On Easter Sunday, I had the pleasure of watching the global premiere of season two of Dallas Jenkins’ The Chosen. This series is the first multi-season show about the life of Christ and it truly transforms the biblical narrative of the Gospels. When I first saw season one of The Chosen, I was overwhelmed by the depiction of Jesus’ grace and love while He was on earth. There were several scenes that brought me back to my first love and the moment I encountered Jesus for the first time.
To say that I was excited for the second season’s premiere would be an understatement. I’ve been anticipating this moment for a while and when I heard that the first episode would be released on Easter Sunday, my excitement skyrocketed to new heights. After watching this episode twice, I have to say that it exceeded my expectations. The second season of The Chosen reminds viewers of the cost of following Christ and the inspiration that comes when we serve others with humility.
“I ask a lot of those who follow me, but I ask little of those who do not.”
As I reflected on the previous season, I noticed a theme of wonder as the disciples initially followed Jesus. Each of them had a special first encounter with Jesus that changed their lives in many ways. While the first season focused on what it means to answer the call to follow Jesus, the second season seems to ask the question: what does it cost to follow Jesus? The first episode of season two reveals a dichotomy between the cost of following Jesus and the hope that comes when we choose to surrender to His will. The episode presents two ways in which we can count the cost of following Jesus. The first way is serving others over ourselves.
This episode highlights the importance of service and how serving others requires sacrificing our own desires. The story follows Jesus serving others in Samaria, despite the ancient feud between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus’ actions show that serving others also requires doing so regardless of who they are or where they’re from. Jesus knew the value of serving others well. He reminded the disciples that serving others plants seeds that will benefit the future generations. He came to save the broken and the lost which could only be done through serving their needs and guiding them to the truth (Luke 19:10).
Through service, Jesus was able to teach His disciples the importance of loving others and freeing them from their bondage to sin. His mission was to bring hope to the hopeless in a fallen world. As He stated in the show, “In this world, bones will still break, hearts will still break, but in the end, light will overcome the darkness.”
“You’re more worthy? You’re not. That’s the whole point. That’s why I’m here.”
The Chosen also highlights the second cost of being humble when following Jesus. There are two ways of serving others: serving for recognition and serving out of humility. In a riveting scene, Jesus teaches James and John that serving others needs to come from the heart rather than the need to be recognized for doing so.
The need for recognition is not at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples had to learn the hard way that no one is worthy but Jesus. We’re all imperfect and we shouldn’t let pride get in the way of loving others well.
I appreciated the first episode of season two. It reminded me that Jesus came into the world to serve others and lead them to the truth of the Gospel (Matthew 20:27-28). This episode was a perfect example of what it means to follow Jesus. By surrendering comfort, sacrificing our desires, and serving with humility, we can all accept the call to follow Jesus and love others as He demonstrated. I adore The Chosen not only for portraying the life of Christ, but also for its message and the inspiration that it brings to live a life of service to God.
Now, here are some thoughts from my dear friend Aizess Jones (the one who first introduced me to The Chosen):
Season one of Dallas Jenkins’ The Chosen turned this skeptic into a fan. After witnessing the failings of other Biblical films, I doubted that the first multi-season show about the life of Jesus Christ could deliver a scripturally accurate and high-quality retelling of the New Testament Gospels. Thankfully, I was very wrong. The Chosen humanizes Jesus and his disciples, breathing new life into the Biblical narrative with creativity while remaining true to the story and heart of Scripture. Watching the global premiere of season two felt like coming home both because of my love for the Bible itself and my love for the characters in the show.
After the nostalgic opening scene of the disciples reminiscing about the first time Jesus called them, the show picks up where season one left off: in the region of Samaria. Although Samaritans and Jews are historical enemies, as Matthew unnecessarily quips to Thomas later in the episode, Jesus spends a few days teaching in a Samaritan town.
Like Sarah Fox highlighted in her review, Jesus uses the opportunity to serve the Samaritans as a lesson for the disciples that all are unworthy of Jesus—including the disciples themselves. For this reason, Jesus came to save all people and the disciples have a lot to learn before they can model their teacher.
Since the disciples seem to be unclear of Jesus’ power and sovereignty, much of the episode focuses on their quarrels over planning an itinerary for Jesus and deciding which of the disciples are “second in command.” I love that every disciple recognizes that they each have strengths and talents which they desire to use to better serve their master.
For example, when Thomas arrives in the Samaritan town to follow Jesus, Matthew comments that Jesus does not keep a schedule. Thomas’s response shows an immediate desire to be helpful, “Perhaps I can be useful as an organizer then. I’m good with figures, times. Precision is my specialty.” While I admire the disciples’ zeal to contribute to Jesus’ ministry, the episode highlights the disciples’ folly in thinking that they needed to create a plan for Jesus and protect him from harm.
Out of all of the disciples, Mary seems to see the flaws in this thinking. When James and John insist that they “need some leadership … We need a plan,” and follow Simon’s suggestion that the disciples vote about their proposed plan for Jesus’ stay in Samaria, Mary chooses not to vote stating:
“It doesn’t matter what I think he should do or what you think.”
Like her counsel earlier in the episode when Simon is trying to figure out how to handle the large Samaritan crowd, she seems to believe it’s prudent to speak to Jesus and let him decide.
Undeterred by the other disciples’ lack of enthusiasm about their plan or potential leadership, James and John run straight to Jesus. Although an unexpected incident prevents them from sharing their plans with Jesus, the first event on their itinerary becomes a reality without the help of their plan. Jesus gives them a knowing smile. Without a word, Jesus proves that despite the disciples’ fear of losing Jesus or frustration over the lack of a planned schedule, Jesus is in complete control.
Lessons like these are the garnish to an already rich meal filled with Biblical storytelling at its finest. With The Chosen, it’s not just Bible characters that come alive; it’s the teachings and lessons of Jesus that take on fresh meaning and transform not only the lives of the disciples on screen, but also the lives of us Christ-followers off-screen.