“The Chosen”

      Eyes to See

 Perhaps you have heard of “The Chosen,” a popular video production. The first eight episodes have been out for awhile, with more to come. They portray the life of Christ, often from the view of his chosen disciples.

Jesus is depicted as winsome and sincere as he teaches, heals and performs amazing miracles in their midst. 

I highly recommend this series to you. It is very biblically based and is careful with the fictional parts. After the scenes with Nicodemus, I said, “That was really well done.” Of course, I have a special affinity for Nicodemus after writing my second book about him. (A Heart for Truth) 

Another episode is entirely about Jesus with a few children. All we have in Scripture about children is admonishing us to bring them up in the faith and Jesus’ words to “bring the little children to me.” This episode imagines how Jesus would react with only a group of children. It is quite delightful.

As John said,

Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25

We may envision the disciples in different ways. I always pictured Peter as tall, big, and burly. “The Chosen” Peter is short and thin and a bit high strung. It is obvious that, even though he is portrayed as slowly emerging as leader, he has a way to go in understanding what this is all about. We read about Peter’s impetuous behavior in Scripture, so this portrayal makes sense.

The Matthew character is another story. Matthew does not match my imagined personality. “The Chosen” Matthew has Aspergers, a form of autism. He is very intelligent, lacking in social norms, and has slight nervous  movements with his head and hands. But then, Scripture gives us very little of the disciples’ personalities, so we may visualize them in different ways.

Two types of tax collectors were found in that day, the collector for the people of the city, as in the movie, or a collector on the trade route for traveling caravans. Several sources seemed to feel that Matthew was a trade route collector, so I followed that portrayal. 

Interestingly enough, we both portray Matthew as butting heads with his father. In my book, I begin with him as a child. In the movie, he is already becoming a disciple. I’m anxious to see how he will fare in the second season coming soon. I foresee that it will be a while before the other disciples accept him, just as I imagined in my story.

The producers offer the first eight episodes free at www.thechosen.com. It is free, because thousands of people (including my husband and me) have contributed money or bought the DVD or other products in order to get the story into as many homes as possible. I believe this is going to be an amazing tool for leading people into the Kingdom, just as I pray my book will be. 

Have any of you seen it?

Joyce

Peter – Mountaintop Experience

SEARCHING HIS WORD

SEEKING HIS HEART

Have you ever been to summer camp or a fall retreat? You may have come back feeling like you had a “mountaintop experience”—not because there were mountains all around, but because your mind, your heart, or your spirit was lifted from the mundane to a new level of spiritual experience.

Peter sure could use a lift after Jesus had to set him back just days before. (See last week’s post, “Peter – One Step Back”)

Jesus is still determined to work with Peter, because He knows Peter’s potential. Isn’t that a comforting thought for when we feel down on ourselves? God knows your potential.

Jesus is going up the mountain, probably Mt. Hermon, to pray. He decides to take his inner circle with him—Peter, James, and John: Peter, who will eventually be the leader of the disciples after the resurrection, James, who will be the first to be martyred, and John who will endure to old age and will record the Revelation of Jesus.

Little do they know what is in store this day.

Once up the mountain, Jesus’ appearance is totally transformed or transfigured as the Bible says.

His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2

(Years later, John will see this again in his vision of Jesus’ with his resurrected body.) 

As if that weren’t earth shaking enough…

Just then, there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 12:3

Gasp! Our mouths would be hanging open with awe at this point. But our man, Peter, feels he must jump in to do something! Something to honor the lawgiver, prophet, and Messiah. He says,

“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:4

We can’t imagine this experience could be anymore mountaintop, but here it comes.

While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 

“This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

Have you heard that before? At Jesus’ baptism? Yes, it is God himself! Peter is urged to listen, not talk.

They fall on their faces, terrified. Jesus comes and touches them.

“Get up,” he says. “Don’t be afraid.” When they look up, they see no one but Jesus.” Matthew 17:7

I wonder how often, in the next few years, they each thought about this scene. It certainly had to have made a lasting impression on them, a remembrance to hold in their minds, a sense of God’s physical presence with them.

Think back about your mountaintop memories, a time when God became very real to you. A time when he rescued you, encouraged you, brought you through a scary time, led you beyond belief, stirred in your heart. Remember, praise His name, and give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day!

~ Joyce ~