From Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister - Congregation Futures
In the lead up to Christmas last year, I suggested that you might add “The Chosen” to your holiday viewing list. MovieGuide.com said: “There’s little doubt that THE CHOSEN will soon become one of the most well-known and celebrated pieces of Christian media in history."
The Director describes the reasons for producing a new TV show about Jesus:
“I’ve been a believer my whole life, I’ve attended Christian schools my whole life, and I’ve heard the stories of Jesus countless times. I’ve also seen every Jesus movie and miniseries ever made, and there have been dozens. So why a new TV show about Jesus? Because I have a passion for people to hear the “old, old story” again … for the very first time. When I see Jesus movies, it’s sometimes hard for me to feel moved or excited. I've heard the stories before, and many Jesus projects just take you from Bible story to Bible story, not spending as much time on the humanity and backstories of all these characters. And they sometimes feel stiff and formal.
So when we started to write a show that explores Jesus through the eyes of those around Him, we were repeatedly moved and excited.”
The first three episodes of season 2 of The Chosen have been released recently, and the remainder of the season will come out over the coming months.
Recently I watched episode 2 of the new season, which includes Jesus’ call to Nathanael. In the Gospel account in John 1:43-51, Jesus’ words to Nathanael: “I saw you under the fig tree”, have a tremendous effect on Nathanael, so much so that he responds to Jesus: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel”. I’ve often wondered what was so powerful in those words: “I saw you under the fig tree”.
The Chosen takes some creative licence to explore what may have been some of the backstory for Nathanael to mean that those words had such a life altering effect on him. Without spoiling the episode for you, it is enough to say that in that moment Nathanael felt powerfully addressed by God. I think that was the case whether the backstory created by The Chosen is anywhere near the truth of Nathanael’s life. When Jesus spoke those few words, he commanded the attention of Nathanael. It was as though Nathanael sensed Jesus knowing him as only God could know him, and that he was convinced of the presence of God … so much so that it was like God was in his place.
I wonder how Nathanael went on to tell others about his story that surrounds the words of Jesus: “I saw you under the fig tree”. I wonder as well how the retelling of his story gave immense powerful hope to others about the presence of God.
Maybe you can recall a part of your story about a moment or a season when Jesus Christ commanded your attention ... when he “saw you”. I encourage you to take some time to bring that back to the forefront of your mind, and to prayerfully be ready to share those precious recollections when it seems fitting.
For me, part of the beauty of The Chosen, and why I keep going back for the next episode, is how it explores Jesus through the eyes of those around Him. I am moved and excited by how Jesus is depicted as addressing the humanity and backstories of gospel characters. It gives me more hope for ways in which the world today might experience Jesus Christ as good news.
Here is a link for how to access “The Chosen” Viewing Guide: How to Watch The Chosen – The Chosen | Help Center (zendesk.com)
Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister – Congregation Futures
Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0437 011 338