My recent rewatching of “The Chosen” mini-series and first two episodes of the third season at the theater this week has further reinforced my understanding of the miraculous, not just its presence in the Bible, but its existence in the here and now in each of our lives. . .
and choices we are being given.
In case some of you are not aware of this reference, through an app that you can download for free on your phone or other electronic device, you can watch “The Chosen” which is a reenactment of the life of Yeshua and also the lives of his apostles. The last I saw, the series had been seen by over 400,000,000 viewers and I’m sure that number is much more by now. No matter your knowledge of the Bible, you will learn so much more about the individual lives of Yeshua’s followers, have a better understanding of society at the time, develop a deeper appreciation for the conflicting views among the Pharisees, as well as see new meanings in Yeshua’s teachings.
(And could it just be coincidence that the very episodes being aired now are exactly where we are in our Daily Dvar readings???!!!)
Seeing on the theater screen what thousands looks like in who attended His Sermon on the Mount made the enormity of the event so real, as did seeing the preparation for it as depicted in the last episode of Season 2. Yeshua’s words that day are known by us, and in the past when I’ve reflected on them, as a modern reader/listener, they are mind expanding in the sense of new ways to think about living righteous lives. When He turns our traditional thinking upside down (elevation of the poor, meek, humble, giving more than asked, loving our enemies, countless examples) He stretches our thinking about how to better love. His extreme examples are on a continuum of where we seek to dwell as He reveals new insights to us of how to love God and others even more deeply.
What struck me by watching this scene in the movie was the reaction of those who listened. Even when not speaking in parables, many could not understand what he was saying. Pharisees and Romans alike, foreigners and locals, people were a bit dumbstruck when asked what did Yeshua say. Some could repeat a reference, but did not know what it meant. Some of the Pharisees were moved by His words, some frightened, some shocked at such presumptuousness of knowledge. All knew this was something new. Many knew this was a change of perspective, faith in Him as Messiah a truth they wanted to embrace.
Until seeing this impact on people at that time, I did not have an appreciation for how Yeshua’s teachings would be heard by the various groups of people living during His time. Loving the outcasts of society – at that time lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, others. Such thoughts were truly revolutionary! The question is how far have we come, or have we, from the societal and moral values of our ancient ancestors? How impactful do Yeshua’s teachings feel today?
Since His teachings during His lifetime were so novel, many around Him were profoundly changed, deciding or not to live in a way that had not previously been revealed in these ways. Yeshua’s paradigm-shifting teachings took root and spread throughout the globe and over millennia. For some in today’s society who are not living God-centered lives, hearing His teachings may have a similar effect. For those of us already steeped in His teachings, we are moved and inspired to dig even deeper, work even harder to love the modern day outcasts, to serve in even more ways.
But is there more?
Watching the Chosen, seeing the disciples as real people with all their foibles and weaknesses representative of all of mankind’s failings (I’m sure why they were “chosen”), caused me to relate to them in a new way. I see their humanity and can identify with it. They were simple people just like us. They were not chosen because they were better, but rather, Yeshua probably picked each of them for collectively their individual shortcomings represent all of ours as well.
And so, I am even more incentivized to share the Good News. Not only am I even more drawn in due to the relatable portrayal of Yeshua, Himself, the insights we are given about Him as a person, but I really want to be as the apostles were, a disciple, a teacher to others of all the knowledge of Him that we are being given in so many miraculous ways. I am even more motivated to live a life modeling His teachings. I am more incentivized to live a life of love of others and share how I came to learn this way of living.
You, too, have been chosen to so serve.
“The Chosen” is an anointed initiative, greatly needed at this time in history, one that I believe is here, now, for reasons we will only come to understand even more deeply in the days to come.