Come and see my Jesus.
I heard about The Chosen television series about the ministry of Christ. Friends highly recommended it, but I didn’t expect much. I mean, how many ways can you tell the Jesus story? It’s been done many times before. And typically on a low budget, with marginal acting. So I didn’t rush to watch it.
In fact, the whole first season (8 episodes) had already aired before I finally sat down to watch the first episode. Again, my expectations were really low. But within minutes I felt myself emotionally drawn into the lives of Bible characters I’ve only read about — Mary, Simon Peter, Andrew, Matthew, Nicodemus — each displaying his or her unique personality and flaws.
But what of Jesus? He doesn’t appear in the show until the end of the first episode. Immediately, it’s clear that He’s different. A man, yes, but possessing a quiet intensity and supernatural force of love that made Him a magnet to sinners, even me. Come and see!
SCRIPTURE REVEALS JESUS AS GOD
When I read the Bible, I am convinced of Jesus’ divinity. I so clearly see Jesus the Messiah. But I can only see glimpses of Jesus the man. I think because the Bible gives us many details about Jesus’ wisdom and supernatural wonders, but so few details on how He struggled with the constraints of being temporarily housed in a human body.
Yet it’s not lost on me that back then people had the opposite challenge! They struggled with accepting Jesus’ claims that He was God. “Where did this man acquire this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” Matthew 13:54-55
Would I, I wonder, have rejected Jesus’ claims if I’d grown up with Him in Nazareth? Would I have refused to believe, simply because He kept His knowledge and power hidden for the first three DECADES of His life? Would my mind simply refuse to believe out of stubborn pride?
Jesus patiently provided proof of His divinity, as He selflessly ministered to the clamoring crowds over the next three years. Many believed, and many refused to believe, just as they do today. The Bible clearly tells us that even when some personally experience miracles, they will refuse to believe. My heart hurts at thinking that I could have been one of them.
JESUS THE MAN
The disciples struggled with learning to trust Jesus, too. They wholeheartedly embraced His power. In a later episode James and John, whom Jesus nicknames “the sons of thunder,” ask Jesus to rain down fire on some who were unkind to Jesus. The brothers simply couldn’t understand why Jesus didn’t demand His due respect or act like a conquerer. But slowly, oh, so slowly, they came to understand that Jesus was calling them — had personally hand-picked them — to selflessly love as He did, so they could credibly share the message of God’s great love.
In learning to admit and desire to overcome their weaknesses and failings to resemble Jesus, the disciples demonstrate the typical human journey toward God. The disciples show us ourselves. And Jesus shows us who we can be, through His grace and love and power.
Like the disciples, I can’t get enough of this Jesus. Both calm and confident, His actions demonstrate strength and quiet authority. Self-assured yet humble, strong yet gentle, He leads with understanding and compassion as He invites people into deeper relationship with God. This Jesus displays an irresistible sense of humor. I instinctively trust this Jesus. I want to give my all to Him.
Jesus is the image of the perfect man — the man I think God intended me to be, before the Fall brought sin into the world.
JESUS OUR MESSIAH
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1
The highlight of the first episode happens in the last few minutes, when Jesus frees Mary Magdalene of the daily misery of her demonic possession. “Do not fear,” Jesus tells her. “I have called you by name.” Gently cradling her head in his hands, He pours hope and belief into her. “I have redeemed you,” He says. “You are mine.” I watch Jesus reveal the unfathomable grace and mercy of God, and I yearn to be healed and redeemed by Him as well.
In a later episode, Jesus seeks out a man who has been lame for 38 years. Jesus pointedly tells the man, “You only need me. Do you want to be made well?” The man wrestles with having hope that Jesus can actually heal him. “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” Jesus commands. The man locks eyes with Jesus for another long moment, then clearly decides that he can’t let the opportunity pass by. He attempts to stand on crippled feet, and grows giddy upon realizing he’s healed.
In THAT moment my heart swells in gratitude, too. I am the lame man who has been healed … the blind man who can now see … the person in despair of life’s troubles whom Jesus has personally and joyfully redeemed.
This is the power of The Chosen series. In every episode, we feel the personal heart tug toward the warmth and compassion of Jesus. We are invited, as Jesus continually points us to God, to see truth of the Gospel in an intimately personal and emotional way. The experience includes the rich tapestry of the sights and sounds that Jesus likely experienced as He physically walked this earth. As Jesus pour Himself out to the point of exhaustion to heal, and teach, and encourage, and love, we so clearly see Him as both man and God. This mystery is so astounding. But as we choose to believe, we become The Chosen.