The Chosen, Season 4, episodes 7 and 8

The week I was staying with Dad and Elaine, I asked my friend, Wendy, if she would like to go see the last 2 episodes of season 4 of The Chosen in the theater with me. I could tell from the way she answered that she would do it for me, but if she were choosing a movie, that wouldn’t be one she would choose. When I moved to Mom’s house, I told her that I was able to get around some with Mom’s car and she didn’t have to see the movie with me, but she said she would still do it. It turned out that the closest theater was only going to be showing it through tomorrow, so we decided this morning to go this afternoon.

That meant that if I was going to go over and watch Dad so that Elaine could get out of the house, it had to be this morning. When I arrived, my Uncle Doug was visiting with Dad.

Dad and Uncle Doug

Dad has become obsessed with papers lately; anything that he thinks he should take care of before he dies. He was looking at a form that his hospice nurse needs to fill out and Dad needs to get sent back by early next week. I heard Elaine calling hospice about it and they said that Steve will come tomorrow to fill out the form.

Then I told Elaine that Wendy was going to take me to a movie this afternoon, so if she needed to go to the post office or anything, this would be a good time to do it. Elaine went and came back in a short time, but Uncle Doug was gone by then. The weather was sunny for the first time since I’ve been up here, so I suggested Elaine get out and take a walk and get some fresh air. She made that a fairly short jaunt as well, I suspect because she thought I only had a short time to stay. When she got back, I asked if there was anything she needed help with since I’ve been doing minor repairs at Mom’s house. She said that she needed to get the leaf out of the table that she put in for the clan gathering. Obviously, Dad can’t help her with that, but having the leaf in makes it difficult for him to get his walker in and out of the narrow space that was left. Between Elaine and I, we got the extra leaf out and then I drove back to Mom’s house.

I had a quick bite to eat and then Wendy arrived to take me to see The Chosen. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, suffice it to say it is a “tissue box” movie. It is intense but in an appropriate way. We are approaching some of the final days of Jesus’ life in episodes 7 and 8, and I expected it to be intense, but it brought some of the old familiar stories to life in a very powerful way.

On the way back, Wendy and I discussed it. This was probably the first time she had watched a full episode of The Chosen, let alone 2 episodes. She had tried once several years ago but was turned off by the parts that are not in the Bible. Her point of view, and it’s a valid point, is that for people who have never read the Bible or have read very little of it, it could be misleading for them to see things in the episodes that aren’t in the Bible. They might think that the whole show is true when the truth is that Dallas Jenkins and the other writers have added background stories to the Bible characters and events. On the other hand, she was moved by the part of the story told in this movie. She said it was exceptionally well done.

I need to back up here a little. Wendy has just finished several rounds of chemo and is still on one medication that keeps her feeling particularly unwell. For her to use up the little energy she had for today to take me to a movie she wasn’t sure she’d like was a very big deal. I am so grateful to her for doing this for me, and to have her end up liking it after all was a blessing I wasn’t anticipating. I understand her misgivings about the effect it might have on people who aren’t familiar with the Bible, but I have also heard testimonies from people around the world who have said that just when they were going through a difficult time in their lives, they saw something in an episode of The Chosen that felt like it was just for them. Dallas Jenkins, one of the writers for the show, has talked about how the backstories he has given to the characters is meant to speak to our experiences today. If Jesus doesn’t heal a character in the story, it deals with the question of why bad things happen to good people. Furthermore, it emphasizes that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, Jesus understands it because He was human and He went through the same things we do.

I recall a time several years ago when I had a boss who was very intimidating and made me feel stupid. I remember complaining that Jesus never had to worry about saying the wrong thing because He always knew the right thing to say. And then someone reminded me that even though they were the right words, they were often twisted and misunderstood and Jesus felt as rejected as I was feeling. The Chosen is very good at portraying the humanity of Christ while acclaiming His divinity as well. To quote Isaiah 53:3:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

And again, in Hebrews 4:15:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

I can only speak for myself, but what The Chosen has done for me is to show me visually what that looks like. Even though it may not be the letter of the law (the Bible), it has shown me the spirit of the law. It isn’t meant to replace the Bible but to bring the Bible alive for those of us whose eyes glaze over when we read the same old stories.

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