Honestly, I don’t even remember how I found this show. Maybe this show found me, since I was gallivanting on Youtube, and The Chosen just popped up in my Youtube feed. In rabbinical Judaism tradition, (I don’t practice any flavor of Judaism, personally), there is a question that a child asks during the Passover seder meal. The question is, “What makes this night different from any other night?” The question I ask, not in the spirit of antagonism, but in the spirit of being teachable and corrigible: “What makes this Bible show different from any other Bible show? What makes this Bible show different than, let’s say, I don’t know, A.D. The Bible Continues? I loved how they portrayed Shaul (aka Paul) in that miniseries, by the way.
I went to The Chosen Youtube channel, clicked on the About tab, and began to peruse their description. They use Isaiah 43:19 to say that they are doing a new thing. Something different. This is true. The Chosen is quite innovative. They are the #1 highest crowd-funded media project of all time. This is the first multi-season show about the life of the Messiah. This is the first Bible show that has it’s own app, that connects directly to your respective streaming service. The Chosen is free, but by paying it forward, this helps people see it globally. The Chosen is currently in every country. Whether you love Bible shows, or love to hate Bible shows, these statistics and metrics are most impressive!
I watched the pilot episode of The Chosen. Then I watched the second. The third. Fourth. Fifth. Sixth. Seventh. Eighth. Not all in one day, but I even watched the behind the scenes clips, interviews with the cast and crew, clips where teenagers react to The Chosen. Wait, let me back up for one second. Here is the opening credit song for The Chosen:
Isn’t that cool?! So as we can see, the blue fish are turning around, repenting, and swimming or going against the current. If you pause it at the very end, where it says Directed by Dallas Jenkins, how many fish do you count? Let me know how many you count and what you think it represents in the response section below! This theme song sets the tone beautifully for The Chosen, showing that when we choose to follow The Hebrew Israelite Messiah of The Hebrew Scriptures, it will feel like we are being counter cultural, going against the norm. With that said, let’s talk about color and content.
Was Jesus white? I used to think so when I was a child, during my adolescence, and in my early twenties. Hollywood sure seems to think most, if not all, Biblical characters are white. Just take a gander at the Biblical movies Hollywood has released to the mainstream masses. Noah, starring Russell Crowe. The Ten Commandments, starring Charleston Heston. Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale as Mosheh. The Young Messiah, starring Adam Greaves-Neal. Phil Donahue asked this question regarding The Hebrew Messiah as well, having Blair Underwood as his guest.
Here you go, Yoel. Come on, dude. You’re missing the point. Why are you so obsessed with color? Why are you so fixated with race? What does it matter what color the Jews were? What does it matter what color the Israelites were? Who cares what color Jesus was? I don’t care if he was black, white, brown, light-skinned, dark-skinned, purple, green, or olive-colored. All I care about is that he died for my sins. All I care is that he is our Savior. He is the spotless, innocent Passover Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29.
All of this is true! However, I must ask a question. Doesn’t all truth matter? If we are going to live by the truth of the Hebrew Bible, shouldn’t we subscribe to ALL truisms in Scripture? Or do we simply cherry pick parts and parcels of The Hebrew Bible that are congruent and consistent with our presuppositions and pet doctrines? What happens when we read a Scripture, or come across a Biblical truth that causes cognitive dissonance? What happens when we see a truth of Scripture that is antithetical, to what you and I currently believe? Is The Bible wrong, or are we wrong? Is The Scripture off, or is our interpretation off? When Yoseph’s ten brothers went down to ancient Egypt to buy grain, the demographic of ancient Egypt predominantly a dark race of people, why didn’t they recognize Yoseph? If Yoseph was white and looked like Donny Osmond, wouldn’t he stand out like a neon sign, in a crowd of dark skinned Egyptians of color? Genesis 42:8. Consider Exodus 2:1–6, 10. How did Mosheh, a Hebrew, pass for Pharaoh’s grandson, if Pharaoh was brown, and Mosheh looked like Justin Bieber? Like baby, baby, baby oooh. I thought you’d always be mine (mine). In Acts 21:37–39, if Shaul resembled James Faulkner, why was he mistaken as an Egyptian, when Shaul himself identifies as a Jew?
Content. What happens when media projects get the color of the Israelites and Rabbi Yahshua correct, but the content is mildly or highly problematic? By the way, there is no letter J in the Hebrew Alephbet. The Hebrew Messiah’s name was Hebrew, likely Yahshua, which is Hebrew for Yahweh Is Salvation, or Yahweh Saves. Sorry, let me get back on track. Take Jesus Christ Superstar, starring John Legend, a Hebrew man of color.
Yay! They had a Hebrew man of color, portray The Hebrew Messiah. Awesome! However, it seems this is a version of Messiah who questions, or is rather insecure about his own Messiahship. If I told you the path we’re riding, you’d understand it less than I; this is one lyric sung, that speaks to this. Color is important, but if people are putting words in Rabbi Yahshua’s mouth, that contradict his character, is that a victory?
Some would call the content and dialogue of The Chosen irreverent or even blasphemous. At the end of Episode 5, Jesus talks to Simon about Andrew’s feet, Andrew’s dancing ability. Simon asks: “So will you help him”? Jesus replies: “Ah, some things even I cannot do.” What?! #NotMyRabbi. I conjecture from that controversial line alone, people will socially distance themselves from this show. Now, tomorrow, and forevermore.
Why did I binge all eight episodes? Why am I so intrigued by The Chosen. Now I have an answer. I in no way wholly endorse the color or the content of The Chosen, but I will say this. I love the way they portray the characters. Sometimes, when we read the Hebrew Scriptures, do we maybe forget, myself included, that the disciples had lives and personalities? I love how colorful they make the characters. Yes, there is a lot of artistic rendering and creative liberty taken. They portray Mattityah (Matthew) as being on the autistic spectrum, having Asperger's, a type of autism spectrum disorder that affects social skills.
Will I continue to watch The Chosen in futurity? With a critical eye, testing it with Scripture, yes. They aim for it to go for eight seasons. Perhaps though, if this multi-season show about the New Testament gives people a living faith in Rabbi Yahshua and is a catalyst for true repentance and Torah obedience, who am I to be sour at that?