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The Chosen Season 1

How The Chosen Gets Matthew and Nicodemus Fundamentally Wrong | Season 1 Episode 7 Review

The seventh episode of The Chosen is often viewed as the pinnacle of season one. It’s the episode that covers John 3:16, one of the most famous passages in the Bible. It is also the climax for multiple characters such as Nicodemus and Matthew. Episode seven is titled “Invitations.” As always in these reviews, we will cover whether this was faithful to Scripture and whether it has artistic merit.

The episode begins with Moses and the bronze serpent as a setup for John 3:14. The bulk of the episode will focus on John 3, the setup and aftermath. Nicodemus has been enlisted by the Romans to spy on Jesus because the legionnaire, Gaius, has recently been promoted courtesy of Matthew. Jesus accepts the arrangement to meet with Nicodemus, of which the show spends a lot of time setting up.

Nicodemus arrives at the meeting place and has a long conversation with Jesus. Much of the conversation was outside of the dialog in John 3 and reasonably so. After the climactic John 3;16 moment, Jesus invites Nicodemus to be one of his disciples. Nicodemus counts the costs of following Jesus and ultimately is depicted as rejecting Jesus despite acknowledging his divinity.

The episode concludes with Matthew and Gaius having a conversation and Jesus happens to walk by. At the protest of Peter, Jesus calls on Matthew to follow him. Jesus then insists that Matthew host a dinner party. That’s all that really happens in one of the shorter episodes.

The two main story arcs in this episode are Nicodemus and Matthew, and The Chosen fundamentally gets both of these characters wrong. Starting with Nicodemus, the John 3:16 moment would have been good if it were not sandwiched in-between two largely unbiblical subplots. The former being the Romans employing a spy on Jesus. The latter being Jesus getting rejected by Nicodemus. For the Romans to take this much interest in Jesus early on would completely undermine the lack of familiarity that Pilate would eventually have with Jesus down the road. So they appear to be writing themselves into a deeper fictional hole than was ever called for, all because seeing Romans on television is so much more entertaining than Judean plebs, with the exception of “suns out guns out” Peter. Additionally, to say that Jesus asks Nicodemus to follow him only to be rejected as though this was high school kind of goes against the sovereignty of God. While Judas was tolerated in order to fulfill prophesy, Nicodemus is portrayed as someone who decides Jesus isn’t worth it. The disciples of Jesus are generally understood to all be younger than Jesus, as he was the rabbi. Making an elderly man a nomadic disciple is farfetched to say the least, and this moment was a great insult to the biblical figure who is generally understood to be a believer, along with Joseph of Arimathea.

For Matthew, the problem is not that they depict Matthew as a math autist with intricate knowledge of social interactions. The problem is far more fundamental. Matthew chooses Jesus first. Then Jesus chooses Matthew, despite the protest of mancandy Peter. But with Jesus, the opposite is true. Jesus calls us. On our own, we cannot choose Him. The Chosen gets this fundamental fact about salvation backwards with one of the disciples to prop up the myths that seeker-sensitive churches are based on.

So while the episode was unfaithful to Scripture, in a technical sense, it was not the worst episode of the series. The overacting of Nicodemus would probably be the biggest annoyance. Overall this episode of The Chosen is straight trash.

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