There’s a little blurb toward the end of the first chapter of John’s gospel that’s easy to read through quickly without giving it much thought–I know I’ve done it the many times over that I’ve read or listened to the Bible. It’s about how Philip and Nathanael came to be disciples of Jesus:
My father-in-law (who is also a beloved friend) introduced me to what has now become my favorite TV show: The Chosen®. This show has become the largest, most successful crowd-funded television or film project ever. But better yet, it’s about the life and ministry of Jesus and his disciples. There are two complete seasons, and they are working on the third, with a goal of having seven (of course) seasons by the time they are done. There are a number of options for watching seasons 1 and 2, including downloading The Chosen app from your mobile device’s app store.
Here’s what I love about it: it does a great job portraying so many aspects of Jesus that are easy to overlook. For example, after having gone through the Bible so many times and having developed a relationship with Jesus, it’s easy to forget how fresh and different Jesus and his teachings were when compared to other rabbis of his time (one of my favorite quotes so far from the series is when Jesus tells Peter, “Get used to different.”). It is also quite moving to watch how Jesus interacts with people–again, I have read these stories many times, but the way they have portrayed these interactions in the show is touching. Further, the struggles that the apostles have had–both with accepting that Jesus really could be the promised Messiah, and in some cases with accepting one another–seem accurate and genuine at the human level.
Although I am not a seminary-trained theologian, it does seem to me that the show remains true to the Bible (so far, anyway–I’m about halfway through season 2). As you could imagine, there are a lot of blanks that the writers and producers (Dallas Jenkins and others) have had to fill in to make it flow as a narrative, but even those ring true in that they seem consistent with my understanding of the Bible and the surrounding cultural context. Maybe one of the best things about the show is that it seems very accessible. Someone who is not yet a follower of Christ may be intimidated or put off by the idea of going to church, but they should be at ease watching this show. Similarly, while it may be hard for us to invite a non-believing friend to church, it should not be difficult at all to tell them about your new favorite show–we all do things like that all the time.
This brings me to the reason for starting with the quote from John’s gospel. Just like Philip says to his friend Nathanael when he doubts Jesus (“can any good thing come from Nazareth?”), if you haven’t found a good way to convey the good news about Jesus to a friend or family member that seems compelling to them, you could mention the show to them or even invite them to watch it with you. You can say, “Don’t take my word for it–come and see for yourself!”
So that’s my invitation to you as well: come and see!