Updated: Jan 16
Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 is the second installment in a two-part arc titled "Clean" and adapts Mark 5:21-43 and Matthew 9:14-17. Episode 4, the first half of the arc, set up several conflicts revolving around things/people being "unclean" (both in the sense of being ritual impure and unsanitary):
The main water supply for Capernaum has been rendered unclean by sewage
The unclean water causes Jairus' daughter to become deathly ill
Eden befriends a woman named Veronica who has been rendered unclean by a chronic medical condition that causes her to bleed constantly
In Episode 5 we see Jesus and the disciples respond to these crises by fixing the underlying conditions that are causing uncleanness:
Using the building supplies provided by Yussif, Simon Peter and Gaius seek to repair the cistern so that the local water supply is no longer polluted by sewage
Jairus asks Jesus to come and heal his daughter's illness
While Jesus is on his way to help Jairus' daughter, Veronica reaches out and touches his clothing in the hopes that it will heal her condition.
For a deeper dive into the plot of Episode 5, check out my recap, review, and analysis.
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If you're planning on watching Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 with your youth ministry, small group, or family, you may want to study the biblical passage that it's based on beforehand. To help you do that, I've put together a Bible study and some discussion questions.
Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5: Review Questions
Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 is not a standalone episode, and so before you watch and discuss it with your group, make sure to go through Episode 4 together first. I'd also suggest doing a little review of the events of Episode 4:
What happened to the water cistern last episode? What are some of the problems that this has caused for people of Capernaum? What are Yussif, Gaius, and Simon planning to do in order to resolve the issue?
Episode 4 was titled "Clean Part 1" and Episode 5 is titled "Clean Part 2." In addition to the cistern, what are some other examples of "unclean" people/things that we saw in Episode 4?
Toward the beginning of Episode 4, the Apostles returned from their first missionary and we saw them trying to make sense of what they experienced. What were some of the questions and frustrations that we saw them discussing?
During Episode 4, it became apparent that there's tension in Simon and Eden's marriage. What issues did they seem to be having? What advice did Gaius offer Simon at the end of the episode?
During Episode 4, how do we see opposition to Jesus increasing? How does this affect Jairus and Yussif?
During Episode 4, Mary Magdalene, Tamar, and Zebedee are working on kick starting an olive oil business to fund the ministry of Jesus. What issues are they having? What is Tamar's plan?
I know that's a lot, but it's kind of necessary since Episodes 4 & 5 are so closely intertwined. Reviewing the events of Episode 4 will ensure that your group is able to follow what happens in Episode 5 and have a more fruitful discussion.
Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5: Bible Study & Discussion Questions
Unlike Episode 4, Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 3 is clearly based on a biblical narrative. However, before we get into the specific passage, I'd suggest spending a little time discussing the concept of being clean/unclean (i.e. ritually pure/impure). I would begin by pointing out:
During Episode 4, we saw how Veronica, the woman with the bleeding condition, was forced to live life as a social outcast because her condition made her "unclean."
Then I would ask:
In the Old Testament, was being "unclean" the same as being sinful?
The biblical concept of ritual purity/cleanness is complicated and often misunderstood, so it's worth taking a little time to dig into. Here are some elements of the concept that you might want to explain, but you may need to trim this material down, depending on the attention span of your group members and the amount of time you have:
In the Old Testament, entering into an "unclean" or ritually impure state was a natural and inevitable part of life and was not sinful. An Israelite could become unclean for a variety of reasons like touching a dead body, bleeding, or discharging sexual fluids. Some of these activities were not only permitted but would in some cases actually be mandatory. For example, God commanded the Israelites to bury the dead (e.g. Deuteronomy 21:22-23), which would have required touching the dead body and becoming unclean.
In the imagination of the ancient Israelites, being unclean or ritually impure meant that you had become symbolically contaminated by the presence of death and mortality. Bleeding could make you unclean, because, from an ancient perspective, people discharging bodily fluids essentially had life force/vitality leaking out of them.
Like a disease, the state of ritual impurity was considered contagious. If an unclean person touched another person or object, the person or object would automatically become unclean. To no longer be unclean, a person would have to wait a certain amount of time and perform ritual washing.
Although being unclean wasn't inherently sinful, entering into the Tabernacle/Temple in an unclean state was forbidden. Because God was considered the completely pure source of life and vitality, bringing signs of mortality and death into his holy presence was seen as a major violation and could result in death (e.g. Leviticus 15:31).
Over time, people with physical conditions that made them perpetually unclean came to be looked down upon and stigmatized by other Jews. They were seen as a nuisance since accidentally touching them or their possessions could make you unclean and prevent you from entering into the Temple or performing worship. As a result, people like Veronica were ostracized from society and were sometimes considered to be under a curse.
It's important to remember though that the scorn directed toward people with conditions like Veronica was not biblical. From a biblical perspective, the fact that they were ritually impure or unclean did not mean that they had been rejected by God.
Once you've finished discussing ritual purity, I would point out:
In The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5, we'll see Jesus heal Veronica and Jairus' daughter. Although some of you may have encountered the story already, we'll read through and discuss it together.
Then have someone read the passage:
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5:21-43, ESV)
Note: If your group likes detailed trivia, you can point out:
As with many other stories, you can find a version of this story in both the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke.
There's an interesting difference between Mark's account and Luke's account. Mark's description of the physicians who tried to help the bleeding woman sounds a lot harsher than Luke's. Some interpreters have theorized that Luke, being a physician himself, could sympathize with the woman's doctors or that he was hesitant to speak too harshly about members of his own profession.
Next, I would ask your group:
In the passage, Jesus is on his way to help Jairus when he gets touched by a woman with a bleeding condition (in The Chosen she's given the name Veronica, so, going forward, let's call her that for convenience). While Jesus is busy responding to Veronica's act of faith, news arrives that Jairus' daughter is dead. In the moment, how do you think Jairus felt about Veronica's interruption?
Based on our discussion, how do you think Veronica's social status would have compared to that of a religious leader like Jairus? Can we put this in modern terms?
What would normally happen if a person like Veronica interrupted the urgent business of a person like Jairus? How would she have been treated?
It's easy to confuse social status with spiritual status. Sometimes we think people who are more important than we are from a human perspective are also more important to God. Do you believe certain kinds of people get special attention from God? Who?
When Veronica touched Jesus, she was healed immediately. Jesus didn't need to pause and talk to her. Why do you think Jesus allowed himself to be interrupted? What can we learn about how Jesus views Veronica and Jairus?
Remember that being unclean was associated with death and mortality. In the passage, Jesus touches two unclean things: a bleeding woman and a dead girl. What would normally be the result of touching something unclean? What happens instead? Why?
The Old Testament's rules provided the Israelites with a way of managing and containing uncleanness and ritually impurity. By contrast, in this story, Jesus begins to deal with the problem of impurity at its source. How does Jesus ultimately deal with the problem of uncleanness and ritual impurity?
After Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 5: Discussion Questions
After watching an episode of The Chosen, I typically ask people a couple basic questions:
What stuck out to you about the episode? What did you connect with the most?
Did you have any questions? Was anything unclear?
As always, if the conversation takes on a life of its own, I encourage you to run with it instead of feeling bound by the questions that follow. However, if you need more structure, I would point out:
During Episode 5, we followed the suffering of three women: Veronica, Jairus' daughter, Miriam, and Eden.
We've already discussed the story of Veronica and Miriam, so let's focus on Eden.
While Veronica and Miriam are released from their suffering by the end of the episode, Eden doesn't experience any sort of resolution.
You can ask your group:
What do you think Eden is thinking and feeling throughout Episode 5 and especially at the end?
Eden's pain in the final scene is in stark contrast with the joy of the disciples, who are celebrating the healing of Veronica and Miriam. When we worship and celebrate together, why is it important for us to remember that there are probably people in our midst who are suffering?
What can we do to be sensitive to suffering of others around us? How can we make our church or small group into a space where hurting people still feel welcomed?
What comfort does Jesus offer to those who are suffering?
Are there any struggles that you would like us to walk with you through?
An adaptation like The Chosen isn't meant to replace the Bible; it's meant to drive us deeper into the Bible and spiritual reflection. As an adaptation, The Chosen sometimes has to fudge with the biblical timeline. This blended harmony presents all the events recorded in the Gospels in a single streamlined narrative that's meant to deliver a chronologically accurate picture of Jesus' ministry.
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If you liked this post, you might want to check out some of my other posts on The Chosen and Bible adaptation. I have Bible studies/discussion guides for each episode of The Chosen Seasons 1-3, blogs exploring how The Chosen adapts key biblical figures, and articles exploring the controversial nature of adaptation. I hope you enjoy them!
The Chosen Season 3
Adapting Biblical Characters Series
Little James in The Chosen & Scripture ***Season 3***
Judas in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Matthew in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Simon and Andrew in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Exploring The Chosen with Youth or Small Group [Discussion Guides]
Episode 1 Guide: Homecoming
Episode 2 Guide: Two by Two
Episode 3 Guide: Physician, Heal Thyself
Episode 4 Guide: Clean Part 1
Episode 5 Guide: Clean Part 2
Episode 6 Guide: Intensity in Tent City
Episode 7 Guide: ???
Episode 8 Guide: ???
Season 2 Reflection P1: What is The Chosen Season 2 about?
Season 2 Reflection P2: What was The Chosen Season 2 about? (Plots & Theme)
Episode 1 Guide: The Beloved Disciple
Episode 2 Guide: Philip, Nathanael, & Matthew
Episode 3 Guide: Life Among the Disciples of Jesus
Episode 4 Guide: Simon the Zealot & the Man at the Bethesda Pool
Episode 5 Guide: Mary's Demons & the Destiny of John the Baptist
Episode 6 Guide: Mercy and Not Sacrifice
Episode 7 Guide: Quintus Returns
Episode 8 Guide: Judas, Matthew, & the Sermon on the Mount
Episode 1 Guide: Mary Magdalene, Lilith, and the Redeemer
Episode 2 Guide: Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, and Shabbat
Episode 3 Guide: Depicting Jesus in Art, Film, and TV
Episode 4 Guide: When Jesus Met Simon (Peter)
Episode 5 Guide: Mary, Mother of Jesus
Episode 6 Guide: Jesus, Shmuel, & the Pharisees
Episode 7 Guide: Did Nicodemus Follow Jesus?
Episode 8 Guide: The Woman at the Well, Eden, & Zohara