THE CHOSEN REVIEW - "Get Used to Different"
I recently saw an interview with television producer Dallas Jenkins discussing his hit show The Chosen. On Jenkins’ t-shirt were the words “Get used to different.” Having seen the first season of the show, I understood the reference right away. “Get used to different” were the poignant words that Jesus says to Peter when Peter expresses shock and disgust that Jesus would ask Matthew, the hated tax collector, to join the Apostles.
I chose this scene to examine in my review of The Chosen, not only because it is incredibly powerful to see how Jesus can bring together people of all walks of life -- enemies even -- but also because this scene is emblematic of the show as a whole thus far (they just started filming the second season at the time of this writing).
You would be hard pressed to find Jesus say the words “Get used to different” in the Bible. The Chosen makes it crystal clear at the beginning of the series that they use different dialogue and narratives than the Gospels. Nonetheless, while there is not always a strict adherence to scripture, the show does promise to stick to the intention and spirit of the Gospels. I find this claim to be accurate. One need only look at the aforementioned scene to see what I mean. Sure, this conversation between Jesus and Peter regarding Matthew never explicitly takes place in the Gospels; however, the spirit of scripture is revealed here with profound eloquence. Of course Jesus, a man who told his followers to love and pray for your enemies, would likely have many encounters such as this, where he challenges his followers to see things with a fresh set of eyes.
“Get used to different.” These could also be the words said to the audience as they begin to watch this completely original take on the life of Jesus. It seems like everything about this show is different (especially the character of Matthew – but that is an essay unto itself). What is more, The Chosen is the largest crowd funded show in history, and it is the first full television series (i.e. not a miniseries) devoted entirely to the life of Jesus Christ.
I want to make myself abundantly clear here, just because this show does things in an out of the box way, it does not mean that they completely ignore the exact language of scripture. For instance, there is a scene – perhaps the most powerful of the entire first season – where Jesus and Nicodemus have a meeting late at night. This is where the powerful – and most famous quote of scripture: John 3:16 is said – “For God so loved the World that he gave his only son So that anyone who shall believe in him will have eternal life.”
This, as well as many other scenes in The Chosen, is taken directly from the lines of the Gospels. Nevertheless, even when the script appears to be adhering directly to scripture, this show does it in such a different and novel way, and if you're not paying close attention you might miss the innovative brilliance on display. For instance, as Jesus is talking to Nicodemus you see the Apostles John and Andrew on the other side of the wall eavesdropping on the conversation. This obviously never happened in scripture, however, interestingly enough, it is a scene that is indirectly implied. What do I mean? After Jesus says these words to Nicodemus, Andrew says to John “Have you ever heard anything like this before?” And John quickly says, “Shh!” Once you understand what is happening here in this scene, a smile should cross your face. For you see, at that moment, John was writing down everything he was hearing on a tablet as quickly as he could. Why does this matter? This scene is from the Gospel of John, so it only makes sense that he (John) would be jotting down the words in real time. This is not only a way in which the show's writers are playing with the audience a bit, sort of breaking the proverbial fourth wall if you will, but more than that, this is the show pointing out that this is how accurate Christians should believe the Gospels actually are. That is, The Chosen shows how the writers of the Gospels were right in the thick of it, so to speak, recording every single detail precisely. So not only does The Chosen adhere to the Gospels, it is literally creating them for us.
The Chosen is a masterpiece of Christian entertainment. Jenkins and crew have brilliantly given new life to a very old story. I could not, however, give the show a perfect rating at this point, because there has only been one season thus far. I need to see the whole series, before I could render such a verdict. Until then, I give this divinely-inspired production a 9.7 and I highly recommend that you watch it for yourself. But be forewarned, this show provides the Christian viewer with a whole new way to see the story that shapes our lives. In other words, you will have to "get used to different."