will entertain you. It will even challenge and edify you. But the words found in the Bible will change you from the inside out. The Word of God is alive and active.3 It is a lamp for our feet and light on our path.4 This television show is inspiring viewers to read the life-giving words of Scripture for themselves and that is a wonderful thing indeed.
That is five reasons of many you should give The Chosen a chance. This Easter weekend is a perfect time to start. In fact, Season One will be streaming on The Chosen’s Facebook page, YouTube, and Twitter starting at 10:30 AM ET on Good Friday. Or, you can watch all three seasons by downloading The Chosen app. As always, the show is free to watch. You really have no reason not to at this point. What are you waiting for?