By Kevin Burke, LSW
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is a brutally realistic depiction of the torture and death of Jesus, and the great sacrifice he offered for our salvation.
Franco Zeffirlli’s Jesus of Nazareth was a star-studded epic Hollywood production, featuring a distant and more ethereal Messiah. Beautifully done and well worth a look.
But there is something unique about The Chosen that makes it my favorite all time presentation of stories found in the Gospels.
The Chosen, directed by Dallas Jenkins, began streaming online in spring 2020. The series is unique in that it is “crowd -funded.” The Chosen isn’t bankrolled by Hollywood, Amazon or Netflix.
It’s funded by 15,000 investors who raised more than $10 million for the show to be created. It was the most successful TV crowdfunding campaign ever. Future episodes will be crowd-funded as well. Season One can be viewed for free at TheChosen.TV.
The first episodes in the series feature the back-stories and calling of Matthew, Peter, and Mary Magdalene. Director Dallas Jenkins in Crosswalk:
“We have the time to really make these characters into human beings and spend time with them,” Jenkins told Crosswalk, comparing the character development in The Chosen to that in Downton Abbey or “any other show that people binge-watch.”
Like any good binge-watchable show, each episode leaves you hungry for the next. The cast and crew have done any amazing job, with the judicious use of creative license, to create a compelling and engaging context to the Gospel accounts – while remaining faithful to the essentials:
“We are adding cultural and historical context, we are adding some artistic imagination to these stories….This show was designed to enhance our love for Scripture… and to bring to life some of the stories that we’ve heard many times.”
The retelling of the wedding feast at Cana in episode 5 made me feel like I was intimately experiencing that pivotal event at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, and understanding the characters and the story in a whole new way.
I was also touched by the back-story of Mary Magdalen and her later encounters with Jesus; such a moving and powerful depiction.
It inspired the following original song entitled In the Light. I also take some creative license in this lyrical story, but remain faithful to her portrayal in The Chosen by talented actress Elizabeth Tabish.
I was mindful in reflecting on the journey of Mary of Magdala of the many women and men who have come to regret their participation in abortion, and who have personally experienced their own abuse and loss. I include contact information at the end of this music video on the beautiful retreat ministries of Rachel’s Vineyard (abortion healing) and Grief to Grace (Healing of abuse.) This song is my own humble prayer that those, like Mary of Magdala, in need of God’s mercy, encounter the love and healing power of Jesus:
Take a step back from the essential and necessary battles we are fighting in these tumultuous times to protect our families, our faith and the most innocent and vulnerable in our midst. Watch Season One for free here.
You, and your loved ones will be entertained, but more importantly, you will be blessed by, The Chosen.