Unless you’ve been living out in the desert eating locusts and wild honey, you’ve heard of The Chosen, a crowd-funded streaming series about the adventures of Jesus and his disciples. The show is made by protestant Dallas Jenkins, starring Catholic mystic Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, and distributed through Mormon-owned Angel Studios.
In addition to having hundreds of millions of views online, the episodes are being translated into 600 languages and will be adapted into a series of novels and comic books (yes, the show based on the Bible will have its own books that are not the Bible). At the present, The Chosen is more watched than Star Wars with more favorable feedback than Marvel and DC.
Most evangelical voices, even among people whose opinions I respect, are highly praising of the show. Of course there are the usual players, like K-Love and CBN or Ed Stetzer and Greg Laurie, who are going to gush to the clouds over any Christian medium that’s pragmatic and popular. But even Kirk Cameron, Allie Beth Stuckey, and Joni Eareckson-Tada have given very favorable reviews.
I didn’t begin watching the show until a few months ago, and it doesn’t seem any different to me than The Bible miniseries or its spinoff movie The Son of God from the previous decade. Though I’ve been mostly critical of Bible films (see also my reviews of Risen and Gods and Kings), I am not opposed to any and all tellings of Bible stories in television or cinema (though I do think all cinematic depictions of Jesus will always be foolish, as I’ll mention later).
But as a pastor who is responsible for teaching sound doctrine and rebuking those who contradict it (Titus 1:9), I will warn against anything that adds to, takes away from, twists, or diminishes Scripture. The Chosen is not merely entertainment—it is teaching something about Christ and His word. What is it teaching? That’s what I want to explore in this review of all eight episodes of the first season.
In the Beginning
Season one, episode one begins with the following disclaimer:
“The Chosen is based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ. Some locations and timelines have been combined or condensed. Backstories and some characters or dialogue have been added. However, all biblical and historical content and artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures. Viewers are encouraged to read the gospels. The original names, locations, and phrases have been transliterated into English for anything spoken.”
Many of the show’s defenders have said, “See? They encourage you to read the gospels!” But even Satan has read the gospels. I used to be ensnared by the teachings of Rob Bell, and he encouraged his hearers to be good Bereans and test him with the Scriptures. Of course, what he deceptively meant by that was, “You need to twist the Scripture the same way I do.”
There’s very little of The Chosen that is faithful to what the Bible says, even the intention of what it says. By his own admission, show creator Dallas Jenkins has said 95% of what’s in the show is not in the Bible.
“We operate from this question: Is this plausible?” he said, “Whatever we write, if it didn’t come from Scripture, is this plausible, culturally, historically? And does it fit within the character and intentions of Jesus and in the gospels, even if it’s not directly from them, or even if we don’t know if it’s fact or not?”
That’s some shrewd slight-of-hand to avoid having to answer the question, “Is this biblical?” But I hope that you’re able to glean from this critique that even what Jenkins would classify as “plausible” is not biblically plausible.
Scripture warns us “not to go beyond what is written,” and gives us the reason why: “so that no one of you will become puffed up on behalf of one against the other” (1 Corinthians 6:4). This causes division, not unity. It produces bad fruit, not good fruit. This is dangerous, what The Chosen is doing, and it’s leading people to error, not the Savior.
So not to be overly critical, I tried to find something to like about every episode, and I will also give my thoughts about what I didn’t like. Where the teaching or the doctrine was bad, I want to help you see that as well. (My heaviest criticism is in Episode 7, which I believe best encapsulates the problem with the show overall, if you want to skip ahead.)
EPISODE 1: I Have Called You By Name
This episode mostly revolves around Mary Magdalene who is called Lilith and is demon possessed. Nicodemus attempts to heal her and fails, but Jesus saves the day with his surprise appearance at the end of the episode. We’re introduced to future disciples Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James, and John, the Pharisee Nicodemus, and a couple of Roman guards.
What I Liked
Now, I do not want to start off sounding like a cynical curmudgeon, but I just did not like this episode. Reaching for a compliment, I thought the interaction between Peter with his wife was sweet. But then she called him “stoic.” It wasn’t some passing word—they made a big deal of it. There’s no way she, a Jewish woman, would have called her Jewish husband something Greek, and that would have been considered a compliment.
I’m a pastor committed to biblical faithfulness. Even these small things are going to stick out to me. I heard so much about how accurate the show is and how the writers consulted experts and have all these advisors.
“I have Bible consultants that I work with,” Jenkins has said. “I go through a lot of research, a lot of prayer. We take this very, very seriously.”
I saw no evidence of that in this first episode. If they can’t handle the small, obvious stuff well, I’m not optimistic about how they’ll handle big subjects.
What I Didn’t Like
Among other careless mistakes, the attire is wrong. Men wore an inner tunic, then an outer tunic, then a cloak when it was cooler (Matthew 5:40, John 21:7). Women wore head-coverings. The costumes look like most church plays, not high quality film and television (I noticed their homes are nice and roomy, too). I’ll only mention this once, and then I’ll digress on any further costume or hair decisions.
There’s a scene that begins with a subtitle telling us it’s the Sabbath (which the show refers to as Shabbat, and I don’t understand that decision). The first thing we see is Peter carrying a bucket around town. A man was not even permitted to carry his own mat (John 5:10); why is Peter carrying a bucket in the middle of the day? A few scenes later, it’s night. The sun is down. Yet Nicodemus makes a comment about it still being Shabbat. The Sabbath ended at sundown.
The first time we are introduced to Jesus, he encounters Mary Magdalene in a tavern. A tavern? In Judea? And Jesus was there? Not plausible. They go outside and Jesus calls her by her real name (she’s been called Lilith up to this point) and casts out her demons. The scene was not as dramatic nor as shocking as the music underscoring the action tried to make it.
The depiction of demon possession and exorcism could have been way more emotional and thrilling. Mary never appeared demon possessed—she just seemed out-of-sorts. Many American Christians believe anything inconvenient is Satan tormenting me. That’s what this reminded me of.
In my notes, I wrote, “Perhaps the writing will improve? If all I had to go off of was this episode of the first season, I’d not have continued watching.” In the book Jesus Calling, Jesus sounds like the voice of a middle-aged American woman pretending to be Jesus. The dialogue in this show sounds like that, too—a bunch of Americans role-playing as Bible characters.
Any False Doctrine?
Other than what was nuanced, I did not identify any obvious theological problems in the first episode. Most of this was character building. But there was a scene where Nicodemus said to his wife, “Sometimes I wonder if what we can know of Adonai in the Law is just as blurred. What if we’re not seeing the whole picture? What if it’s more beautiful and more strange than we can ever imagine?” His wife replied, “That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.” It’s not the most ridiculous thing I ever heard, but it’s easy to see what they’re doing. This is foreshadowing that Jesus is “more beautiful and more strange than we can ever imagine.”
EPISODE 2: Shabbat
As the name of the episode suggests, the plot has mostly to do with celebrating the Sabbath. Tension builds for Peter who needs to pay his taxes, and Matthew who is a Jew who works for the Romans to collect taxes. Nicodemus asks questions about a man performing miracles.
What I Liked
Mary describes her exorcism to Nicodemus, who inquires of the mysterious man who healed her. Unable to explain what happened, she says, “I was one way, and now I am completely different. And the thing that happened in between was him.” I liked that line.
However, we are talking about a miracle here. This isn’t merely the testimony of a sinner turned saint. This was a woman possessed by seven demons whom Jesus cast out (Luke 8:2). She would have said something more along the lines of, “Did you not see me yourself? I was possessed by seven demons and He cast them out by the power of God!” The show regularly settles for dialogue that significantly down-plays the incredible action of the actual biblical story.
What I Didn’t Like
Why does it seem like all of the Roman guards are bald? And what’s with all of them wearing capes? (Sorry, I said I wouldn’t make further criticisms about hair and costume, didn’t I?)
This plot with Peter turning over Jewish merchants to the Romans for money is not working. We’re to believe that Peter, who would not eat with Gentiles before the Lord told him to (Acts 10:14) and later he went back to refusing to eat with Gentiles because he feared the Jews (Galatians 2:12) was involved in a plot with the Romans to rat on his own kinsmen? Not plausible.
James and Thaddeus are shown to be Jesus’ first disciples. Scripture says Peter and Andrew were the first disciples (Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:16, John 1:40-41). There have been other portrayals of Bible stories that are more accurate than this is in these kinds of details. Will the show depict that all of Jesus’ disciples were actually present at His baptism before they were His disciples? (Acts 1:21-22) John the Baptist has not been mentioned yet, and his ministry was the biggest thing happening in Judea at this time.
EPISODE 3: Jesus Loves the Little Children
The plot of this episode focuses on Jesus’ interaction with a group of children, who discover him living by himself in a tent in the woods. The plot thickens with Peter needing to pay his taxes and helping the Romans to pay off his debts, but frankly that story is completely uninteresting.
What I Liked
Jesus playing with the children was cute.
What I Didn’t Like
Correction on the previous episode where I said James and Thaddeus were revealed to be the first disciples of Jesus. According to something Jesus said to the children he meets, Mary Magdalene is his first disciple. (Among the children, there is a girl who is clearly the leader of them. The show is revealing its egalitarian influences.)
Any False Doctrine?
Not exactly. This episode tried to show a more human and even playful side to Jesus. But as I said earlier, this is a fool’s errand. No sinful man can accurately portray the sinless Son of God, both King and Servant. The Bible says the crowds were astonished at His teaching because He spoke as one having authority (Matthew 7:28-29). Jonathan Roumie does not have that kind of presence. He’s another buddy-Christ.
EPISODE 4: The Rock on Which it is Built
Peter has been dishonest with his wife and really needs to catch fish in order to pay his taxes. Andrew, James, John, and Zebedee help him out. The episode ends with them meeting Jesus who gives them a miracle catch.
What I Liked
The miracle of the great catch was an awesome scene—the best scene in the show so far (and will turn out to be the best scene in the first season overall). However, after the miracle, Peter asks Jesus, “You are the Messiah, yes?” And Jesus says he is. In Luke 5:8, Peter doesn’t have to ask Jesus that—by the miracle he just witnessed, he truly knows and immediately bows himself before Him knowing he’s unclean.
What I Didn’t Like
Finally, John the Baptist comes up in this episode. He’s mentioned in a meeting among the Pharisees as a preacher of a populace message. They’re all vexed because he calls them out as snakes. However, the Pharisees have not been depicted as anyone menacing up to this point. The only enemies in the show have been the Romans. This is poor narrative-building. Faithfulness to the text aside, it’s just not good writing.
I understand wanting to throw in a little tension by showing Peter and his wife quarreling. I’m not opposed to the decision. It’s just not well-written, and it revolves around an improbable plot device. This show was more watchable when I was watching the YouTube clips. Seeing all of these clips in context is not nearly as impressive (and I wasn’t that impressed to begin with).
Matthew owns a dog. A Jew would not have owned a dog. They were unclean animals. You might call me nit-picky, but this demonstrates a lack of understanding of the source material. But again, faithfulness to the text aside, it’s bad writing. Matthew has been written as somewhat autistic and obsessed with cleanliness. Yet he has an unclean dog?
The whole episode centers on Peter’s drama who’s trying to catch fish so he can pay his taxes to Rome. He’s exasperated with God, and he complains that Israel was rescued out of Egypt only to be enslaved by the Romans. His brother shows up and James and John. They help him fish all the way until morning, and then they see a man on the shore talking to a small crowd. This is of course Jesus teaching a small group of people.
When I say small crowd, I mean just a few dozen, less than sixty. In Luke’s account of this encounter, the crowd is so large Jesus gets into a boat and sets away from the land a little bit so He can address the whole crowd. After teaching, He tells the disciples to set into deep water and cast their nets (Luke 5). The miraculous catch in this episode happens just a few feet off shore.
I get that this was very early on in the creation of the show. They probably didn’t have the budget for more extras and costumes to actually display Jesus talking to a huge gathering. That said, it would have been better for the writers to leave out Jesus asking the disciples if he could get into their boat so the “crowd” could hear him better. With such a small assembly, getting into the boat meant that he was actually further away from them. It just looked awkward.
Any False Doctrine?
In this episode, the parable Jesus taught while standing in the boat was from Matthew 13:47-50, the parable of the dragnet: “The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad the threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the fiery furnace.”
In the show, after the miracle of the fish, Jesus asks Peter, “Did you understand that parable I told earlier? From now on, I will make you fisher’s of men. You are to gather as many as possible, all kinds. I will sort them out later.”
That is not the interpretation of the parable of the dragnet. Just because Jesus told his disciples, “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), that does not mean the fish in the parable of the dragnet are the fish caught by Jesus’ disciples. The fish in the parable of the dragnet represent all of mankind, wicked or righteous (v.49).
Secondly, when Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men,” he did not also say, “all kinds, as many as possible.” This sounds like attractional church language—as if the mission is to bring in as many people as we can using any means possible. Calling the disciples to be fishers of men means they’re going to preach the gospel, and God will do the work of bringing them in—as Jesus had just put a multitude of fish in the disciples’ nets by His will.
EPISODE 5: The Wedding Gift
Everything in the episode revolves around the wedding at Cana where Jesus will turn water into wine. The plot includes family drama at a wedding and some humor about dancing. We meet Thomas in this episode, more commonly known as Doubting Thomas.
What I Liked
The episode begins with a flashback of Mary (not Magdalene) frantically searching for Jesus. This is the story from Luke 3 of a twelve year-old Jesus teaching in the temple. I liked the exchange between Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, and it was a good set-up for the miracle coming later in the episode—when Mary asks Jesus to turn water into wine.
However, Mary finds Jesus in the market, and that’s not what Luke 2:41-52 records. Luke says they found Him in the temple and were astonished at His teaching (no one is really astonished at Jesus’ teaching in this show). Perhaps the show’s creators did not have a good temple setting to film the scene in—I get it. But it’s also a reminder that the narrative decisions the creators of the show make for the sake of drama are not better than the original story.
Thomas and his wife, Ramah, are wine-makers or party planners of some kind, which puts him at the wedding at Cana with Jesus. We don’t know the occupations of all of the disciples or where they all were when Jesus called them, so this is certainly an area where creative liberties could be taken. My one beef with this is that Jesus had all twelve disciples by this point. So far, he has only six.
(Correction: In watching Season 2, I’ve come to discover that Ramah and Thomas are not actually married. So this young man and woman travel alone together… and they aren’t married?)
What I Didn’t Like
Nicodemus went to visit John the Baptist in prison to interview him. He thinks John might be the guy Nicodemus has heard about doing miracles. Why is John in prison? We don’t know. This is not the imprisonment by Herod as recorded in Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 3. Nicodemus says John was imprisoned by the Romans: “This is a Roman cell,” he says. But John never had a quarrel with the Romans. In fact, according to Luke 3:14, some Romans sought his teaching.
Worse than this, in the show, Nicodemus does not know who John the Baptist is. Every Pharisee would have known John. He was known throughout Judea. John was not some mysterious figure. He was the son of Zechariah, one of the priests in the temple. Yet Nicodemus, who is touted in this show as the “teacher of teachers,” is completely ignorant to this.
I hate the way they write John the Baptist. If the writers of the show want drama, they’ve got it in John the Baptist. Through John, they could establish the Pharisees and the Sadducees as bad guys (which they haven’t done yet). They could build the tension of the coming Messiah. But he’s just kind of shoehorned into the story at Episode 5, and this particular conversation was silly.
Mary Magdalene is included as a disciple with the rest of the disciples. This is a modern depiction used in other recent Jesus stories (like in Risen, the Bible miniseries, and Son of God). Luke 8:2 does say that there were women with them sometimes. But Mary would not have been traveling as the one woman with a bunch of men. (Oh, but she was the first disciple, don’t you know.)
When Peter tells his wife Eden that he is going to follow Jesus, she is overcome with emotion. Peter thinks she’s upset, but she’s actually overjoyed. This was what she always prayed for, she says. This just continues the theme that almost all of the women are perceptive, sensible, and right, and the men are mostly knuckleheads. A similar thing happened with Thomas and Ramah in this episode. Thomas doubted (of course), but Ramah did everything Jesus said.
EPISODE 6: Indescribable Compassion
Some more miracles are displayed in this episode, including Jesus healing a leper and healing the paralyzed man who is lowered through a roof.
What I Liked
Jesus healing the leper was a neat scene. But it was not according to the story in Luke 5:12-16. In the show, Jesus heals the leper on a road with hardly anyone around. In Luke 5, He healed a beggar in the city. The people saw it, and word quickly spread about Jesus’ power to heal. Large crowds would gather to be healed of their diseases. But that’s not depicted in the show.
There was also a great joke where a man said he heard about Jesus turning water into wine. He said, “Could you do that with the well by my house?” That was hilarious, the best-written joke in the show so far.
At the end of the episode, Nicodemus pleads with Mary Magdalene to speak to Jesus. I loved the genuineness of his desire. Erick Avari, the man playing Nicodemus, is by far the best actor in the show. In some scenes, he says some silly things. That’s a problem with the writing. But Avari is able to do a lot with so little.
What I Didn’t Like
Once again, the women are smart and the men are morons. There was a scene where Jesus was teaching (at the inquiry of one of the women, not the men), and every question he asked, the women answered correctly but the men could not. In a scene where Jesus heals a lame man (the one who was lowered down through the roof), the disciples would not do anything to get him close to Jesus, but Mary Magdalene did.
Now, the humorous thing about the crowd that gathers to hear Jesus is that it’s small like the crowd that gathered on the shore. This crowd really isn’t that big and there’s plenty of space (the Pharisees push through just fine when they arrive). There’s also plenty of room in the house where Jesus is teaching. Maybe the show’s creators didn’t have the extras to fill the space, but I think a little more skilled camera work could have made it look more convincing.
The Romans rushing the house to arrest Jesus at the end because he had attracted a small crowd was completely unnecessary. This was done for the sake of tension, maybe to establish some kind of cliff-hanger, but that was already there.
EPISODE 7: Invitations
The episode starts with a flashback to Moses, which I’ll explain in a moment. Nicodemus finally gets to meet the miracle worker and ask him questions, and Matthew joins the other disciples.
What I Liked
This was another one of those episodes where, like the first one, it was hard to find anything to like. I suppose I liked when Jesus calls Matthew to follow him and he immediately abandons his tax booth and obeys. However, the exchange between Jesus and Peter is super cheesy. Peter asks Jesus, “I don’t get it. Why him?” Jesus says, “You didn’t understand when I called you either.” Peter says, “But this is different. He’s a tax collector.” Jesus says, “Get used to different.” Oh, brother.
(When show creator Dallas Jenkins was interviewed by Allie Stuckey, he said he didn’t want to get into making Christian films and shows because they’re generally bad. He claims God said to him, “My people deserve good stuff, too. So why don’t you just make it better?” That’s not very humble of Jenkins to claim A) God told him to do this, and B) that The Chosen is better quality than most of the Christian campy stuff. It’s not. It’s exactly like the campy stuff.)
What I Didn’t Like
The quarrel between Joshua and Moses at the beginning was obnoxious. It was not at all in the tone of the account we’re given in Numbers 21:6-9. There, the people complained against Yahweh, even for the food He provided for them in the wilderness.
“So Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people so that many people of Israel died. Then the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned because we have spoken against Yahweh and against you, pray to Yahweh, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses prayed for the people” (v.6-7). Then God told Moses to put a bronze serpent on a standard, and anyone who was bitten, if they looked at it, they would live.
But in the episode, Joshua comes in complaining like the Israelites while Moses is hammering away on something metal. Joshua says we should send messengers and beg for aid. There is nothing in this exchange that establishes that the people sinned against God, that they were being punished as a result, and they acknowledged their sin and begged for mercy. Joshua would have been on Yahweh’s side, not on the side of grumbling, sinful people (see Numbers 14:1-10).
(Dallas Jenkins also got the date wrong. The subtitle said it was in the Sinai peninsula in the 13th century, but it would have been in the 15th century. This is the difference between asking Google and searching the Scriptures. The exodus is calculated by the years given in 1 Kings 6:1. Moses led Israel out of Egypt in 1446 and he died in 1406, when Israel entered the Promised Land. If you ask Google when the Exodus was, it will tell you “13th Century BCE.” But if you ask it when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Google’s answer is, “About 1400 BCE.”)
Jesus was in Peter’s house and didn’t heal his mother-in-law. That was weird. When does that happen?
Any False Doctrine?
As if the prologue with Moses and Joshua wasn’t bad enough, the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus was infuriating (for too many reasons than I will list here; perhaps I will give a longer critique of this scene in another blog). I believe this scene best exemplifies the problems with this show overall. I saw so many people gush over this scene, but it bears little resemblance to the exchange we read about in the Bible.
John 3:1-2 says, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.'”
In The Chosen, Nicodemus is about to explode with all kinds of questions. When he finally settles on how to begin, the line in verse 2 is changed to this: “I believe you are not acting alone. No one can do these signs you do without having God in him. Only someone who has come from God.”
According to John 3, Nicodemus is not some truth-seeker, as he’s depicted in the show. He is not speaking on his own behalf but as a member of a council. Jesus is not there to answer Nicodemus’s questions. He is interested in only two things: truth and redemption.
Jesus replied to Nicodemus with an answer that sounded like He ignored Nicodemus’s comment altogether. Verse 3 says: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” But in the show, this conversation is led by Nicodemus, not by Christ as it is in John 3.
Toward the end of their conversation in this episode, Nicodemus asks, “Is the kingdom of God really coming?” (which you might notice was not a question Nicodemus asked Jesus in John 3). Jesus replies, “What does your heart tell you?”
Are you kidding me? “What does your heart tell you?” Show me one place in the gospels where Jesus said to trust or follow your heart. That’s self-centered new age nonsense. If there’s any one question He most often asked the Pharisees, He said, “Have you not read?” In John 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?” (v.10). Jesus rebuked Nicodemus.
But in this episode, Nicodemus responds to that question by saying, “I’m trying, Rabbi,” and Jesus sympathetically smiles and says, “I know.” This is a different Jesus and a different Nicodemus than what the Bible records, having an altogether different conversation.
Nicodemus responds to the “What does your heart tell you?” question by saying, “that I am standing on holy ground.” He then proceeds to bow before Jesus, and Jesus says to him, “You don’t have to do that.” Nicodemus kisses his hand and Jesus says, “What are you doing?”
Have these writers gone mad? Have they not read? In the gospels, there are about 20 recorded instances of someone bowing before Jesus, and in not one of those instances did Jesus say anything like, “You don’t have to do that. What are you doing?” The writers could have had Jesus reply, “Do not fear,” as He said to Peter in Luke 5:10. But the real Jesus wouldn’t say, “You don’t have to do that.” Everyone has to do that! “Every knee will bow… and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (see Philippians 2:5-11).
As he kissed Jesus’ hand, Nicodemus recites Psalm 2: “Kiss the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way.” But Jesus, discouraging him from this act of humility, picks him up and says the rest of that verse: “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” It’s delivered as if he’s countering what Nicodemus said. But the one who kisses the Son is the one who takes refuge in Him.
In John 3, the conversation begins and ends with Nicodemus an unbeliever. John opens by saying that Nicodemus came by night, which is a motif John uses throughout his gospel to demonstrate spiritual darkness. In the show, Jesus invites Nicodemus to come with him. He hugs him and strokes his hair as Nicodemus cries on his shoulder (I’m not even kidding).
This scene is not in the Bible, nor is it even a plausible interpretation. By taking this scene out of context and re-writing the dialogue, all of the emphasis on truth and redemption is lost—it’s all about the feels.
EPISODE 8: I Am He
We start with a flashback to Jacob digging his well. Nicodemus ponders the invite Jesus gave him but refuses so he and his wife can return back home. Jesus and the disciples travel into Samaria. The climax of the episode is Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.
What I Liked
Jesus finally heals Peter’s mother-in-law. She immediately gets up and waits on everyone, just as it’s recorded in Matthew 8:14-15. And it’s cute…
What I Didn’t Like
…but Jesus says the reason he healed her was so Peter could travel with him and not worry about what’s going on at home. So is that why Jesus didn’t heal her the first time he was in the house—because Peter hadn’t worried enough yet? Taking the kinds of liberties they do with the story causes some deep theological issues I don’t believe the writers have thought through.
It’s interesting that in this episode, a Pharisee says, “The Law is God.” Later on in the third season, as you may know from the controversy, Jesus makes the statement, “I am the Law of Moses.” So in this show, the Law is God and Jesus is the Law of Moses?
Any False Doctrine?
The season ends with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. And if the writers can’t put the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in the right context, then the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman will be out of context, too. The theme is still truth and redemption. But once again, the writers make this scene all about the feels.
As with the story in John 4, Roumie Jesus asks the woman for a drink. The woman replies, “You a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan and a woman?” Roumie Jesus responds, “I’m sorry. I should have said please.” Yes, the sinless Son of Man apologized. That seems plausible (I’m being sarcastic.)
After some back and forth, Jesus tells her, “Go and call your husband and come back.” She says, “I don’t have a husband.” Roumie Jesus says, “You are right. You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now is not your husband.” The woman says, “Oh, I see. You’re a prophet and you’re to preach at me.” Roumie Jesus responds, “No.”
Yes! That’s exactly why Jesus was there! The whole town of Sychar would come to believe Jesus is the Christ after two days of preaching that began with the testimony of this woman. In Mark 1:38, Jesus told His disciples, “Let us go elsewhere, to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.”
There hasn’t been much false doctrine in these early episodes precisely because there’s little teaching. It’s mostly backstory and character building. But whenever the writers actually do put in the teaching parts, it’s really bad—not missing a few words here and there, but missing the point and the context entirely. The truth is diminished and emotionalism is elevated.
The scene ends with Roumie Jesus telling her about all of her husbands, and he says, “I came here to Samaria just to meet you.” That’s not entirely wrong, but neither is it the point. He came there to preach that He is the Christ. He revealed to this woman that He is the Christ (to be contrasted in the way He did not reveal Himself to Nicodemus, who was of the ruling class), so that she would go into Sychar and tell everyone, and a whole village would get saved. But the writers have already diminished his intention to preach and made it all about this encounter with this woman. It’s not about Jesus—it’s all about you.
When the disciples return from Sychar with food, Roumie Jesus says to them, “I have food that you do not know about.” Andrew replies, “Who got you food?” It’s a humorous moment (not unlike verse 33), but again the show misses the point. In John 4, the disciples returned from exactly the place the woman ran to, and she would bring a whole town to hear the Christ (v.29). The disciples brought no one, but the woman brought everyone.
In verse 34, “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.'” But that is not the Jesus of The Chosen, which presents a fictional version of Jesus. My friends, if the Christ you’re listening to is fiction, then he’s a false christ.
Jesus said to beware of false christs and false prophets. “They are from the world,” it says in 1 John 4:5-6, “therefore they speak as from the world, and the world hears them. We are from God,” speaking of the true apostles from the true Christ. “The one who knows God hears us; the one who is not from God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”