Before I even begin this blog post, I am aware that there will be differences of opinion on what I'm about to say. My topic today centers around a particular scene in Episode 2, Season 3 of the popular historical/drama series The Chosen. What I have to say is deeply personal; it is how my spirit reacted to the Biblical principle presented in the scene. NOTE: I am not saying that the scene is a word-for-word reenactment of Scripture. Nowhere in the Bible, will you find this scene between Jesus and the Disciple known as James, son of Alpheus, or James the Less [to be distinguished from James the Greater, son of Zebedee, and brother to the Disciple John].
I am also aware that there will be those who discount what I have to say because they have labeled the show and the filmmaker as partners with heresy, blasphemy, apostasy, irreverence, and sacrilegious intentions. So, let me make my statement about where I'm coming from, and then I will move on to my premise. For me, this show is intended to show the heart of Jesus; to represent His love and compassion for the Jews, God's chosen people. Although the filmmaker has made it clear that he is not claiming the interactions between Jesus and the Disciples is factual according to Scripture, he has been faithful to the Bible's truths of salvation; Jesus's identity as the Messiah; His purpose for coming; His incarnation; God's requirements of repentance, forgiveness, faith and love; etc.
For myself, these are essential tenets that must be portrayed. And because I have spent much time in the Bible, and grown in my spiritual and intimate relationship with my Savior, I am not bothered by what some might call the "sentimental portrayal" of Jesus in His human form. In fact, because we are provided very little details of the human personality of the Lord, I find that this show portrays Jesus, the man, as my spirit perceives He must have been. I find nothing that distracts from the inerrant Word of God, and I believe that this portrayal of Him is a great way to begin a conversation with a nonbeliever or new Christian who have trouble relating to Him in a personal way. You may not agree, and that is okay. That is your opinion. But I would like you to allow me to present my original purpose for this post ... to share why this particular scene in Season 3 so touched my heart.
So, let me set the context of the scene. Jesus is sending the Disciples out in pairs to heal and evangelize to the Jews. The filmmaker imagines how that might have gone as Jesus assigns partners for this mission; we see the different personalities of the Disciples [which we know existed from a few clues in the Bible, such as John 21:20-22 and Mark 10:35-45]. And this is where The Chosen is able to present the important principle of faith in the midst of trials. The filmmaker has James the Less, [or as he is known in the show, Little James, due to a physical affliction that leaves him with a limp and the use of a cane] approach Jesus in private. Little James expresses his concern about his ability to either evangelize or heal. With obvious pain and hesitancy, he says, "I find it difficult to imagine with my condition... which you haven't healed".
By the look on Jesus's face, He recognizes Little James's feelings of both inadequacy and confusion. He responds, "In the Father's will, I could heal you right now and you'd have a good story to tell, yes? Miracles are a good story. There are already dozens who have that story, and hundreds who can tell that story of [My Father's healing and miracles], with thousands more to come. But think of the story you will have (in this journey to come) if you DON'T get healed"! Jesus then went on to tell Little James that He and the Father had specifically chosen him to show the people one of the most important tenets of our faith... "You will know how to proclaim that you still praise God in spite of your affliction; to know how to focus on all that matters in your faith; [and it's] so much more than the [physical] body... When you find yourself fighting [through strength] because of your weakness, [and you will do great things in My Name in spite of this], the impact will last for generations". Then Jesus stops and smiles warmly at Little James and says, "A man like you healing ... Oh, what a sight!" He turns to walk off and then stops and returns to come close to face Little James. With His own face full of tenderness and love, He says, "You will be healed ... it's just a matter of time". Jesus then walks off, leaving Little James looking heavenward with renewed hope and identity.
Think of the conversations you have had with Believers who have questioned why they or their loved one has not been healed, and how it has affected their faith. Then think of the conversations you could have now, after seeing this scene where Jesus shows a purpose [in the Father's will] for not being healed. When that can be shown on film, and through genuine human emotion, it can persuade hearts of the truth of God's Scripture: “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.”
So, now if you are a Believer and watching this oftentimes controversial show, you have a decision to make .... do you renounce the principle behind this scene because we have no proof that this exact exchange occurred between James the Less, or that he even had such an affliction? Or do we embrace the way that the filmmaker was able to express what the Bible clearly shows us is Jesus's compassion towards us during our trials; His power in us to work through our weakness to help us do what we cannot accomplish on our own [i.e., His Grace]; and the admonition of the Bible to praise God in all circumstances -- even when our flesh and soul don't feel like it. To me, this scene exemplifies Hebrews 13:15, Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Another benefit of this scene [for me] is that it shows the audience that we can have the same kind of intimacy with Jesus that Little James experienced. We have permission to come to Him and question without fear of retribution; we can express our thoughts and feelings [and yes, even doubts and confusion], yet still trust in Him and maintain our faith. And the scene invited me to contemplate something I hadn't thought of before it was presented in this context of "a sacrifice of praise" ... it allowed me to see the comparison between Jesus not being "rescued" from his physical torture and pain so that we might live eternally with Him and the Father, with Little James being able to offer that same opportunity to others in spite of not being delivered from his own cross to bear. Just as Jesus cried out from the Cross, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?, Little James is, in essence, asking the same question of the Messiah ... why was I forsaken in Your healing miracles?
In the end, everyone must make up their own minds [and I would hope you engage with your spirit, too] to decide whether The Chosen is heretical and blasphemous. And if you choose to be strict in your dissection of just "how Biblical" this show is, I would like to suggest that every Easter Pageant, Christmas play, pastor's sermon, and theologian's commentary are based on someone's interpretation and genuine desire to portray the heart of the Bible's message. If we will recall, the Pharisees once accused Jesus of heresy and blasphemy because He did not follow their rigid interpretations of God's will. From my own personal experience, this show has showed a real, compassionate, and sincere Jesus that my unbelieving friends and family are curious to know. And it has opened up opportunities for me to have discussions that point them to the greater glory of God in the Scriptures. And in these End Times, those opportunities must be embraced to reach the lost in this world. May the Holy Spirit move in these dark days and use The Chosen to reach the hungry, blind, and poor in spirit. Amen!
#thechosen #principlesofthebible #lessonsfromthechosen #thepowerofjesus
John 20:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].”